James Herriot

All Creatures Great and Small

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The true stories of a veterinarian in the English countryside—and the people and animals he met along the way—from a #1 New York Times–bestselling author.   In the rolling dales of Yorkshire, a simple, rural region of northern England, a young veterinarian from Sunderland joins a new practice. A stranger in a strange land, he must quickly learn the odd dialect and humorous ways of the locals, master outdated equipment, and do his best to mend, treat, and heal pets and livestock alike. This witty and heartwarming collection, based on the author’s own experiences, became an international success, spawning sequels and winning over animal lovers everywhere. Perhaps better than any other writer, James Herriot reveals the ties that bind us to the creatures in our lives.
This book is currently unavailable
612 printed pages
Original publication
2011

Impressions

    Yuliyashared an impression3 years ago
    👍Worth reading
    🔮Hidden Depths
    🎯Worthwhile
    🚀Unputdownable
    😄LOLZ
    🐼Fluffy

Quotes

    Dariahas quoted2 months ago
    I was beginning to learn about the farmers and what I found I liked. They had a toughness and a philosophical attitude which was new to me. Misfortunes which would make the city dweller want to bang his head against a wall were shrugged off with “Aye, well, these things happen.”
    allsafehas quoted2 years ago
    I particularly enjoyed, too, our very first morning when I took Helen to do the test at Allen’s. As I got out of the car I could see Mrs. Allen peeping round the curtains in the kitchen window. She was soon out in the yard and her eyes popped when I brought my bride over to her. Helen was one of the pioneers of slacks in the Dales and she was wearing a bright purple pair this morning which would in modern parlance knock your eye out. The farmer’s wife was partly shocked, partly fascinated but she soon found that Helen was of the same stock as herself and within seconds the two women were chattering busily. I judged from Mrs. Allen’s vigorous head-nodding and her ever widening smile that Helen was putting her out of her pain by explaining all the circumstances. It took a long time and finally Mr. Allen had to break into the conversation.

    “If we’re goin’ we’ll have to go,” he said gruffly and we set off to start the second day of the test.

    We began on a sunny hillside where a group of young animals had been penned. Jack and Robbie plunged in among the beasts while Mr. Allen took off his cap and courteously dusted the top of the wall.

    “Your missus can sit ’ere,” he said.

    I paused as I was about to start measuring. My missus! It was the first time anybody had said that to me. I looked over at Helen as she sat cross-legged on the rough stones, her notebook on her knee, pencil at the ready, and as she pushed back the shining dark hair from her forehead she caught my eye and smiled; and as I smiled back at her I became aware suddenly of the vast, swelling glory of the Dales around us, and of the Dales scent of clover and warm grass, more intoxicating than any wine. And it seemed that my first two years at Darrowby had been leading up to this moment; that the first big step of my life was being completed right here with Helen smiling at me and the memory, fresh in my mind, of my new plate hanging in front of Skeldale House.

    I might have stood there indefinitely, in a sort of trance, but Mr. Allen cleared his throat in a marked manner and I turned back to the job in hand.

    “Right,” I said, placing my callipers against the beast’s neck. “Number thirty-eight, seven millimetres and circumscribed,” I called out to Helen. “Number thirty-eight, seven, C.”

    “Thirty-eight, seven, C,” my wife repeated as she bent over her book and started to write.
    allsafehas quoted2 years ago
    So I drove out of Darrowby with a feeling of swelling pride because I knew what the plate meant—I was a partner, a man with a real place in the world. The thought made me slightly breathless. In fact we were both a little dizzy and we cruised for hours around the countryside, getting out when we felt like it, walking among the hills, taking no account of time. It must have been nine o’clock in the evening and darkness coming in fast when we realised we had gone far out of our way.

    We had to drive ten miles over a desolate moor on the fell top and it was very dark when we rattled down the steep, narrow road into Ellerthorpe. The Wheat Sheaf was an unostentatious part of the single long village street, a low grey stone building with no light over the door, and as we went into the slightly musty-smelling hallway the gentle clink of glasses came from the public bar on our left. Mrs. Burn, the elderly widow who owned the place, appeared from a back room and scrutinised us unemotionally.

    “We’ve met before, Mrs. Burn,” I said and she nodded. I apologised for our lateness and was wondering whether I dare ask for a few sandwiches at this time of night when the old lady spoke up, quite unperturbed.

    “Nay,” she said, “it’s all right. We’ve been expecting you and your supper’s waiting.” She led us to the dining-room where her niece, Beryl, served a hot meal in no time. Thick lentil soup, followed by what would probably be called a goulash these days but which was in fact simply a delicious stew with mushrooms and vegetables obviously concocted by a culinary genius. We had to say no to the gooseberry pie and cream.

    It was like that all the time at the Wheat Sheaf. The whole place was aggressively unfashionable; needing a lick of paint, crammed with hideous Victorian furniture, but it was easy to see how it had won its reputation. It didn’t have stylish guests, but fat, comfortable men from the industrial West Riding brought their wives at the weekends and did a bit of fishing or just took in the incomparable air between the meal times, which were the big moments of the day. There was only one guest while we were there and he was a permanent one—a retired draper from Darlington who was always at the table in good time, a huge white napkin tucked under his chin, his eyes gleaming as he watched Beryl bring in the food.

    But it wasn’t just the home-fed ham, the Wensleydale cheese, the succulent steak and kidney pies, the bilberry tarts and mountainous Yorkshire puddings which captivated Helen and me. There was a peace, a sleepy insinuating charm about the old pub which we always recall with happiness.

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