Saturday, 23 November 2019

Ring the Hill - Tom Cox

This is the third of Tom Cox’s books that I’ve pledged towards. Normally I’ve started to read them almost before I’ve taken the packaging off. But not this time. I decided I would restrain myself and savour the event. Make it last. For without a doubt a new Tom Cox book is an absolute joy.

Ring the Hill offers a return to Tom’s non fiction writing after his fiction foray with Help The Witch. ( I do hope he will explore fiction again.)  It seems such an effortless narrative, I’m sure it isn’t, but sometimes it’s like you’re having a chat with a mate who is sharing, with loquacious enthusiasm, something he’s found out and is overflowing to tell you. It’s very uplifting. It’s warm and it’s witty and it’s honest. The love and reverence for the natural world is the life blood of this book and Tom’s devotion is infectious. I wanted to go out and see some hares, I wanted to swim, I wanted to climb Glastonbury Tor. I wanted to sit in the sun with Roscoe and Ralph. I felt the chill and snow depression of the Derbyshire winter.I wanted to make sure Clinton was safe.  I wanted to live in The Magic House. And I wept all over again for the loss of The Bear and Shipley. 

And if all of the above pertain to a somewhat emotional response to the book rest assured that there is plenty of folklore and information to excite and satisfy the more cerebral of readers out there. Illustrated with Tom’s own photos and some beautiful contributions from his talented mum this is a nature book to entertain the curious. And would you just look at that cover?

And as always, and how I would be complaining were it not so, TOM’S DAD OFFERS US HIS IRREPRESSIBLE TAKE ON LIFE. With just a simple change of case Tom’s word portrait of his Dad is so vibrant you feel like you’d know Mr. Cox senior if you met him. 

Tom’s books are unique I think because in many ways they are genre defiant. They are never ‘just’ nature books,  or books about cats, neither are they ‘simply’ a memoir or autobiography. They are portals into one man’s original and positive take on life and the world we live in. We would do well to take Tom on as a role model and try to emulate. In this book Tom Cox shows us that life does not have to be complicated. Take a walk in the landscape around you and look at the beauty of all things natural. Chat with people you encounter on the way. They all have their stories to tell. Everyone can do this and be better for it. (Maybe not move house so many times though! ;) )

My thanks to Tom Cox for the writing of this book. Reader, I loved it and I'm a better person for reading it.