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A Cow in My Parlour
By Peggy Grayson

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A Cow in My Parlour
By Peggy Grayson
ISIS Large Print, (2002)
ISBN: 0-7531-9774-X
Genre: Autobiography, British Farm Life

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - December 24, 2002

The sequel to Buttercup Jill, A Cow in My Parlour is Peggy Grayson's reminiscences on her life as a farm wife, married to, of all people, an actor!

During World War II, Grayson served in the Women's Land Army, and rather than dissuade her from a life on the land, her service reinforced her notion that she was meant to be a farmer. Her choice of husband, however, would almost seem as if she sacrificed her dream for love. Yet love conquered all in the end as she converted her husband to the farming life.

This book chronicles the first years of their marriage when her husband was still actively engaged in theater life. And it examines how Grayson managed to make ends meet by raising show dogs and taking on numerous odd farming jobs. Grayson speaks about her life in a friendly manner, confiding all her joys and sorrows to the reader.

Despite a plague of mice, spiders, finicky cars, hard times, and an odd variety of living accommodations, the Graysons' thrived. And little by little her husband came to spend more and more time working on the land, until at last he made the momentous decision to give up the theater to farm full-time. According to Grayson, once the decision was made, he took to the life of a farmer with ease and without regret.

Through the pages of this book, Grayson provides a glimpse at the various farms that they worked on, and what farming life was like in England after the war. Grayson admits that had it not been for her husband's military service during the war, it would have been much harder for a 'converted' actor to get the farms jobs he did. As events turned out, many ex-servicemen hired him simply because he was an ex-serviceman, rather than hiring him for his farming resume. In the end few, if any, of his employers found cause to complain as he had a natural talent for his new line of work.

A Cow in My Parlour will delight readers both for its historical significance, and for its shear entertainment value. To 'city folk', Grayson will seem to have had a special knack for getting into odd situations, and you may imagine that you might have exaggerated some of her many adventures. But those acquainted with farm life will know that chasing cows and raising orphaned livestock in the kitchen is a common occurrence, and that the events chronicled by Grayson are simply part of the fun that comes from making a living off the land. In short, anything can happen and usually does. When farming, there is seldom a dull moment - as you will learn from Grayson's amusing account! Humourous and pragmatic, Grayson's writing is animated and offers the reader an incomparable glimpse at an unusual farm family, and the changing state of farm life in England after World War II.

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