19 March 2013

Red Sky At Night by Jane Struthers, Book review

Publisher: Ebury Press (September 29, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0091932442


How to navigate by the stars, attract butterflies to a garden, build the perfect bonfire, and bake one's own bread—an indispensable guide to everything people knew and loved before we went inside and turned on the TV
In a world of traffic congestion, supermarket shopping, and 24-hour internet access, it is easy to feel disconnected from the beauty and rhythms of the natural world. This is the book for anyone who has ever gazed in awe at stars in the night's sky, tried to catch a perfect snowflake, or longed for the comfort of a roaring log fire. 
Readers will learn how to predict the weather just by looking at the sky, how to forage for food, and how to make cider. From differentiating types of owls to gardening by the phases of the moon, and from curing a cold to brewing ale, this lovely guide is packed with instructions and lists, ancient customs, and old wives tales, making it an indispensable guide to countryside lore.

My thoughts:

For those of you who are not yet familiar with British author Jane Struthers, 'Red Sky At Night' is a delightful compilation of the many simple things we enjoyed before we tuned ourselves to the electronic age!
No need to have been raised in the countryside (I certainly was not), you will notice immediately the shrewd and comforting approach to a no nonsense lifestyle reflected in this gem of a book
For those of you who consistently stress a green approach to everyday life to your family, this is a little guide packed with all sorts of judicious and even whimsical advice!

'Red Sky At Night', The Book of Lost Countryside Wisdom is a work of love and provides such subjects as how to navigate by the stars (you never know when this might come handy!), including a list of common birds of Britain and native trees of Britain. 
Anglophiles will enjoy it for its wealth of British common sense but folks everywhere will appreciate a reminder of the simpler things in life!

Beginning with a foreword headed by Dr. Samuel Johnson's ' When two Englishman meet, their first talk is of the weather', readers will discover chapters titled 'All Creatures Great and Small (not the series) which covers for i.e. 'Bee lore', 'the life of a butterfly' or 'Oh! Deer' (that one is for us on this island!), followed by such as 'Up the Garden Path' which tells you of growing herbs and companion plants, and 'In the Kitchen' including the perfect High Tea, 'baking your own bread' and making your own yoghurt, on to a "Well Stocked Larder" and the best bitter orange marmalade recipe and strawberry jam ever, 'Traditions' and 'Country Crafts' to name only a few!

A little treasure of some 279 pages, this book of lost countryside wisdom is written with elegant penmanship to remind you of the good things in life, to be kept on your shelves for a quick reference! It has everything you might like to check now and then to help you stop the frenzy of day to day chores and smell the roses!

Jane Struthers ends her book with a poem by Robert Herrick's Hesperides which begins with...

“I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers: Of April, May, of June, and July flowers. I sing of Maypoles, Hock-carts, wassails, wakes, Of bridegrooms, brides, and of their bridal cakes.” 

Perfect for Spring! Many thanks to Country Rabbit for the book reference! 
5 Stars!

About the Author:

"Writing is part of me. It’s as central to my life as breathing, and I don’t know what I’d do without it. I can’t remember ever not writing. I started doing it when I was small and the habit was immediately impossible to break. The first thing that I remember writing was my version of the Bible. I cut out the boring bits and got it down to four snappy pages. I have no idea what was in it but I do recall that it made my mother laugh. She was less amused during the next open day at my primary school when she discovered that the diary we were encouraged to write each Monday contained a vivid description of her tripping over on Eastbourne promenade. I had even illustrated it..."

Take a moment to read the 'rest of the story' on Jane's website (HERE) and to check her other books including The Book of Christmas Everything we once knew and loved about Christmas!

Note to Readers:

You will remember of course unless stated otherwise, reviews reflects only my opinion!


  1. Oh yes I certainly remember those days. Children read and played "outside".

    1. Simpler days for all of us Mystica, no matter where we lived!

  2. This sound like a book I would like and you gave it 5 stars...praise indeed! Hugs!

    1. The kind of book you never get tired of Diane and enjoy pulling of the shelf and read again!
      By the way, here you cannot step outside of your home without deer following you! Beggars all of them and we love them! (I keep the Corgi on a leash of course!)


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