"Charles Wood is fervent about Staffordshire. With gentle humour, he celebrates the odd, the unusual, the historic, and the peculiarities of modern life - from dialect to deer-horn dancing - that make this county such a deeply satisfying place to live in and to visit. Full of fascinating people - like the Wedgwoods and the Peels - the book is rich in folk-tale and fantasy, football and food (including the many different local and national staples that hail from the county, including Staffordshire oatcakes, Staffordshire cheese, Burton beer, Marmite and Branston pickle)." Halsgrove
The author tracks events from woolly rhino to a flag in space. His family has entangled roots in this potty and often grubby English county of the knot, rich of landscape if not of wallet. Creative, particularly in its balderdash, Staffordshire’s influence reaches as far as the Antipodes, happily not just from transportations.
Much is odd. Minstrels chase bulls. Big cats prowl. A potato field outpours gold. Men dance with reindeer horns. Bouncy marsupials are rumoured. Alien plants clog canals. Tales endure of cannibals, UFOs, and a talking radish. But as Hanley’s Captain Smith alluded on the ‘Titanic’, that’s the tip of the iceberg.
Progress nibbles at the oatcake. Threatening the ancient, ultra-rapid rail is set to blat through the county without benefit or apology. But heigh ho, bad behaviour is rife.
Deep defunct mines prove problematic for football ground and bus station. Darts are endemic. Cosy terrace homes are sport for the wrecking ball. Assuredly it matters not when select houses are a quid each.
Funny and poignant, this is a book of snippets and pointers for the long suffering local, the goggle-eyed visitor, the film star seeking mugs, the furrow-browed historian, or merely the inquisitive intrigued at How to Survive in Staffordshire.
How To Survive In Staffordshire was published by Halsgrove in October 2016.
ISBN 978 0 85704 300 9
Reader, Bellingen, NSW, Australia.
Reader, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Polish fighter pilot Tadeus Bobowski bouncing his plane down onto a remote Somerset airfield during the Second World War and deciding to settle had, over future decades, a profound effect on the cricket mad village of Snickworthy.
A hunky punk calamity and the mystery of the brown fedora meld with accusations of kidnap on an away weekend at Lord’s. Not to mention the match to decide the futures of a gurt, pet pig and a shaggy, blind bull. But top of the order was the question whether Lady Rosemary's 'accident' was actually murder.
As events collide camaraderie is shaken to the core by the cricket loathing, saddle loving Margie, a very resourceful young lady. The arrival of Henry, a dapper ‘furriner’ with a guide to self-sufficiency, makes for a whole stinky kit bag of kerfuffle as the Belters, the village cricket team of hapless eccentrics, struggle to survive.
Bats and Belters was published in Autumn 2014.
Bats, Pads and Cider - A Miscellany of Somerset Cricket
“Sleep when you’re dead, play cricket while you’re awake” are the words of advice eagerly followed from Taunton’s County Ground to the many a twenty–two yards treasured down a country lane.
A cider or two in the Three Ferrets can help make sense of a Somerset summer where the green stains on whites are not just from grass, but also from the moulds of damp. In the villages there are those who play in the Shrubbery and those who don’t; and where amid the moos of protest from cow corner there are accusations of creating crop circles while ball rummaging in farmers meadows.
Compiled during the vintage year of 2010, here are vaulted stories and little histories of cricketing characters both famous and, perhaps, not so much, to charm and to wince at between innings, dredged from a cricket mad soggy county that the author loves to his apple core.
"I'm not a writer.
I'm just a humorist.
Only when you are dead you become a writer."
Bats and Belters - A light-hearted novel about village cricket was published by Halsgrove, Autumn 2014.
Another Somerset Century The book that's found its way into the Lord's library earns three 5-star Amazon reviews: 'A very good read, by a brilliant author. The best of the SCCC books that have come out for a while.' 18/11/13. 'Tackles all the the recent stories from numerous runner's up finishes to major ground and personnel changes.' 12/12/13. An enjoyable read for a Somerset supporter or fan of cricket. The sort of book one can pick up, read a bit, and return to with ease.' 20/12/13.
My documentary film Nature's Alchemy was selected for participation in the Culture Unplugged online festival Spirit Enlightened 2014.
Tales From The Green Man's Daughter - Digital Album released 20.08.12
Cricket blog attracts attention. Read
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Bats Pads and Cider
How To Survive In Somerset
Surviving Another Somerset Year