I can’t afford a therapist. Books will have to do.

All hail Stella Gibbons. Seriously, get hailing.

Cold Comfort Farm is natty, snappy, with obscure-but-not-nonsensical humour by the bucket load. Anyone who has ever tried will know to write comedy that reads fluidly is very difficult, and Stella manages it in a swish of a tasteful silk scarf. I’d pay good money, nay, donate an organ/first born child to have tea with Stella and P. G Wodehouse. If only they weren’t dead. Bummer.

Cold Comfort Farm is therapy to me. I used to live in Sussex, and the soft countryside in the book soothes me, as does the constant optimism and strength of spirit of Flora Poste. When life is cold, windy, and my family behaving in way that will seem me putting a novel one day if they don’t watch themselves, there are books.

The book makes me wish I lived in the 1930s. People have wonderful names, like Caraway and Harkaway. One man is called Agony Beetle, which was an actual first name used by reformers back when Henry VIII was on the throne and Martin Luther was annoying the pope, along with various other gloomy adjectives with religious connotations. At least Prudence can be shortened nicely to Pru. Ag? Nope, don’t think so.

There’s a cow with three legs and a man who washes dishes with a thorny twig. Flora buys him a ‘liddle mop’ as a gift, that he likes so much he doesn’t want to ruin it on ‘clettering’ the dishes, so keeps it in the cowshed where he can look upon it with awe and pleasure. There’s also too many funny lines to quote, and throughout the text is warm and upbeat.

She liked Victorian novels. They were the only novel you could read whilst eating an apple.

I saw the film version of Cold Comfort Farm years ago, and will have to revisit it, although it didn’t stay with me, and I’m sure the book will, so I think the book must be better. Although the film has Rufus Sewell –

rufus sewell sexy cold comfort farm

And Stephen Fry-

stephen fry cold comfort farm

And Ian McKellen.

 

Cold Comfort Farm

People have lovely nourishing dinners, they walk about the warm, spring-flower-filled fields, they go up to London and have jolly days out, they ride about in horse drawn carts and eat oranges and biscuits in cafes that are closed and the waitress wants to go home, and a hundred pounds a year is enough to live off.

Basically, modern life is rubbish.

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