Hay-on-Wye is world famous as the Town of Books. But when travel writer Oliver Balch moved there, it was not just the books he was keen to read, but the people too.
After living in London and Buenos Aires, what will he make of this tiny, quirky town on the Welsh-English border? To help guide him, he turns to Francis Kilvert, a Victorian diarist who captured the bucolic rural life of his day. Does anything of Kilvert’s world still exists? And could a newcomer ever feel they truly belong?
With empathy and humour, Balch joins in the daily routines and lives of his fellow residents. What emerges is a captivating, personal picture of country life in the 21st century. Some things haven’t altered for centuries, while others are changing at an alarming pace.
Written with his trademark vivid, reportage style, Balch’s journey sees him meet with a king and his courtiers, publicans, hippies, mayors, old widows and young farmers.
In an increasingly mobile, urban world, Under the Tump is a timely, honest account of Balch’s attempt to put down roots in a community not yet his own.