Practical Country Living, by Guy N. Smith, is a somewhat dated, but still interestingly relevant book, given to me by my Father-in-Law a couple of weeks ago. It was published in 1988, a good year - being the year I became a 'man' (meaning I turned 18 and nothing to do with my first sexual encounter or anything).
It covers much ground (literally!), beginning with finding the right place - although this advice was given once the horse had bolted, in my case. It gives a realistic, warts-and-all picture of life on a Smallholding - kind of Back to Life, Back to Reality.
It does this in a refreshingly matter-of-fact way and Guy has a "this is how we do it, but it might not be the way you want to, and that's fine" approach. One thing, I found affirming was the taking on of other work to supplement the 'farm' income. He did this by setting up a mail order business - selling second-hand books - so this sits well with me carrying on (in some small capacity) with the graphic design; at least for a while. He speaks of a happy medium, which is what I hope to strike:
"But out in the few wild places remaining in Britain a handful of those pioneers remained, eeking out a living of some kind, perhaps aided by a subsidiary income.
Total self-sufficiency is a near impossibility, one can merely hope to strike a happy medium which is where many of those who did not 'make it' failed. A compromise, the best of both worlds, is the answer - if you can find it!"
The only thing I found a little negative, whilst reading it, was his sometimes too bleak a picture of if, and when, it went wrong. I know this is part and parcel of the journey and the risk being taken; but you want to be inspired to give it a go and not be scared off - like a Flock of Seagulls. If you were less of a 'dreamer' and more of a realist, it may put you off of even trying, within the earlier stages of the book.
I was expecting to have to tell you it was too old and tricky to get hold of a copy, if you so wish; but it appears Guy has a web site and is still doing his 'thing'. It can be found at the link below. Also, the book can be purchased on Amazon, again, link below.
So, if you no longer want to be a Material Girl, and want to make sure Heaven is a Place on Earth, check it out.
Guy N. Smith's web site
Amazon Page to purchase the book