2 MAY 1931, Page 14


On the often discussed question, which is the loveliest district in England, I have more than once put in a claim for the Teme valley near the junction of Worcestershire and Shropshire. Teme is my Tempe. A neighbouring valley, the valley of the Rea, has now found a more interesting advocate. A soldier, gassed and wounded in the War, has saved health and happiness by fulfilling the strenuous work of postman round about Cleobury Mortimer ; and with his own zest and freshness, and a poetic impulse suggestive of Clare, has written a little book—with some verse between the prose—all about the district. He has the gift of using names with Miltonic emphasis : "All night I walked about the Hill From Abdon's Crown to Dudliek Mill."

and describes native characters even better than the country. Though the book has faults—too much quotation is one— Round about the Crooked Steeple, a Shropshire harvest, by Simon Evans, a Shropshire postman (Heath Cranton, 3s. fid.), has a fidelity and a gusto that are worth much more than literary perfection.