If you were to aim for the centre and stick a pin into a map of England, the village to be impaled might well be Geddington, in Northamptonshire. A few miles from Naseby, the location of the decisive battle of the English Civil War, it sits in peculiarly typical English countryside: rolling green fields, farmland good and bad, copses of ancient woodland and busy by-passes. The village is also the site of a modern civil war, between country folk born and bred and steeped in local lore, and idealistic newcomers in search of, well, of what exactly?
Clive Aslet went to find out. Buying a thatched cottage near to where his horse was stabled, he was determined to immerse himself in country life, and kept a diary of the result. His account of his family’s year in the heart of England is a delightful blend of local anecdote and historic discovery, as he records the trials and joys of settling into village life, the perennial controversies surrounding rural crime, modern housing and road-building, and observes his wife and children as a they adapt to new surroundings. He meets the characters at the local pub, joins the Geddington Volunteer Fire Brigade and is initiated into the mysteries of village feuds, scarecrow festivals and the Pytchley Hunt.
As change overtakes the village, A Horse in the Country brings alive the drama of Britain’s evolving countryside – what it is, who is to enjoy it, what it can and cannot tolerate. Seen through the eyes of one man and his horse, this comedy of daily rural life in all respects touches the heart.