9780718142643 / 0718142640

Other Side of the Dale


Publisher:Michael Joseph



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About the book:

Amusing and serendipitous memories of Gervase Phinn's first year as County Inspector of Schools in North Yorkshire. The children he meets seem to be little adults, full of the language and prudence of their mostly land-worker parents; able to hold their own on the finer points of animal husbandry and farm management. "Don't yer know yer sheep then?" asks a serious little boy, aged six, whose reading aloud is perfect but whose interest is more in identifying the breed of sheep in the accompanying illustration, which leads to a serious classroom discussion.

Gervase Phinn meets head teachers, checks school curriculums, selects an unpopular winner in a poetry competition, and gains confidence of the shyest and the most stubborn with innate diplomacy. He graciously accepts endless inaccuracies in the spelling and pronunciation of his name--"he's called Mr Grim and he's a spectre"--becomes much sought-after and admired by the county's matrons, and his heart is set a'flutter by a pretty, unmarried headmistress with whom he longs to be more intimately acquainted.

A good-natured, entertaining storyteller obviously committed to his calling, Mr Phinn's occasional inaccuracy in rendition in no way detracts from his warm and enjoyable reading. --Running time approx 3 hours --Lynn Took

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