Countryman – Jim Emerton
“Far from the pulse of city man
I flow with the wind and the tide,
Intoxicated by freedom.”
I think his tales capture a glimpse of a countryside life which I think is fast disappearing. Eccentric characters are disappearing, and the connection between people and nature is perhaps not what it was. I found the book engaging and the style of writing conveys much feeling, but is easy to read, and as ever with Jim, it is thought-provoking and insightful.”
Amazon review, paperback edition, April 2019.
COUNTRYMAN: Tales from field, marsh, and woodland is an insightful memoir that sees author Jim, a great enthusiast of the wild, veer away from his more widely known reputation, best-known for his prowess as a breeder of racing pigeons, and in this book enjoys the pleasures of nostalgia in recalling the joys of his innocent childhood in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
The wild birds that fascinated him as a child through to adulthood pave the way of many of his memory recollections of watching and sometimes hunting for them in the great outdoors.
Touching on the great country characters he has come to know, not only does he take on a more philosophical perspective of nature and the wild, but a contemporary approach too, all from the many years of experience and passion he has felt for nature that has given his life so much more value he could ever have imagined.
Paperback edition – £8.99
Kindle Edition – £2.30
Cocker’s Fighting Cock
From time to time you meet people of great spiritual individuality, and I have encountered some wonderful characters on my travels, from Alvaston to Afghanistan. I have known country people who were in intimate contact withe the pulse of life and the ways of nature, and have inspired me to poetry.
At Holtby along the lanes of Yorkshire, I encountered a remarkable family of Romanies. Old Montagu Cocker Smith came walking along with his piebald horses and his bowtop caravan. Over the years we traded chat around the campfire smoking his Condor twist, and we gave them butter and cheese and a few racing pigeons as friendly gestures. I was impressed by their free-spirited individualism, cultural traditions and ancient lifestyle. They lived in the bosom of nature a hardy, spartan way of being, and knew the meaning of sun, wind, snow and rain.
One day ‘Cocker’ asked me to overwinter his old English game fighting cock to me for a while, a black and white bird of great spirit and the finest bird I ever looked in the eye. I put him in to join my other birds and he despatched my banty cock in double quick time. When I let the beast out he flew from tree to tree, crowing loudly. Then he sat on the cottage roof to announce his considerable presence to all of nature as well as the human community. Mother said “Either you go or the cockerel does, which will it be?” So he had to go. Of course cock fighting is illegal in the UK, and is widely regarded as barbaric, although it is the national sport of the Philippines. Nevertheless the old cock was the embodiment of pure spirit, an awesome creature of fiery and noble beauty.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jim Emerton is a lifelong lover and advocate of the countryside, and the wild creatures whose life has revolved around racing pigeons since he was introduced to them by his father at the age of three.
He lived an idyllic childhood spent mainly in the Lincolnshire Wolds where he first began racing; his mother Dorothy and later his partner Jean worked alongside him in the lofts. The peak of Jim’s career came in 1995 when his bird Barcelona Dream set a new British International Championship Club distance record in the renowned Barcelona International race with a record flight home of 879 miles, leaving his mark in the realm of marathon racing in Europe.
When Jim retired from racing in 2006, he contributed to the sport by donating his 140 birds to the National Flying Club. Since then he has continued to be a huge supporter, though not actively, but has become internationally known as a writer and commentator on the sport, writing a series of books on various aspects of pigeons, the countryside and the wild outdoors.
It is an undying love that, who knows, may once again open the door to a future participation. Jim is a highly intellectual man, a thought-provoking person who continuously pushes the fancier and reader to think about things on a deeper level.
Other works by Jim:
My Life in Pieces, Poems and Paragraphs: Verses, musings and original observations on a complex, wonderful world. (2016)
Pigeon Racing: My personal insights. (2016)
Pigeon Man: Notes, tips and observations from a lifetime of pigeon rearing and racing. (2016)
The Deep Thoughts of Jim Emerton. (2017)
An Eccentric Genius (2019)