One Fine Day: A Journey Through English Time (Paperback)

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A time-travelling, genealogical adventure, bringing pre-industrial, rural, eighteenth-century England vividly to life on the page.

One day Ian Marchant, acclaimed author of books on music, railways and pubs, decided, as all men of a certain age must, to have a dig around his family history. Surprisingly quickly, a web search informed him that his seven-times-great great-grandfather, Thomas Marchant had left a detailed diary from 1714 to 1728. So far, so jolly ...

Life-loving diarist Thom - who liked a drink and a game of cards - feels recognisably Marchant to Ian. With fascinating detail we learn about Thom's family farm and fishponds; about dung, horses and mud; about beer, the wife's nights out, his own job troubles and their shared worries for their children. But as Ian digs deeper beyond the Sussex diary's bucolic portrait he discovers a subtext - a family descended from immigrants, with anti-establishment politics, who are struggling with illness, political instability and cash crises - just as their country does three centuries on.

'When I was reflecting late one January evening on the differences between Thom and me, I realised the unbridgeable thing that comes between us is industrialisation. He lived right at its beginning, while I am living somewhere towards its end. Old Thom Marchant was one of the last people before industrialisation to understand how his world worked - and how to be largely self-sufficient in it. He knew where his food came from, his fuel, his water, his clothes. He knew how the welfare system worked, and was part of its administration; he knew who looked after the roads, too. He collected taxes. He was not separate from the system, but part of it.'

Rich with immersive detail, One Fine Day draws a living portrait of Marchant family life in the 1720s and how their England (rainy, muddy, politically turbulent, illness-ridden) became the England of the 2020s.

'Elegiac, consistently funny, deeply moving.' - Richard Beard

'Ian Marchant is one of England's most original writers. One Fine Day is a masterwork.' - Monique Roffey

About the Author

Ian Marchant has worked for twenty-five years as a writer, broadcaster and performer. His non-fiction books include Parallel Lines, The Longest Crawl and A Hero for High Times, which was long-listed for the Gordon Burn Prize. Ian has presented numerous broadcasts for Radio 3 and Radio 4, in particular on psycho-geography and contemporary rural affairs. He is an intermittent presenter on Radio's long-running Open Country, and a regular diarist for the Church Times. He has written for the Guardian, the Observer, the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times. He has made numerous appearances as a guest speaker, compere, quizmaster and lounge singer, and is also a creative writing tutor and guest speaker for the Arvon Foundation. He lives in Presteigne with his family.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781914613555
ISBN-10: 1914613554
Publisher: September Publishing
Publication Date: July 9th, 2024
Pages: 352
Language: English