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Bibliographical Information
Crossing Borders - 21 Inspirational Women Share Their Stories
Julia Gregson
ISBN: 9781909823082 (1909823082)Publication Date March 2014
Publisher: Graffeg, Cardiff
Illustrated by Alex PownallFormat: Paperback, 250x200 mm, 176 pages Language: English Available Our Price: £10.00 
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Author Julia Gregson and photographer Alex Pownall explore the unique environment of the Wye Valley and the remarkable number of talented women who call it home. With 21 women featured, many of whom have received world-wide recognition in their field, this is a truly exceptional record of talent and achievement.

Cyfrol hardd mewn lliw llawn yn cyflwyno hanesion difyr un ar hugain o wragedd talentog sy'n galw Dyffryn Gwy yn gartref iddynt, ond sydd wedi derbyn clod rhyngwladol am eu doniau a'u llwyddiannau mewn meysydd amrywiol.
Crossing Borders is a fascinating look at the daily lives of twenty-one interesting and accomplished women, who all happen to live on the Welsh-English border near the river Wye. Among others, we meet novelists, gardeners, a circus owner, potters, painters, an athlete and a barrister.

The book was conceived and produced by author Julia Gregson and photographer Alex Pownall, both of whom live in the Wye Valley. The pair originally set out to discover and, in their words, ‘report on the lives of twenty-one women’, and what they found was a group of women whose lives and routines were highly diverse and yet who all seemed to be strongly influenced by the countryside around them.

Reading the book is rather like going for a cup of tea in each home and peering into the daily lives of a large group of motivated and productive women, who also find time to give back to, and get involved in, their local communities.

What I enjoyed most about the book is the diversity in these women’s routines. The message seems to be that you should find what makes you happy, embrace it and believe in yourself. There is no timetable or magic formula apart from enthusiasm, enjoyment and application. We meet Anne Wareham, a landscape gardener and writer who ‘hates planting bulbs’ and stays in bed until midday because it’s a good place to deal with daily admin. Anne admits, ‘I still don’t know why in the hell I do the gardening’, and yet her garden at Veddw House, which is open weekly to the public, ‘has twenty-five distinct areas including a magnolia walk, a hosta walk and a woodland walk’.

Other women we meet rise at 4 or 6.30 a.m. and may spend hours practising their art (harpist Anna Stone) or training for their sport (paralympic sprinter Jenny McLoughlin), but what unifies them seems to be that they are all working hard at something at which they are uniquely talented. Painter Jean Miller didn’t start painting until she was 68 and now paints seven days a week, as well as exhibiting and selling her work.

Many of the women walk, run or horse-ride daily in the Wye Valley and are inspired and supported by the beautiful landscape around them. Textile artist and writer Ineke Berlyn has incorporated the red kites she saw at Rhaeadr into her beautiful colour quilts, and has succeeded in living in a carbon-neutral way, generating more energy than she consumes.

You can’t help coming away from reading this book with a renewed sense of what great things are possible if you stay positive, apply your natural talent and do what you love.

Caroline Stockford

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Table of Contents:
Catherine King - Mezzo Soprano Sally Bailey - Baileys Home Jean Miller - Painter Hannah Stone - Royal Harpist Venetia Williams - Racehorse Trainer Marian Voyce - Butcher Annica Neumuller - Abstract Painter Glenda Stoneman - Alpaca Breeder Angharad Davies - Barrister Anne Wareham - Landscape Gardener & Writer Nell Gifford - Circus Owner Caroline Peters - Chief Superintendent Andrea McLean - Mapping Artist Revel Guest - Film Director & Chair of Hay Festival Kate Beavan - Farmer & Rural Skills Teacher Ineke Berlyn - Textile Artist & Writer Elizabeth Haycox - Richard Booth's Bookshop, Cafe & Cinema Jenny McLoughlin - Paralympic Sprinter Bettina Reeves - Stage Designer & Puppet Maker Tiffany Murray - Novelist & Lecturer Mary Rose Young - Ceramicist & Potter
Further Information:
Best selling author Julia Gregson explores the unique environment of the Wye Valley and the remarkable number of talented women who call it home. In a picture-led celebration of diversity and achievement, Crossing Borders features a combination of 'day in the life...' reportage and biographical commentary, all brought to life through the photography of Alex Pownall. With 21 women featured, many of whom have received world-wide recognition in their field, this is a truly exceptional record of talent and achievement.
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