A number of friends are spending Boxing Day reading William Blacker's superb Along the Enchanted Way, which I included in several Christmas stockings.
It is a charming book about Blacker's life in rural Romania. He pitches up in a small village soon after the collapse of communism. He joins in as the villagers gather in the harvest, and several years later he is still there. After one or two less than successful courtships, he ends up married to a Gypsy.
Parts of the story are extremely funny. I especially like the account of how he tries to cash a cheque at a provincial bank. The manager refuses to believe that the person dressed as a Romanian farmer could possibly be an Englishman, so won't serve him.
Parts of the story are touching. Blacker tells us of a world disappearing with the advance of modernity.
According to a recent piece in the Telegraph by Charles Moore, Blacker spoke at Patrick Leigh Fermor's recent memorial service. Like Leigh Fermor, Blacker writes brilliantly and his books are far more than just travel writing.
"A revolutionary text ... right up there with the Communist manifesto" - Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
Printed by Douglas Carswell of 61 Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex