Spring Has Sprung – And With It, a Refreshingly-Different New Wiltshire Biography 

In Unbelievable! A Working Country Life, local author Victoria Walsh introduces Martin Aris, a real country character, in his very own Cotswolds-Wiltshire accent.

Coombe Enford, Wiltshire (18 March) – Monday the 20th of March marks the first day of Spring, and the launch of a Wiltshire author’s first book. Unbelievable! A Working Country Life, by Victoria Walsh, tells the story of Martin Aris, a farmer, river keeper and mischief-maker from the Cotswolds and Wiltshire. Unlike most other countryside books, though, the subject of this one is definitely not posh, and definitely doesn’t speak the Queen’s (or King’s!) English. 

Victoria met Martin seven years ago, when she and her partner moved to live in the old water mill in Coombe Enford (near Pewsey), where Martin works as a river keeper. They’ve always loved hearing Martin’s hilarious stories about country life: of a naughty little boy growing up in the 1950s & 60s Cotswolds, of moving to Wiltshire as a cheeky young farmer, and ending up a wise but still sparky river keeper. It was these stories, and Martin’s thought-provoking reflections about nature and life, which sparked the idea for the book. However, this wasn’t to be any old countryside book: Unbelievable! focuses on working-class rural life (so often ignored) and contains not just nature but poaching, punch-ups and more. Unusually, it’s also written phonetically, in Martin’s Cots-Wilts accent, and embellished with expletives.

On the book, Victoria said: “People love books about the countryside, but why do they all tend to be about posh people or the life cycle of the lapwing? Unbelievable! should make you laugh out loud, and reflect on a life well lived”.

Unbelievable! has lots of local and historic interest, and with it, Victoria is keen to support local businesses. The book has been produced by Chalk Stream Books, part of Wiltshire’s Riverside Publishing Solutions Ltd, and has been beautifully illustrated by Wiltshire artist Alex Crump. Victoria is also supporting a good cause, as 10% of profits will be donated to The Angling Trust.    

Victoria will be launching the book in the evening of the 20th of March at the Pewsey Heritage Centre (6-7.30pm). Please email [email protected] for information and (free) tickets. Places limited.