"The Diary of a Shropshire Farmer: A Young Yeoman’s Life and Travels 1835-37" was officially launched today: I billed the invitation, Cheltenham Festival of Literature, Salon des Refusés, because my suggestion to Director Sarah Smyth that the book be featured in this year's Festival fell upon deaf ears. (Notwithstanding, he adds bitterly, it chimed with two of the Festival's themes, Legacy and Locally Sourced.)
Ah well! It didn't stop us having a great all-day party at home, with some 50 people dropping in, and more than 40 copies of the book signed and sold. It undoubtedly helped that we were able to handle the original texts, brought over for the occasion by cousin Bruce from New Brunswick, and also to see the original oil painting of the Peter Davis-bred Bull ("that bovine BMW" as cousin Susannah terms it).
Though family history retains its attractions even after all the hard work has been completed, its real dividend is the variety of living characters it throws up. Or, as Tolstoy wrote, The leaves of a tree delight us more than the roots.