I interviewed both born-and-bred locals and incomers, whether they had moved from neighbouring Carlton Husthwaite or distant Calcutta. I chatted to a number of farmers, the headteacher, the vicar, the retired doctor, the village's last shopkeeper and the many commuting professionals who have made Husthwaite their home, from a climate change expert to a retired BBC sound engineer (who is highly valued during panto season!)
Between them, they have witnessed a tsunami of change over the decades that has taken Husthwaite from a traditional agricultural village to a diverse and dynamic community where farmers rub shoulders with financial advisors and sheep graze next door to alpacas.
Farmers who were once encouraged to grub-out hedgerows and liberally spray their fields are now being urged to replant borders and ease up on the agri-chemicals. Others are taking exciting opportunities to diversify, with Husthwaite's glamping site and alpaca farm being particularly popular with visitors.
In schools we have moved from the days when teachers knocked their kids about with fists, slippers and sticks to today's centrally controlled curriculum and creative systems of encouragement, motivation and reward.
We reminisce with Husthwaite's retired doctor of his days carrying drugs in his car boot and getting the milkman to deliver prescriptions. We share the modern-day struggles of the church to attract worshippers and the agony of the local shopkeeper as she is forced to put up the closed sign forever.
Husthwaite – in common with villages across the land – has been transformed by the passage of time and by a massive population shift. Yet this has always been a lively community and its modern incarnation has transformed the local traditions with energy and respect.
The book is available from Richard Wood
Price £7 (please add £3 for p + p)
Or call at Falcon Cottage in the village