Books

Home to Roost – Tessa Hainsworth

I had my doubts as to whether Tessa Hainsworth could actually get a third book out of her exploits as the local postie in a Cornish village and its surrounding areas. She has and actually she has done it with the wonderful style and descriptive quality of her previous two.

Known as the Posh Postie, Tessa is very much part of the village now and the locals although they know she has been there a mere three years, she is certainly more like one of them than some of the more recent folk from up country (anyone from anywhere apart from Cornwall).

In this book, Tessa’s closet friend Annie has certainly embraced life in a Cornish village since moving from London, but it looks like she might have to move again away from Tessa and start a whole new life. There are some new residents and neighbours for Tessa to get to know, Kate and  Leon who are wanting to escape the rat race and retire (despite being in their forties much to Tessa’s chagrin). It looks like there will be more friendly faces and more people to get involved in the local community. Suddenly Tessa realises that perhaps not everyone can settle into life down there and get as involved and dirty in some cases with what is going on. They are trying to find a paradise that only exists in their minds and not embracing what is actually out there to experience. It is at this point that Tessa really does feel like she belongs.

Trees that are in danger of collapsing but have rooks in cause problem for a local couple, the cry of the peacock is a nuisance but it seems someone wants rid of the noise completely, blossoming love between locals shows that it is never too late to find love. It can sometimes be the knowledge of a postie to bring these people together – knowing what their likes and dislikes are. The locals look out for each other, their parents did and now they are, but sometimes it becomes too much and it has to have intervention from an outsider which brought a few tears to my eye when they were trying to help one resident. Through all these comings and goings, Tessa tries to keep delivering the mail throughout all seasons and all weathers which it seems Cornwall has an abundance of, She is even starting to think like a local and predict from nature exactly what the weather is going to do.

But Tessa is not shy in explaining that it is not all a bed of roses, changing your lifestyle completely, they do struggle as a family to make ends meet and are always looking for ways to make extra money. Or simply using the barter principle of sharing produce and baked goods in return for something that they don’t have. When Tessa thinks renting her house out for the summer could be a viable option, the rental agency promptly give a shopping list of what would be required to succeed. Perhaps there could be a less expensive and more friendlier option?

Through a year, throughout the seasons, Tessa shares her love of the landscape, the weather and the animals and birds of the area and the importance of actually appreciating these seemingly small things in life to give you a much richer existence. This is a book which brings the reality of downsizing from city to country to the forefront and if you only want to dream about doing such a thing then this and her other novels are for you.

If I had a dream ideal life it would be to live in a village which was community minded and be part of it. Experiencing it whilst fitting in work as Tessa does in her books as the bit you have to do – and it does not feel like work. I am sure these books have been ‘fictionalised’ and no matter if they have. They create a world you wished you lived in and were part of just as Gervase Phinn does with his Dale series of novels. 

I will be intrigued to see if there is another book but if there is not then no matter – they are reads you could come back to when you needed that lift. 

What does intrigue me fellow reader is the fact that this book is found in the travel section of my local Waterstones? To me it should be in the autobiography section surely?

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