Our farm is a haven for lost souls

Laikipia He was turned out in a crisp bush ranger’s uniform and handled his assault rifle like a man hardened in the field for years to take on bandits and elephant poachers. ‘Ah Mario, what a pleasure it is to meet you again after all this time,’ I said. His severe military face collapsed into a beaming smile as he snapped to attention and slope-armed his weapon. He then relaxed and we chatted for a while on the roadside in our farming district, where I’ve been around so long now that I frequently encounter people whom I’ve known all their lives. Some, like Mario, even have a few wrinkles, greying

Sport, for the English, has always been a defiant assertion of liberty

The English cannot be understood without some appreciation of their attachment to their games, and yet this is an area of their story often overlooked by historians. Or perhaps it is simply considered beneath their interest. This is the central message of Robert Colls’s superb account of England viewed through the medium of its sports and pastimes. Sport is ‘woven into almost everything else we do’ and it is about something much larger than merely chasing or hitting a ball, for it is bound up with playing the game, enjoying the land, sensing the liberty, respecting contestation, valuing home, showing a bit of heart, recognising it in others, knowing that