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Review of Making the Most of It

A review of the book Making the Most of It by Barrington Markham

Review Of Making The Most Of It

books | smallholding | general | education

This is a review of Making the Most of It - Tales of a city family's life on a (very) small holding by Barrington Markham and published by PDG Books Ltd (ISBN 978 1 905519 07 1).

The author Barrington Markham was born in Leeds in 1936 and had a career in education. After a few years of retirement he, his wife Linda, and his eldest daughter Carol with her husband Malcolm and their children bought a registered smallholding at the East Riding of Yorkshire. The aim of the move was to provide his eldest grandchild Sally (aged 11 at the time and who had a respiratory illness) a healthier countryside upbringing.

Having searched high and low for a suitable smallholding, the Markhams eventually settled on a former artisan's cottage dating from the mid-1700's which had an annexe building with great potential for use as a granny flat, a modern built 400 square metre barn, and 1.5 acres of land.

Linda had previous experience of cottage gardening and making the most of a limited amount of productive space - very useful since they planned to install livestock, and grow their own food on a relatively small plot of land. The Markhams had also kept dairy goats, chickens, and ducks in the back garden of their bungalow, and both had experience of hill farming in the Yorkshire Dales. Therefore, with that experience and knowledge gleaned from the John Seymour book Self Sufficiency, they felt confident that they'd be able to make a good go of it.

This book is the story of the time the Markhams spent on their smallholding from the first to the last day. It is not however written in purely chronological order as it is divided up into chapters on related themes - for example, pigs, sheep, or renovation works on the cottage etc.

The book is written in a quick easy style with each chapter being readable independently of the others. There is a magazine article style to each chapter, but when put together they make a cohesive and very enjoyable book. Amusing anecdotes are mixed in seemlessly with more informative passages.

While this book is certainly not a how to guide to self sufficiency, it still manages to paint the picture of the realities of living a self sufficient lifestyle: the hard work, the satisfaction, the difficulties, and the fun which come in equal measure.

The book is also well illustrated with a good number of photographs taken by the author as well as a well illustrated schematic plan of the smallholding.

Buy Making the Most of It

When Making the Most of It goes on general sale we will update this article with details of where it can be purchased. In the meantime, if you are interested in purchasing the book, please contact us directly and we'll pass your details on to the publishers.

Article Published: 10:16, 12th Mar 2010

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