From a shaky start to life – born in the village of Arthursdale near Leeds in 1934 to a single mother, his father’s name never even mentioned – Frank ‘Hamish’ Pedley is determined to make his way in a world recovering from the ravages of war. With the support of his beloved grandparents and the benefit of a grammar school education, he completes his training to be an army officer at Sandhurst, and is finally in a position to win the heart of his teenage crush, Ruth Addy.
Truly a couple of the twentieth century, Frank and Ruth Pedley experience the highs and lows of the military lifestyle, with prolonged postings in Germany and Malaya, and Frank rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, choosing to end his career back home in their native Yorkshire.
Now with three talented sons in tow, Frank and Ruth buy up and restore a rambling seventeenth-century property, Old Hall, in the heart of the stunning Yorkshire Dales, which becomes the setting for many a joyous family get-together. And now that they have the space, the couple – especially Ruth – become passionate breeders of the rare Wensleydale Longwool sheep, an interest that absorbs them in their later years and sees them taking desperate measures to ward off foot and mouth disease when it decimates the UK sheep population in 2001.
But time inevitably takes its toll and, sadly, as they are both to discover, nothing lasts for ever?
These are Frank’s poignant and nostalgic memoirs, set within world events, and constructed from the diary that he kept over the years, as well as from letters, family emails and other unique documents.