The Field by the River
Uncovering the nature of country life
Some sample pages

Following a chance encounter with a kingfisher whilst walking his dogs in the overgrown field adjoining his Breton home, Ken Burnett is struck by the realisation that despite having lived in a quaint French hamlet for the past thirteen years, encircled by farmland, he knows next to nothing about his surroundings. He resolves to examine nature’s little wonders rather more closely, with surprising and delightfully funny results.

Accompanied by his three trusty dogs, aided by wife Marie and a full complement of endearingly eccentric neighbours, Ken conducts a twelve-month observation of his field, which is, upon further inspection, rich with wonder. From foxes to wild flowers, magical mushrooms to mothering moorhens, Ken discovers that his unassuming patch of land is as bursting with life as any major city. As the seasons switch from autumn through winter to the reawakening of spring and summer, Ken describes in fascinating detail nature’s ability to both shock, with its casual brutality and awe, with its disarming beauty. He captures, too, the rhythms of rural life – the farmer’s role as keeper of the land and the local traditions that light up the calendar.

The Field By The River is a thoughtprovoking and enchanting work; a joyous, charming celebration of the fragile, interconnected ecosystem that can be found if we only take the time to part the leaves, look under the mosses or overturn a stone. Start your journey please with a story from near the book’s end, the tale of five white bulls...

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© Ken Burnett/Portico Books 2008

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