Shoestring Warrior ┐
About the book
History of Longwood
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Longwood Then and Now
Making Cob
Map of Longwood



Inspirational Books

About the Book

Shoestring Warrior is the true story of two people struggling to make a new life for themselves in an isolated place; a tale of hope, courage and love.
Part autobiographical, part inspirational, it is about building, local history, farming, nature, love and hate, heroism and failure.
Joe and Lynda’s business had failed and they were in a financial crisis. They happened to see an advertisement for a dilapidated farmhouse with 35 acres of land in deepest Devon. They even had to borrow a car to go and view it. They must have been mad, but once they clapped eyes on it they knew they had to save it. Given their circumstances, they knew it would be a battle to even survive but they had no idea that they would have to defend the house against the very authorities charged with protecting the countryside.

Famine - Well below the official poverty level, they wrote enthusiastically about everyday life in primitive splendour in a £450 caravan without electricity, water or plumbing. The Rayburn and chainsaw were the mainstays of their existence. But they had feasts during the famines.

Floods – A quarter of a mile down muddy fields, the tractor and car got stuck and even the quad bike failed them. When they finally chiselled out a drive, it absorbed twice the predicted time and money. Everything was wet nearly all the time and even the caravan leaked. But they learned to float.

Green fields – The land inaccessible, the fields had never been ‘enhanced’, the hedges mediaeval, the woodland ancient. Over-run with frogs and toads, they had badger, fallow and roe deer, hedgehogs, otter, wild mink, and the fox. Fly agaric, yellow brain fungi, southern marsh orchids, green hellebores, purple orchids, bluebells. They had tawny owls, pheasant, grey partridge, snipe, nuthatches, woodpeckers, goldfinch, moorhen, Canada geese, mallards and a family of buzzards. The rare culm grassland supported a host of mice and short tailed voles, the preferred diet of their most illustrious inhabitants, a pair of breeding barn owls living in the void between the centuries-old thatched roof and its rusty corrugated iron hat.

Grey suits – The grey suits had put them out of business, the grey suits that tried to undermine their every effort to make their new countryside venture work. The greyest of all was the borough council, hiding behind a planning policy that stubbornly refused to protect a humble, centuries old unlisted house from death. There were cover-ups, threats of eviction, demolition and fines and in the ensuing two and a half years they lost a lot and very nearly lost each other.





Shoestring Warrior by Lynda Franklin
ISBN 9780954877811
Paperback, 207 pages, 16 full-colour plates, black and white sketches throughout
Published by Wunjo Press, printed by Friary Press, Dorchester
First published November 2005, © 2005 Wunjo Press
£15.00 including UK postage
Cover design by Richard Budd, Lionheart Graphics, Dorchester




Lynda Franklin has a very natural and highly appealing writing style which is a great asset to her work.  Indeed, something of her personality is portrayed not only in what she says but in the way she says it also.  She is an intelligent and spirited individual who is able to make the most of situations even the hardiest of us would find difficult and whose mood changes frequently, which is reflected in the changing mood and tone of her writing.
The changing mood also serves to retain the interest of the reader who is never quite sure what is coming next, what challenges Lynda and Joe will face and whether or not they will be overcome but somehow the reader is keen for their dream to be realised. 
Much thought has been given as to the best way in which to structure and format the material.  Shoestring Warrior is laid out in a logical and coherent manner which is most effective and contributes to the success of the book as a whole.  Each chapter pertains to a specific aspect of her life at this time and seems to contribute a different pearl of wisdom to the reader.  The clever way in which the book is structured hints of the time taken up by planning it.  Lynda's diaries must have been of inestimable aid to her when composing her memoir and it is probably because of them that she is able to recreate her feelings so well.
As well as being a challenging and stimulating read, Shoestring Warrior is also imbued with a substantial amount of humour.  The benefits of this are manifold - light relief is certainly provided by witty anecdotes; a stronger bond is forged with the reader because of the entertainment value therein and the humour contributes to changes in mood and tone.  Yet the amusing elements in the text make you feel that there is always something to make you smile, no matter how bleak things may seem.
Ms Franklin's story is one which is well worth the telling.  It is also a very challenging text and by telling the reader all about the conditions in the caravan she encourages the reader to delve into his own psyche and ask himself whether he too would survive in these circumstances.