I've just finished reading this book, for the 'umpteenth' time. I really don't have a clue as to how many times i've read it but it was bought, back in the 80's and I always re-read books I enjoy but this one has escaped me for many years.
My 3 year old daughter has a bit of a fascination with its cover, as it shows a old print of a 'Keeper', Warrener or Poacher (??) with his two dogs, a Terrier, of Russell type, a Collie type and a few caught rabbits. The Terrier looks like a little dog down the road and so she pulls it from the bookshelf constantly to look at 'Patch' and that is how I came to thumb through it again.
It's not a first edition, only a paperback and after a Google search I can't find any other cover like it. Those first editions do look good but I'll stick to the one I bought all those years ago.
The book follows Norman Mursell, a Gamekeeper and his life on the Eaton estate, home to the Dukes of Westminster and is for-worded by the current Duke.
It moves through from a child leaving home on the Isle of Wight, to take up service on the estate in Cheshire and follows his career through to becoming Head Keeper and eventual retirement after 50 years service.
The book is, in my opinion a cracking read, not just for those with an interest in Gamekeeping (from either side of the fence!) but a great account of class and wealth in the last century. A fascinating account of the Dukes of Westminster and the scale of what was involved with the running of an estate and the shoots of such size, especially between the great wars and although Mursell's opinions of all things hunting may not be to everyone's taste, his views are easily forgiven by me, as we now live in the world he had the foresight about!
He paints a great picture of the Cheshire countryside and mentions many places that can be seen and visited today and although we can appreciate counties like Cheshire for its beauty, from reading books of this type it really is a shadow of its former self!!
So it's Amazon for me next, Mursell, I have found out has written five books in total, so I better get busy with Paypal.
In a current world of books about the countryside now, take a trip back in time, pick up a copy and enjoy!