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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006
    Recommended by Alan Titchmarsh

    Tremendous timing. The arrival of some kind monetary gifts for my birthday, and the publication of the new Common Ground book, England in Particular - a celebration of the commonplace, the local, the vernacular and the distinctive.

    If you follow this blog you'll have previously read about Common Ground. They are champions of what they call Local Distinctiveness, an appreciation and celebration of the ordinary and everyday:

    For us to value [the commonplace], a creature does not have to be endangered, a building does not have to be monumental, a prospect does not have to be breathtaking. A place may not even be 'ours' for us to feel attached to it. We just need to know something of it; it has to mean something to us.

    They've been campaigning and stimulating all sorts of countrywide creative activities for many years now, and this book is their latest, and perhaps most thorough, work. It must have taken years in compiling for this publication is 512 pages deep, beautifully-produced and full of detailed and fascinating references to all manner of English things, from Abbeys and the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance through to Zawns and Zigzags.

    It'll take all summer to read, savouring each small flavour, and it'll be a delight. Alan Titchmarsh says that "This book should be at every curious Englishman’s bedside." Well, I'm a curious Englishman; and not inclined to disagree.