No way but gentlenesse

Diwali 22 -  Wembley, UK
by Richard Hines | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by jax987654321 of Wembley, Greater London United Kingdom on 4/11/2024
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by jax987654321 from Wembley, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, April 11, 2024
Brought for my NSS Tampere partner. Looks great

Journal Entry 2 by jax987654321 from Wembley, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, April 11, 2024
Brought for my NSS Tampere partner. Looks great

Journal Entry 3 by jax987654321 at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Saturday, April 20, 2024

Released 1 mo ago (4/20/2024 UTC) at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Given as part of the Tampere convention NSS. Looks great

Journal Entry 4 by over-the-moon at Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Saturday, April 20, 2024
Thank you for finding this for me!

Journal Entry 5 by over-the-moon at Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Tuesday, May 7, 2024
About a third of the way through, as it is hard to put down. The author is the brother of Barry Hines who wrote A Kestrel for a Knave, filmed by Ken Loach as Kes, and was the inspiration for Billy Casper, the boy who was fascinated by birds and tamed a kestrel.
I feel at home in this book, because I was about the same age as Richard and grew up through the 50s and 60s so a lot of the background is familiar to me (though our industry in North Yorkshire was steel and chemicals, not mining). How class-conscious we were. Does one talk about being working class nowadays? The teachers in tweed jackets with leather patches on the elbows. The boys lined up outside the headmaster's study waiting to be caned. Our physics teacher Arnie with his massive slipper, used for the backsides of badly behaved boys (the girls were given lines). The nicknames we gave the teachers, Woody, the Killer, Jimmy (the boys' handsome PE teacher), Sykesy, Miss P our headmistress who would stand outside her office door when we walked past from one classroom to another, inspecting our legs for laddered stockings (and later, tights). I think she might have been at Bletchley Park, because there was a rumour that she had decoded something important during the war - she guessed that a reference to a white house was Casablanca.
The lads in drainpipe trousers and winklepickers. Playing on slagheaps. Estates. Paper boys. Sweets that you bought in white paper packets, 2 ounces at a time. The 11+, grammar schools and secondary moderns. Kids with a local accent who went to elocution lessons and were regarded by the rest of the class as snobs.

Well, Richard is similar to Billy Casper but does not have such a hard life, his parents are much more caring and his brother is not a mean thug. I have not yet reached the part where he starts taming kestrels.

I'm liking this much better than the book H is for Hawk.

The image is the Penguin paperback with the famous photo of Billy Casper and the V sign, which was on posters and shocked the neighbours of Richard and Barry Hines.

Journal Entry 6 by over-the-moon at Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Setting aside my conviction that it's wrong and cruel to take a wild animal away from its natural environment, enclosing it and training it to obey - I was particularly indignant at Gavin Maxwell and his otters in Ring of Bright Water, even though it's an excellent book - I have to admit that Hines's book is riveting.
I am up to the part where he is training Kes with a lure.

Interesting passage, p. 79:
"We weren't taught French at secondary modern school but from my reading I'd discovered mew means to moult, which ... originates from the French muer - to change the feathers. In the past the mews was where you put your hawk to moult - there used to be a royal mews at Charing Cross until 1534, when the mews were converted into stables. Today a mews simply means the place in which you keep your hawk."

Journal Entry 7 by over-the-moon at Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Wednesday, May 8, 2024
I'm glad the real Kes didn't come to the same sorry end as the one in the novel and film. And I'm starting to be more understanding of Richard.

Journal Entry 8 by over-the-moon at Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Friday, May 10, 2024
Richard writes very candidly about his life and feelings, even the negative ones and his petulant moments. He comes across as a caring and kind-hearted person, very concerned about education and the plight of the miners (Thatcher years).
Silent Spring has been mentioned, and as it is near the top of Mount TBR I'll take it as a sign that I should read it next.

Journal Entry 9 by over-the-moon at Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Friday, May 10, 2024
Class conscious to the end. I remember being mocked for my north Yorkshire accent when I went to college, on one occasion because once when we were served dessert I said Ooh, brambles! instead of blackberries. Well, at home we ate apple and bramble pie...
Hines still talks with a Barnsley accent on his videos, which I like very much.

So, an excellent book, not only about falconry but about education, mining, working class people, snobbery, film-making, family, even teaching in Nigeria.

Lord Zetland is mentioned, maybe one of the more approachable aristocrats. He owns a lot of the land around Saltburn, Marske and Redcar, on the northeast coast.

Image of the North Yorkshire moors, similar to the South Yorkshire area that Kes would have flown over. Minus the slag heaps - they are closer to Middlesbrough.

This is joining A Kestrel for a Knave on my bookshelf unless someone puts it on their wishlist. It was on mine ever since I read a review in the Guardian when it was first published.


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