The Sty's the Limit: When Middle Age Gets Mucky by Simon Dawson

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The Sty's the Limit: When Middle Age Gets Mucky by Simon Dawson

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Buy The Sty's the Limit: When Middle Age Gets Mucky by Simon Dawson at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Lifestyle
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud funny look at self-sufficiency in north Devon. Enjoyable and very readable.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 272 Date: June 2015
Publisher: Orion
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1409160854

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Simon Dawson has met something he cannot beat. He can't come to terms with it either. It's called Getting Older: not the 'getting older' which we all do day by day, but that moment when you realise that you've moved on to an entirely different stage in your life - and no one actually asked you if you wanted to go on the journey. For Simon it's Middle Age that's taken him by surprise: bits of the body have stopped working as they ought to and he's realised that if he's going to look in the mirror, bare-chested, then he shouldn't do it when he's standing next to a fit teenage boy.

I first came across Simon Dawson when I read The Self-Sufficiency Bible: Window Boxes to Smallholdings - Hundreds of Ways to Become Self-Sufficient. It appealed to my soul, you see. I love making something out of nothing, growing something we can eat and reusing something for a different purpose rather than throwing it away. I was intrigued by how he - who used to be a London estate agent - had come to this point, so when he published Pigs in Clover: Or How I Accidentally Fell in Love with the Good Life I couldn't wait to satisfy my curiosity. He's agreed to something - he wasn't entirely certain what - in the noise of a New Year's Eve party and only found out that it involved a smallholding in Devon in the sober light of the new year.

Time has moved on but Simon and his wife, Debbie, are still at the smallholding in north Devon. Money is tight ('over-stretched' might be more accurate), life (particularly for the animals) is never certain but they're happy - or they were until Simon got wobbly about middle age. It's not helped that his great friend, Ziggy, is having problems because his girlfriend (and mother-to-be of his child) keeps telling him to grow up. You can understand her point: Ziggy's idea of commitment is to organise a trip to Disneyland on a date a couple of weeks after the baby's due.

It would be easy to read The Sty's the Limit as humour: there are laugh-out-loud moments and Dawson does have a talent for being able to see the funny side of just about any situation, but there's a surprisingly deep and thoughtful side to the book too. Anyone with a pulse is getting older and we've all had to find our own ways of dealing with the ageing process. Personally I've decided that I'm never going to progress beyond being upper middle age and I'm grateful that discounts are not given to Old Age Pensioners anymore - we're now known as Concessions. You'll find that the book edges you gently into reviewing your own thoughts on getting older, but you'll do it with a smile on your face.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For another approach to the good life we can recommend A Little Piece of England: A tale of self-sufficiency by John Jackson.

Buy The Sty's the Limit: When Middle Age Gets Mucky by Simon Dawson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Sty's the Limit: When Middle Age Gets Mucky by Simon Dawson at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Sty's the Limit: When Middle Age Gets Mucky by Simon Dawson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Sty's the Limit: When Middle Age Gets Mucky by Simon Dawson at Amazon.com.

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