« Desert Island Discs

James Rebanks, Shepherd and Writer

2019-01-20 | 🔗
James Rebanks is a shepherd and the best-selling author of The Shepherd’s Life. Born in Cumbria in 1974, he grew up venerating his grandfather, who taught him what he needed to know in order to take over the family farm from his father one day. He found school an irksome distraction, and left aged 15 with two GCSEs. It wasn’t until his early 20s, after he’d developed an interest in reading and had met his future wife Helen, that he decided to return to study at a local college in the evenings. Encouraged by a tutor, he applied for a place at Oxford University, and graduated with a double first in History. After university, he worked in a number of white-collar jobs, in order to boost his income while ensuring he could continue to work on the farm. He breeds two different types of sheep: Herdwicks, which are a native breed to his part of the world, and Swaledales, which he kept out of respect to his father who died in 2015, just before the publication of James’s first book. He began chronicling his life as a shepherd on Twitter in 2012 but is currently taking a break from tweeting. He and Helen have four children. BOOK CHOICE: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway LUXURY: Pen and Paper CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: A New England by Kirsty MacColl Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Bbc sounds music. Radio podcasts, I'm Lauren Laverne, and this is the desert island discs podcast. Every week I ask my guests to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they'd want to take with them if they were cast away to a desert island. This is an extended If the original radio four broadcast and for rights reasons, the music is shorter than the original broadcast, I hope you enjoy listening. The The my castaway today is the shepherd and writer James reid banks,
family have been farming in the cumbrian fells for over six hundred years and he's firmly rooted in the land. His skills and knowledge have been passed down through the generations, and the farming life began early for him. As a toddler, he wrote on the back of his grandfather's tractor and, as he grew he'd increasingly help out with the daily tasks of clipping dipping feeding and mucking out his other career. As a best selling author was inspired by his discovery of social media. Tweeting pictures of his beloved heard with sheep and his sheep dogs brought him to the attention of publishers. The shepherd's life was, a huge success and brought the reality of life on the hills to town he's across the world. He says I have always like the feeling of carrying on something bigger than me, something that stretches back through other hands and other eyes into the depths of time to work. There is a humbling thing: it liberates you from any allusion or self importance. James reeboks welcome to desert island discs for your vote first rear. So when I think of the lake district
what comes to mind first is the fantastic smell of it. When I arrive and get out of the car that beautiful mulch he Masih actually am such a tour tony, I don't even know what it is, I'm smelling, but I would I wondered if you did. What is that? The first? he's gone through, my head is no idle. Smells goes off my normal, so I'll, probably if I went to, let us allow covertly notice that the smells way different bollywood but yeah, maybe this time. We are in the majority talking about what you said: the Zella woodland now a volley and it's a dismal, very dampen, leafy and probably mouldy and them yet, but mostly just smells clean, definitely a clean smack. So many of us, of course, no, the lakes through our holidays, millions visit every year. How would you describe the landscape that you rooted in love and workable the stakes, are really special place. It some not only beautiful in the natural sense, with its geology and it's like some things, but
it does have unique farming culture that goes back like five thousand odd years? No one really knows at least one thousand years, and I didn't realize that that was unique. Really I just grew up in. It is what my grandad did. What my dad did. And so if we really want to go into mallette, tunes and twentys and them realise how different we were from lots of other people from from the people that came on holiday there and start to think about that that you realize how special it is. So I think, like my kids have before It's a home and I just take it for granted. I think everybody lives with a really beautiful view and sheep around the house and things, but not on the way. Very, very lucky to live in that place. so your sheep, if I wanted to, by one I know I would need some guineas supply wondering what else I would need to look for. You know from its mix of on the spot. double sensible things for shooting in mountain. Certain is really really short teeth because the funding, upon a sheet when its old, its sixtyth, become too long in the fall out, and then you dive
sheep and a really hard mountain environment, then it really tights hot weather. Turning caught on They need to be very mobile, so they need really good legs, but because people have done this for a very long time, there's a whole culture of shepherding culture emerged on other says that they have to be a certain kind of white in the head. As a brilliant, pure snow white in turn, the fleet should be sought. Slaty blue color, like the slit in the lake district on the roofs and aesthetic that stuff developers on those sites about shepherds arose geeky about one or shoot. Look like, as other people are about pump music. Opera, castles, or whatever else you get me into three of my friends together, looking at the perfect sheep and we can tell thousand Well exactly I mean I know you you're a sheep net now telling her sheep dogs cause. I know that their working dogs, rather than That's where the service we have for some time and the way of their daughters, meg and now and bess.
and what's the relationship, though they they're keeping me in business. Basically, I I can't do anything without them, so if you gone to a mountain in the lake district and you try to just surrender cheap down to a farm without dogs, you can look like a complete fool and there's no technology. There's no quad bike or drawn or anything that's going to do that cheaper to smartly know. The landscape then, are going to fall for any art nonsense and it's basically walking stick farm and it's very, very old fashioned way of farming. Poor land really you're, sharing the music that you love with us today and tell me about your first disc. Why you chosen this one okay self to have chosen rachmaninoff's sit down a theme from paganini and it's pure and simple, because one first memories, one I was maybe successor When is my mom playing this record. My mom was what but at what are called an impulse. His or far though she was from.
Far away is industrial lancashire, so more than half of my family were cotton workers, which is how far away from you on residence black fifty sixty miles of the letter. I sixty miles distant. This definition of florida, my time, someone It's finally been cotton mill workers and their soft climbed out with some pretty pure heart conditions, and that really done through education and I'm a funny mix of those two things are ended up: farming culture and the sort of bookish culture that my mom would bring into the house. So as I'm trying to go, at night, when I'm sort of seven or eight years old. I thought it's. My mum playing this, but my mum laughs at this memory and says she was actually playing on the record and playing on the piano who knows who was it, but it's a beautiful piece of music and reminds me muslim
The the part of rachmaninoff rhapsody on a theme of packing
any played by Cecile who say with the city of Birmingham symphony orchestra conducted by Simon rattle, sir James reeboks. You currently look after around four hundred Is that right, lovable, four hundred yeahs and then we have the young stock or follow us as we would call them so there's about six hundred and something cheap and and yeah. I was meaning analyses you use in the south of england right, okay, the terminology of what we do is what is a sort of like in our old english. The sheep and the shepherds were more or less vikings. Allow me as you, so you are there in all weathers all year round. I wonder which is your preferred season. truth is, I am head over heels in love with the landscape where I live and the work that deuce all love all the seasons. I don't really have a favor of lama. Time prince beauty. How did you get some of that snow showers, but that's an amazing thing to do just to get up every morning to know that if you to your job right, you keep sheep alive and if you do it wrong, well
dominoes will have the the autumn, because that's when I, when it comes to frozen, that's where we sell the the sheep that was all this effort for decades into trying to breed the perfect sheep. That's when it goes public. If you like, all go to the sales and the shows you try and prove that you're, a good shepherd by turning out these fantastically healthy, fantastically beautiful sheep that meet the aesthetic that we're talking about a mile. I fell asleep. Are you crazy that what she calls it took favouring the automated slightly lost it? Could you saw in the zone with this thing, ilona thinking about you see me she'd been a sheet nerd and how nerdy shepherds can be about shape. I mean I've read that you can tell sheep from each other, but also that you can see that the kind of found the history of the sheep will open and they look like ourselves talking, follow nerdy lax or the people know do other things of this isn't even surprised into shepherds
with the weather she's, not some unique attribute of mine. I say if you point to one of my sheep, I can tell you what it's mother was. What it's father was. I can tell you what it's bread in the preceding three four five ten years and which are the sheep in the flock it's related to, and this is the some sort of weird showing off the shepherds. It's actually its actual important, because the genetics of the different farmers in this matter it just like other people, would have a sort of encyclopedic knowledge of records and things from the nineteen seventies, the great sheep from nineteen seventies or a spoken about and and remembered, and there is a horse. He was a boxer, a sort of flop. Books were the photographs from every year going back to the nineteen twenties Of the import, cheap, captured and another piece of technology, they are half dead, your sheep, they wrote the unfenced thousand, they dont stray. Why not so the kitchen to understand was all people don't go? that sam the sheep don't have to be flocked together with a shepherd.
what you see in the mediterranean, there aren't any large natural verges on those mountains, so the sheep disperse there and they find a specific place on the mountain which is there if we would call it and when they go back to their fellow. The mountain in the spring, the take their lambs with them and the really weird, but is that the shape of a culture that sheep teach their daughters, that this is a place on them This is the position which go matter every spring, so I can go to a certain place on the mountain off my we live and before we get there, I can tell you which one of the sheep will be there, and I can tell you that her grandmother held to the simple, So what I get older and I became interested. In writing and and song lyrics and other things like that. I think actually I'd like to tell people just to try and explain. I was wildly frustrated when I started reading the books about the lake district part from a few sort of attempts by people. I was with to write about the people of the landscape. There there's not a lot in there from the people who live there and what they think is that they live in. So eventually I realize I might have to do that. I couldn't wait for somebody else to do.
I just thought you gonna, do himself come to that time. Some music first tell me about your second disc, and why have chosen it so my seconds. A sapling ensue by johnny cash and these first two tracks, and just let me laughed as I remember my mom and dad too it's a west were very. likely powered. My mom was very civilised and bookish and classical, and my dad was just as much more self northern, so rural working class fella with the assaulted is that so you'd sit and watch John wayne movies and he loves country and western music and sit and watch the football at her sort of a noisy and fun and love to dance and the we are still baffled, how the moment that got together, but it seemed to work a respectful of each other, and the song reminds me of my dad daddy left home when I was three and it didn't leave much to ma and me
guitar and an empty bottle of food. I don't blame him cause. He run in here. The meanest thing that he ever did was before he left. He was named me sue the most developed It was quite a job and it got a lot of laughs from a lots of seams. I had to fight my whole life, the eagle and I disagree, and some guy laughed and said I'll. Tell ya life ain't, easy for a boy named sue, johnny cash and a boy named see james. We banks. He said that as soon as you could total, you would go off with your granddad Huey in his landrover to do some job on the farm. Any sense pretty full medical. How would you describe him? He was some he was from adult, but it was. It was also fun, so he only had one too, so you just got to look your family. I want to talk to the mayor of a lamb chop like a jackal.
I really want to, but it was said that the truth is my grandfather was quite an old fashioned, sawpit yahoo, tucked vigour, and I got the best of it. on the blue eyed grandson, who gets dry ground and treated special. Ok, it's only lets I'd like to Fifty years later realize he's adopts the role that it wasn't. This is only the last person to be married to all our or even the best of gods, to my my own dot. So there was Besides, there was maybe not a nice, but as a kid I just thought this really wise old guy. The petition. With him everywhere, and he would show me show me where the foxes went under the fences. He would have to explain to me about swallows gone to africa and, coming back to our log shed. and he would teach me about the salmon come out the rivers in the autumn and if anything his mistake was to make me think I was too special at the age of about eight? I thought I was like this sort of prints of the world's smallest charity rates have to be something important, and maybe it was been a farmer, but loved him daily only was wasn't still in some ways. It, sir,
well and when I think about how I want to look after our land and try and strike some such some kind of balance between what we need to get from as farmers and and looking after the nature and the wild things on it, then that, for me, is a really important role model. I want to try and build on what he taught me and tried to be I've. Seen a photograph of he was a kid sitting in front of your dad on a horse wearing a cowboy house. I mean what are your earliest memories of life on the farm? What we expected to do you personally just follow me around south a lot of like family people listened to this, as he spend your childhood in the back of a tractor sitting on a box of spanners you're bouncing around here there and everywhere land rovers here you ve been sent to run when they move cattle. on the road for some back from the field to the farmstead. Your job is to jump over the wall and then run to get back in front of them before the next house. So the next junction I started all the things that femme kids do and- and I look back and slightly mesa didn't die- cause the health and safety implications of some of those things where it said we were delighted,
alma stands in the hair bombs. So no it was. It was a. It was a good childhood and there was quite a lot freedom as well, so we we roam all over. The place are quite protective mother until I was like seventeen or something like that, and then they just got to a point where she couldn't hold me anymore, and I realized how privileged I is now so I'll shoot. An amazing thing, the other day that the average kid in Britain spends less time outside now than the average prisoner, and not only is that incredibly screwed up, obviously now, but it makes me realize how lucky I was that we, from all over the place and what about you? What about your everyday wended up again, saw em. The truth is, I was for a very bookish kid, but women in the middle of nowhere and there wasn't enough to do so I'm everyone that we could go to the local town and pentothal weeds. Trying to you don't think I like a big brother carol as somebody's car. Anybody that grew up in the north that was a remotely solve working class, a rough around the edges and knows that you drove to the local town. He sat there talking about absolutely nothing pot next to each other, with the lights on and occasionally you
If you do do not like Lewis Hamilton does what they sort of turn the car around. So I have some part of this, in theory, is meant to impress your women and your girlfriend, but it's like the worst way to impress everybody ever hassle. really boring, and that was my think. So what do you do the rest of the week- the daylight hours, you don't look, I'm a farmer. Do you love but does not want to Vienna house and light that decides what something These are watching some boring thing, so I eventually that It's me going in like one of the other rooms and there was a bookcase full of my mother's dad's books, my grandfather and started reading books and and this is only about six or eight months after I flunked out of school cause? I wasn't interested in books and I realized immediately that I love books I and immediately thought I want to do this, but just to make it more complicated. I didn't not want to be a farm. I wanted to be a farmer and write books and, of course, that no I had no idea how he did those two things when we'll find out sure and for now we're going to go to the Is it what's next, the next truckers, the thing from the movies zulu by john berry, and it really
finds me of being a or ten years old and on a sovereign saturday, already sunday dodging I should really been open, whether this is his version of how we should live out sneak offline, the girls do one out much zulu on our memories, all the lines, and I could tell you exactly what michael kane says. soon those come over here on a lot still to this day, and I love this piece of music everytime. I hate speech eight years older than what you might move you my moments. For me,
the the theme from the original soundtrack of the film zulu, composed by John Barry, James re banks. When did you first become aware of what had been written about the lake district by authors like words with or wainwright, and I think I was well into my twenties really, so I I I'd love books for ten years or something, but I think somewhere along the way. I thought somebody will have written books about what we do ads, that go into bookshops and are looking through the shells thinking it's all the same. It's all it's all Wordsworth or it's all wainwright. They write some brilliant stuff for absolutely amazing stuff. They write. But it's not me. It's not, and it's not about me or my people saw I'd I'd. I'd grown up watching films, like nineteen sixties, what it called working hadn't kitchen sink drama such and such dramas, and I would watch those films and I knew the history of that that people had to stand up and claim that space in getting the culture to be heard as working class people
so to discover that wasn't really like a rural version of I I'm thinking this, isn't that this isn't the whole story. This is just part of the story, this just some dead, rich white guy's version of it. How can that be? How can that be enough? And then I guess I'm a little bit lucky a weird something because I end up doing a version of that and Like you, I mean you didn't have a great time at school. I think you had to travel ten miles to get to a secondary school. What was it like you? All other millisecond says it was a bit like as a member mrs schuyler, but I've been in the can launch film chasms lots of board kid stunning around. You didn't exist with anything to do with them, and I just think I don't want to be in this place. Why am I in this place? Why are people making me be here adobe here? No one here cares about me. No one cares. What my values are my family. I just want to get,
and were you different was their separation between the kids who, like you, grew up on farms and and the kids who didn't most of my best friends were just lots of local town over low, like I was a little bit rough around the edges and sort of united by mischief and a self sense of humor. What we thought was funny at fifteen and not at all proud now, but what we thought was funny then, was just doing anything that wasn't what the teacher said you should do all break and still for just not being where you meant to be so literally from the moment, I went to secondary school days
eleven. I don't think I ever wrote anything in my multiple till I left five years later and now. I can't quite believe how anybody ever got away without very looking much. One of my sisters is a head teacher at school and I know how all the basic stuff the teachers can do and it seems to have changed, but just at that time in that place, it wasn't good for me. So so my way of dealing with that was to be the joker easily, the one that got called for during the really stupid thing. I wish I'd been more mature and picking up the rise above it all find. Some use in it, but I didn't he left at fifteen with two gcs says: what did you think the future had instill fear that my granddad was very clear because uh uh Jesus easing woodwork and nary some godfather combined these two things. He said I could be a vicar and I could knock the nails into the coffin. This is the only combination of these two, eggs at some attired in granddad skill was baffling as well. They didn't do anything. I had anything to do with this issue, some piece of it, and then you go out ass, soon, ass she could and the south,
ass, they had done and hostility under it now is, I think, a girl but the more I realize how stupid it was really cause. Some fantastic geography, teacher called MR town, and he tried really really hard to engage me and he knew I could do school stuff and in the exam I thought it'd be hilarious. To do brilliant answers are the best as I was capable of, but do them in all the wrong boxes on the exemption until about a month later, whatever it was. Two weeks, when we got the examines? Also those just the look on MR towns face that made me feel about uninstall and to this day I just think how so pathetic. I think in the moment when he looked at me like that, I thought you know what this jokes on me to me this clown here, anna left school, and I think I've got out was system really and in the months have followed that's. Why started reading interested that e left? though, and then you have to do on your own tuna hardware, let's go to the music- tell me about your fourth peace today, ok,
for a song today, I think, is the best bit of poetry about nineteen, eighties, england. It's called new england, somebody customer, calm and absolutely beautiful, and it reminds me absolutely of that time and that place and it was one of the first pieces of restrictive, like by the fellow the someone's in this zone. Where I can, when I heard them, I thought that's cool. I wish I could do because to me
a new england, james re banks in nineteen? Ninety you lost your granddad after suffered a stroke and because of the farms finances your grandparents bungalow and I think a couple of fields had to be sold. So even you dont then became responsible for the farm it sends at court stressful time. How did the two of you get on were gone dreadful, so hum, but that wasn't this? The politically correct sort of american movie give you a hole. Type figure was: he was a bit rougher had the heart of not, and I was this awkward sort of edgy pushy, seventeen eighteen year old thinking, I knew stuff in which to do things my way and eat eat only just got out of the shadow of his own thoughts. So it was just a matter of a rock and a hard place. So we bought heads squat lots, I think, there's something a people don't have in them.
Modern world is to have a period where you actually hit, despite everything, have to work with your dad or what with uganda and uneasy worst of each other, but you also see the best of each other. Id spend a lot time together, and you really know who that person. these. So even though it wasn't like the best period of my life, I wouldn't have missed it benefit really, What happened over time and some we set to work through that you, don't you get through the bits where you have a fight, through the arguments, and you start to realise that is actually a much finer more decent man. Then I realized it was when I was fifteen or sixteen. So by the time he died three or a cry, but other tommy's died three four years ago he's not my best man and he'd, mellowed and I'd mellow in this fight and stopped. I none one of the things that most plays device. China is that didn't you
look when I was twenty because it would have been the rumble. Kyoto been angry book about my dad and instead it became a book about which alone, but that gothic he meant it to me- ah yeah. So when, when I was writing the book, my dad was dying of cancer and I was terrified I thought was: what's he going to think You know you don't upset you dad. In last week's of his life. So am I read a proof of the book about three weeks before he died and I said to her that what do you think of it- and he said well, the dedication by the bottom is a bit bloody soppy which made me laugh, and I thought well that's I'm gonna go them so lets him a moment. He said he's not gonna tell you buy, cried all the way through. and then I said to my sister said: Jane gonna go and find out what he thought of this book in nam. She came back and she said he's amazed that comes out of this book is a effing legend.
And it was nice because they have come full circle. He got up I'd grown up all enough. Do this all the heart beats the vulgar. I used to be belief, Lavoisier nantucket, in ninety, ninety five, when you on twenty one june, Helen who would go on to become your wife. Tell me about and you met. How did she changes at the time you s Helen? came along just when I needed, while em to my life, really which use hellenes more grown up. The me more sensible to me and doesn't, but without my nonsense so twenty year old me was a sort of edging towards been a bit more grown open was radiant alot of wanting to be a writer, but it wasn't it anywhere telling came along said not, but what are you doing here? You ve been a jerk, stop the clouded round thing so almost overnight, I did most of the disappointment of my friends So we join me being a clown and a better life with Helen, and it was a much more sensible life
so Helen said: look you're, Brady, you bookish, and you don't get on very well with your dog. He needed to go back to school, so I did. I went back and added some classes at nights at an adult education college in carlisle, not really looking at. What's amazing teachers who within like two weeks on what what what are you like? Where did he come from? You've read everything and I have I've, read hundreds of books, history, books and things, and every time that he just a question out, I was like the kid I put my hand up so had this teacher, who I still owe a great that teresa dumb unit to Portugal to hospital cambridge and this is of areas to mix up noise levels and to bloody gcse? back. I helped me to loan which apply to oxford, but you and I'm an interview, and I got in what I finishing my levels, which is insane time DE as the music tell me about your fifth disdain. Why have chosen? It was a common themes or lobby songs, which is just amazing, lyrics and some loose
in summer- and I really admire- is Jarvis cocker and this summer's, let gloss by pope, and I can very distinctly maybe my twenty years old partner dry still more upon the field in our farm. It's like a really silly day in July and there's lots of sweat swelling onto both me and listening to the words and thinking I'm going to do that, I'm going to write something
let's hope so Tell me james re banks. What made you decide that you wanted to go to university in your mid twenties? I wasn't really sure that added to be honest, but I just had this teacher that push me in that direction to apply
and one of the historians of light, the most alighted like he's right in the most of this guy called http taylor, and he taught at college in oxford model in college, and I thought We probably all I mean we're gonna day, looking like the college, widely taught. At least I know where it was so we are not in its view, and it was some. They, amid this interview thing when they try refused by I was I was like a moment, One is by that and that no one was going to rough me up, so I just give them back as good as I could and am, and yeah I about two thirds of the way through the interior them smiley- let go there are most gotta go. Buffalo outcome from could have quite different from this typical kid. They go stocks it and. I want the ruby, I just thought tat. They will open up. There but I am still leaving them. One of this lot reminder that what do I do it? I'm so attached to where I live, that it was like a wrench from out if a guy
that does not mean that no longer belong here, and what did you think it? The reaction from your friends and family would be thought that other big bustled, all the thickets of turned away from them or something I got a massive, prior to the world really problem either, like my hopes and things and light they felt like it reflects well on them. I love having a conversation with my dad. Like a couple of days later, I said like how am I going to going to do this and he's like you idiot? What's she going to go there? I don't need your help on this farm european They often do I go there. I saw when, of course, that the downside of that issue A few days later, you're in like this incredibly posh college, oxford weighed on But now I was that I awoke is kind of you gave us the slightest elected to the planet. To me I don't know people like that. I don't speak I don't know any the words men. I couldn't get myself from the college because I didn't understand what before saying I don't know what qualities I don't know what
alchemist term means always to the posh language that it all works with. I didn't know what the hell was going on. It's just baffled for a few weeks, but also there were amazing tutors that, like a couple of people that just realized what I was, which is a bit rough around the edges and a bit green ibaka, do I could do what I was there to do. I did amazing cuticle, you and green is a professor of history and you just really good after about three or four weeks, sam, I've been getting two ones which I have to translate in my head is like a b in anybody else's sort of schooling, and so it's similar to LA I didn't come here to get BS how the hell do you get firsts? and he said, you're writing like you're one of them. I want you. I want the EU version of this write, your essays, like you, you, where you came from and what you're about what your values are and find your own voice, and it's one of the best.
Is some advice anybody ever gave me and I also go in and have a couple of beers before you write. Your essay said I'd like a much rohrer version of you and if you might about something that we're writing about, tell me what you might about. Let it go, let it out and annotated from that week to when a left tackle like face in every essay with his help and guidance and pushing me along, and how did you do when you left him? I was how are your grades? Final double first still thought robust. Well that fills through all the other. I do I can say that I shouldn't be embarrassed about it all worked out for a numb. It's as good as you can do that, and then I did not do like. I wanted to go home really really badly, but you're not supposed to go to oxford and then go back to complete work on a sheep farm. What did you do? How did you deal with missing home? They used to call it pretends shepard and solid logger, but lacks a classic seven o clock about water on the box of oxford, for no other reason than that's what my bony thought should be there, which is out
outside you: ve got the window, the rain or whatever it was slight, my way of dealing with the adjustment and then I didn't summer. What's the time that so they only have three week terms in oxfords, I was home more of the year than I was there. I was growing on weekends of those have like sheep sales and things. So some of my friends, some of them didn't even realize, had been to Oxford outcome moment of a ship sail. Boats are things I thought. You'd gone to another just gone, however, and would just carry on as normal. I think a lot people go to those colored universities and it changes the life and it gives them a set friends and it changes to the ava. For me, it wasn't really that I wanted to do the academic profit. I wanted to show that could do it prove could do already found Helen, and I had friends I like and admired at home. I didn't want to be this something new southern then go to london guy that wasn't me The music wisely chosen, this sixth disk soul
six song that I've chosen is way over yonder in the minor key by billy, bragg and wilco, and I chose it for really simple reason of two or three songs. I play late at night when I'm trying to psych myself to write. I want to start my book, the shepherd's life I play the song over and over again cause. I don't want to think about anything. Just wanted to sort of get me in a rhythm and I'm the cholera sway sang sam ain't. Nobody can they could sing. Like me, is this helping me somewhere? My head is making thank god. You can do this. Just try just go. That's what with some decently do you see thou gods that bad, nobody, nobody lag. Will,
the other the billy bragg and the elko way over yonder in the minor key James way banks. So you graduate with a double first in history and then returned back to the lake district from oxford. How certain were you that you and Helen would continue to farm and bring up your family there? The truth is not very certain for, like another ten years after that, the problem and the farmers who didn't know the farmers on what was my grandfather's That was my dream and I have two options. Really I almost convince myself ever become a really horrible by two in london. I could end a fortune in my five years. That was incredible because it had no skills were useful for that and the other figures are just go home and we'll ever saw a white collar office of people? Did that paid enough for you to buy a house in a village near to where we lived? I would do an update. I did all sorts of the things for four or five. Nearly ten years,
and then eventually I became interested in the economics of historic places and to the stamwood interested, like particular tourism, and a little money from tourism goes to local people, and I ended it within the width of the life where Until very recently, I was advising UNESCO about how to his works and places on the world, a particular how you can chew and adopt towards him. So the money goes to poorer people in places in africa or asia is very interesting. is obviously either your experience in eureka, very local in particular, but actually that issue is global at something. It affects people all around the world. Did you find commonalities that price you yeah. Well, it wasn't really part of the job, but maybe I consider the places I went to em, we're very rule and the people in all of those places will recognise elude, like my people. Side also to fund experience like about, to tanzania and our mother winning this room. I don't know other room with them ass, I people and on the other side the room with the path manages ivory
quickly realized the item in my mind that which, like you, need to engage with us and the problem of so they could get them ass. I people interested in the conservation message that word that the talk about saw. I just don't want my life a home and I could see the defences drop me immediately and the muslim women were talking to them ass. I men and soon, as I stop talking about who I Why had come the hepsey me immediately and said they wanted to show me the cattle in there. its german, the sheep, and it is this- are those that just like a shed bond it was really useful and there were all sorts of really complex, big issues, but yeah it's it's been good cause. It was like a third sort of education at others. Farm education then added this sort of bookish schooling advocate and then that maybe the third part of what makes me made his those years that they sent me all of the world to be solved. Play is and then to realize that people are alarmed the world are grappling with the same things. How they hold onto their past at the same time, has moved into the future how they live in places, sustainable how they eat its animals other relate to the environment. We have come
things all around the world people are grappling with and and having grown up grappling with them in the lake district. It was quite familiar territory to me and I was able to do that job as well as I could you put. The shepherds. Life was published ticket declaim into anti fifteen and it came about as a result of your presence on social media. You still tweeting by your life as a shepherd. What made you decide to do that all the good things happen in my life have not really been intentional and using too It was the same. I didn't really want to do it. Sort of various friends had tried to persuade me that I would be good at it and I should tell people about what we did on social media. eventually did. I gave in terms of persuaded me to to post pictures and on our market this sort of lightbulb moment. I couldn't really believe, though, so many people interested in and on one day in day to day work. I want the dose of doing what she would do it yeah. Another simple rule on that which is I'm not really on it? It's all about the she does the sheep, the landscape. Some of us are conservation stuff I care about and before you know it
five hundred thousand people around the world following that, and I don't think I'm terribly important, but I think the board's good about that is we ve got become far too disconnected only people in towns as it is, with a tomb I too disconnected from the countryside in the land and farming, what happens in farming and vice versa, and I what I really liked about people talking to farmers on social media as it's bridging that again, so people can say, hang on a minute. What are you guys doing in this field? I don't like this. I'm worried about it and and the farmers can kick back and say. Well, you made me, do it cause you buy food too, cheap in a supermarket. You don't care about the things that my grandfather cared about. So it's it's a good conversation, it's awkward at times, and people have all sorts of legitimate concerns about farming, and I I wouldn't ask people to not have those, but I think talk to each other, that we even when it's difficult, let's go to the music. What's your seventh disk today, shot or lobby number four by father John misty, not just chosen because I love it is one of my favorite trucks.
bad, but the journeys to shatter nobby number for james re banks, few people, involved in your kind of farming today than they were when you were growing up, how do you see the future of the family farm? A lot of adult nods? Listen to the other side. I generally don't know so I have two daughters into zones and they all love the farm and they have shown it's a bit like mine, where they roma around all over the place, and you look at the window, my kids about milo ever thumb, climbing trees and fallen off rocks, and things saw. I have no doubt that they love that place in its path who they are, and I dont know. If any of them,
want to be farmers. The lobby that choice when the older and I dont know under the bill to fall to befall muskets it, the farmer cows, it's very, very little money unless we're very clever, but how we do things to me. It isn't about forcing anyway to carry on forever it's more, but I felt like I was given this gift of experience in not unknown it, and I like I do I can. I can get my kids that experience and if they end up fattening the end up in a Rock'N'Roll band, deliver new yorkers. Have they will us great they'll, still have some amazing memories of that childhood and where they came from and the values of the people that they came from and if they want to be, farmers are now. I've got a major headache. but our work on how to work out how to do something on a farm it keeps going and that the such mohammed though, and moved on the farm. Is I care very much about adopting the fund to be used
for nature and as sustainable as we can possibly make it? So the kids help us to plant trees and hedges, and things like that, but just doing the best we can. But the truth is we need the british public to back good fun small family farms that do the right things look after animals while look after the land as well as they can. We need. we're listening to programs like this to to go in the shops and us for the right stuff and avoid the wrong stuff. And why is the right? Stefan rahmstorf people saying that with and another thing. By more in poland, the american food right. Originally, you said you should be anything that your grandmother wooden recognizes food and I think that's true so for our health, also, two other reasons. We need to eat less processed food, and I know that's difficult, because people are living on more distinct homes and they really busy and mom's a workin dots are working and feel that there's no time, but we have to we're gonna get a real mess unless we cover food culture that respects good, healthy, simple ingredients ideally produced locally as possible, and everybody congo to nice
wash metal fast farmers, market or farm shop that isn't everybody's reality, but to the greatest extent he possibly comer of you, live, try and buy from local farmers, try and buy from people who have high welfare standards to look for things that the red tractor bonds, which isn't perfect but which is better than nothing, look for organic food or try that, to the best extent he possibly counting you're busy and hard obliged to to try and get closer to the farmer and buy directly from them we're going to truncate these things a short weekend, tony eighth desperate today, you're somalia, my truck today's mississippi goddam by nina simone, who, who I just love, I think she so off and roll and brilliant all at the same time- and I love the story behind this truck so newness. One stories amazing this that's amazing books and friend, documentaries about her. But she, sort of how to make it really successful. Caressing citizens require full of white audiences.
And seeing some music that they liked. But she care deeply about the civil rights, dublin and another of the injustices in american society and an she wouldn't bottle it and she wouldn't keep quiet. So if management wanted to so she and she started writing songs that reflect give up on this one of the best of them, only the lyrics amazing, but that the raw and angry- and I just love a of the fact that the guts to to potentially thrown away and risk everything to fight for the things that she believed in and when she was brilliant.
The How did we ran the meanest One mississippi goddam james re, with the skills you ve got to deploy on the farm. I expect you are going to thrive on our desert island. What do you think would present the biggest challenge to us, a vital that I think homesickness? but I'm going to tough it out, and I think my way of doing that. it might not please my feldman francis I'm going to forget about home and I'm just going to knuckle down and and cut. I'm gonna make this island thing work. While we talk in small farmstead
Nonetheless, the vessel was of a lover. What's going on so long enough, and since the dictatorship is negotiated with us, an optimum violently here, like anything away by the look after them your system. This does island letters when I watch people and besides that, a reality t v programs or they got islands. I think what are you doing? Kill a pink go and explore, go and work out where the fruit is workout when the waters, Think I'm just gonna go hyper practical and normal to this island and work out. How the best way to live on is I'm away from the practicalities to the things that will make your time I am that bearable. I am sending you away with the complete works of shakespeare and the bible, and you get to choose another book to take with you once it can be. I don't really want those to the truth, but my other books, I'm going to tell you to take with me as one of the books I fell in love with when I was seventeen years old, which is the old man and the sea by honest hemingway, and I can't think of a book about the season that you can also have a luxury item. What kansas a luxury on the fouls. I wonder couldn't think of a luxury item, but I just want to move to write with that's what I'm I'm a guy that does. For nuts about asylum.
I want an endless supply of paper and pen, so I can just work am opposed We welcome a sea right in keep some kind of journal about what what's happening on a right and done Finally, one last choice which of these eight discs, would you choose to save I'm going to tell the customer goal or new england cause? I just love it when it reminds me of home. in the red moments where I will let myself think about england when I'm on this does island. I think that would probably bring me back more than a field teams. We banks. Thank you very much for letting us here your debts and discs. Thank you from the pleasure the! I love talking to James history,
in what he does and where he lives shines through in everything. He says reminds me of many happy holidays in the lake district. When I was little over the years, several farmers and people who are focused on the land being cast away, the founder of river foot, I sing watson, the ceo of the soil association, Helen browning and the vet and writer, whose books inspired the tv series, all creatures, great and small, James herriot you'll, have heard james refer to the legendary writer and illustrator of the pictorial guides to the lakeland fells, Alfred wainwright. He was in his eighties when sue lawley cast him away in nineteen. Eighty, nine alfred wasn't happy traveling far from his home, so the interview took place in manchester and only on the condition that he could visit Harry ramsden, sufficient chip restaurant near leeds afterwards or eighty one years old. Now do you still walk a lot? No,
no, no, unfortunately, my eyes have gotten hit in the last two or three years, and I mean I always counsel people to watch where they're putting their feet on the tour of mountain tracks. Now the last time that I did a fellow walk, it was a pouring white terrier. I was stumbling and slipping all over the place and it wasn't because my glasses was misted. It was because I couldn't see or output methane and that's the last time I did fell on the mountains.
Wept tears for me that day never stop raining. Luckily, I haven't been more engaged in writing than than walking and while you'll be able to sit on the desert island, MR wainwright, and and go for all these walks in your head, because you know them all say well, have you ever been abroad by the way? No I've never been on the ship or an aeroplan. I hate going south from KEN or no ambition to travel abroad, couldn't finish the the customs and the new currents and foreign language and the foreign food and passport, where you're going to face none of that and being cast away cause. We plonk you directly onto the desert island to see and you will sit there in the tropical sunshine.
is that a wage would be unable to look after me. Nobody, because I can't look after myself. I've always been well looked after, but be chip shops on the island, nope no well not be dead in a month. Malnutrition, Alfred Wainwright, asking some important questions and speaking to sue lawley and the whole program really is worth listening to. Of course, he can also hear james's hero. Jarvis cocker in the desert island discs back catalogue to next week. I'm casting away the poet wendy cope, do join us, then the hello I'm test, alias and I'm here to tell you about my podcast tez talks and make you laugh cry and even question. The cultural choices you have historically made you can subscribe to test talks on BBC sounds
Transcript generated on 2022-06-12.