Best-selling author Amanda Owen runs a 2,000-acre hill farm in North Yorkshire, and has nine children. Her latest book, A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess, was published last month.
I grew up near Huddersfield and spent a lot of time immersed in books, dreaming of a more rural life. I used to go to the library, but when I was given book tokens for Christmas, I’d get a new book all for myself.
This was the first Roald Dahl book I bought and I was hooked by the romance of Danny’s life—living with his father in a gypsy caravan, poaching pheasants. I read it to my own children now.
Last year was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alf Wight, who wrote under the pseudonym of James Herriot. His publishers reprinted the first volume of his memoirs and asked me to write the foreword. I was so honoured.
My grandfather had given it to me when I was 12. Herriot’s adventures as a young country vet in Yorkshire spoke to me and I thought, That’s the life for me. Sadly my careers teacher told me I’d never get the grades to become a vet, but it didn’t dampen my conviction that I wanted a life among animals in the countryside.
I borrowed this beautiful, raw photographic book from the library so many times I got nasty reminders from them!
I’m a big believer in fate—when I moved to our farm in Swaledale, my husband Clive bought me my own copy. Looking through this book that had meant so much to me, we found him in one of the photographs. Everything in my life was meant to be.
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