This is the story of a successful writer who buys land in Kent and slowly but surely, and in the face of some quite mild local opposition, sets about beautifying it in the way he thinks best.
There are amusing and instructive tussles with two crafty and lazy gardeners, but the highest spot of the book is the employment by Mr. Bates of a very urban Londoner who skillfully performs what the local craftsmen refuse to do - cut down the topmost branches of immensely high chestnut trees.
Mr. Bates has a keen eye for the many different beauties of the Kentish landscape, and, although some of his musings may border on the sententious, they are far outweighed by his genuine love of flowers, birds and trees. He himself is a symbol of the fresh energy which is sometimes poured into English country life, even if, at first, he is a severe critic of many of the people of Kent.
The chapter on "Railway Flowers" is excellent and a sudden change of scene, from Kent to Madeira, is well-timed. The whole book, in fact, is skilful. But it is a pity about the unparliamentarily language; somebody should tell Mr. Bates that it is terribly dull to read, even if it is reported verbatim.
Published in 1952 by Michael Joseph. First Edition.Good condition. The Dust jacket does have some small tears at the back.