The Secret life of cows

Author: Rosamund Young

I was sent this joy as part of a Willoughby Book subscription. It’s not something I would have chosen for myself – which was the aim of having a subscription, to widen my reading – but I’ve already bought several copies for friends since reading and enjoying it so much. Published by Faber & Faber, it documents the delightful observations Rosamund has made of the cattle (and other animals) who roam free on Kite’s Nest Farm, which she runs with her family.

Kite’s Nest Farm sounds like a little slice of nature heaven and the love and care Rosamund, and her family, have for the farm animals and wildlife is abundant on every page of this gem. It was a joyous window into the ethos, vision and values behind their family-run farm and a wonderful, thought-provoking insight into the lives and inner thoughts of cows. (Something I had never really considered but have pondered on much since reading.)

Through her carefully chosen words, anecdotes and interpretations Rosamund shares generations of knowledge and empathy with cows – giving these seemingly passive and innocuous creatures great personality, vibrance and depth. I’m unable to walk past a field now without stopping, watching and wondering.

I don’t have a particular interest in farming or cows or the countryside but did particularly enjoy this book. It was an interesting read. There are funny stories that made me laugh; snippets of information that made me think; pockets of intimacy that touched my emotions and curious observations that fascinated. I found myself reflecting and pondering on its contents and themes long after I had finished – always a good sign. There is also a subtle ‘call to arms’ that floats across the pages and weaves between the words – it made me question my relationship with nature, impact on the environment and choices I make in daily life. Particularly relevant given current issues facing our planet and society.

A short, enjoyable and completely non-threatening read that would make a valuable and light edition to anyone’s bookshelf. It will be a popular stocking filler for me this Christmas.


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