A Year in the Valley: Seasons of Content – Jackie French
Harper Collins Australia
Here I am, approaching another birthday and only just in the last couple of weeks did I get to read the book given to me on my last birthday by my good friend BB. While she is extremely lucky in being able to call Jackie French a friend, at least I can lay claim to having meet Jackie several times and had the extreme pleasure of her (and Brian’s) home hospitality – which made reading this very personal account of Jackie’s home life all the sweeter.
Jackie French’s home in the Araluen Valley is a testament to the dedication that some people have to living in complete harmony with our very special Australian landscape, flora and fauna while creating for themselves a productive foodscape. In Jackie’s instance, this also entails preservation of heritage varieties of fruit and vegetables.
In this journal, Jackie describes the seasonal changes in the valley while detailing the day to day life of her family and friends with exquisite skill. This is a book which will make you long to throw in your day job, sell up everything you have and head for a similar lifestyle. It makes me think of years reading Grass Roots magazine and dreaming, it makes me think of biting into the delicious apricots and peaches my great-grandmother used to grow and inspires to fill the house with the wonderful aromas of good home cooking.
Having lived a little while not far away from the Araluen Valley and becoming a little familiar with the nearby town of Braidwood, it made me feel a little ‘homesick’ for a place where I was very happy. This will be a book I will come back to for comfort often I feel – what a gift! Thank you BB.
Give yourself some pleasure and grab a copy – sit in the sun and read … and dream.