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janis_and_c0
04-23-2011, 09:34 PM
James Herriot and his "little cat-and-dog stories (http://www.jamesherriot.org/but-it-did-happen-to-a-vet/)" are among some of my very favorites! Anybody else?

Inner Stickler
04-23-2011, 09:35 PM
I read All Creatures Great and Small probably 20 times. I had no idea cows were so prone to prolapsed uteruses.

Hello Again
04-23-2011, 10:17 PM
I read the whole series over and over till my copies wanted to fall apart! When I was 16 I went on a hiking trip in Northern England, themed on the book (we were basically backpacking in the dales).

And I recently watched a bunch of the TV series on Netflix -- and amused my husband by recalling the diagnosis in almost every case. (The series is really good up until WWII starts. Then there are some changes in the actors - and changes in theme - that are very much for the worse)

Also I was friends with my large animal vet, and she would tell me all her Herriot-esque tales from the first year of practice. :D (especially being considered a "horse" vet or a "cow" vet. if you recall, Herriot was regarded as a "cow" vet, the horsepeople wanted Siegfried. Well apparently its vice versa as well - the cow people don't want you if they consider you a horse vet. Oy!)

penultima thule
04-23-2011, 11:36 PM
Enjoyed the books and TV series immensely. Indeed, there's five of his books on shelves within reach of where I'm sitting.

Was an interesting contrast between agriculture in the UK and Australian. The notion of calling a vet for a single sick sheep, or the vet coming out to help with a calving was a long way removed from livestock husbandry as we practiced it in the Riverina plains.

dangermom
04-23-2011, 11:45 PM
I've loved them for years, even the one where he's in the military instead of vetting animals.

PapSett
04-23-2011, 11:58 PM
Love the books! Haven't read them in years, but remember them fondly. When I was about 18 I correctly diagnosed my Yorkie getting mastitis from reading about it in one of his books.

CanvasShoes
04-24-2011, 12:25 AM
Love them! Didn't either his son or daughter pick up the torch and write one or two books of their own?

Siam Sam
04-24-2011, 12:27 AM
I'm a big James Herriot fan. I was introduced to the books through the TV series.

Chanteuse
04-24-2011, 01:06 AM
Oh, yes, I love those books! Never saw the series, though. My copies of the books are coming all to pieces, I've read them so much!

sandra_nz
04-24-2011, 01:11 AM
Oh gosh, I haven't read those books in years, I'm going to have to dig them out and read them again!

maggenpye
04-24-2011, 01:22 AM
Just finished re-reading one a few weeks ago. Perennial family favourites. Just yesterday I was hooking the kid back into the series by reminding her that Peter Davison was both Tristan Farnon and the fifth Doctor Who.

Khadaji
04-24-2011, 05:45 AM
I read the series when I was in high school and have very fond memories of them. A few years back I listened to All Creatures Great And Small while doing my workout and found that I still enjoyed the stories.

mutantmoose
04-24-2011, 06:13 AM
The TV series had a great theme tune

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDU0B-ByBpk

janis_and_c0
04-24-2011, 08:50 AM
Love them! Didn't either his son or daughter pick up the torch and write one or two books of their own?

Jimmy (his son) wrote a very good Biography of his Dad, The Real James Herriot (http://www.amazon.com/Real-James-Herriot-Memoir-Father/dp/0345434900).

janis_and_c0
04-24-2011, 08:53 AM
I read All Creatures Great and Small probably 20 times. I had no idea cows were so prone to prolapsed uteruses.

The thought of Siegfried trying to "stuff a cow's uterus up it's rectum" for half the morning, (What bothered him was that he nearly succeeded) I don't know whether to barf or laugh !

drpepper
04-24-2011, 09:18 AM
Loved loved loved the books, and loved loved loved the series.

I thought Roberty Hardy-as-Siegfried's acting in the series was absolutely brilliant.

PunditLisa
04-24-2011, 10:18 AM
I've read the book and his son's biography. Love them.

I'm still a bit disappointed that the stories weren't entirely non-fiction but were embellished and/or recounts of stories that Wight heard from other people.

Novelty Bobble
04-24-2011, 11:52 AM
I actually come from the area just north of Wight's practice and from a hill-farming family so I always loved the fact that his characters were so familiar to me.

I know and love the Yorkshire habit of underselling everything. A howling gale with horizontal freezing sleet would "a plain day". Scorching hot with blue skies and gentle breeze would be "a bonny enough day".
I recall asking one of my uncles about the well-being of one of his brothers. "aye, he's moderate" he said. Meaning that he had terminal cancer and would barely last the night.

Zsofia
04-24-2011, 12:51 PM
I love the books, but the boyfriend and I are absolutely head over heels for the show - we're stretching it out to make it last. I wish they'd gotten Robert Hardy for Doctor Who, though - I love Peter Davison, but wouldn't that have been awesome? He showed up on Foyle's War once and it really threw us for a loop, because there's that weird time shift with the series (filmed in the 70's about the 30's) that makes us shocked to realize those people are, you know, older now.

Brynda
04-24-2011, 01:53 PM
I think I married my late husband because of James Herriot. He mentioned he had a Yorkshire accent and it was all over. <Swoon> I think I read the books at a very formative time. :)

His surgery and house have been turned into a lovely museum.

CanvasShoes
04-24-2011, 04:05 PM
Jimmy (his son) wrote a very good Biography of his Dad, The Real James Herriot (http://www.amazon.com/Real-James-Herriot-Memoir-Father/dp/0345434900).

Ooohh, I think I know my next ebook purchase, thanks!

:)

maggenpye
04-24-2011, 05:07 PM
Ooohh, I think I know my next ebook purchase, thanks!

:) we're due for a library visit today, and it's available!

janis_and_c0
04-24-2011, 05:12 PM
we're due for a library visit today, and it's available!

My work here is done! :)

limegreen
04-24-2011, 05:21 PM
I read all the books endlessly as a teenager, and loved the tv series. I was horse-mad, as are lots of girls that age, and spent all kinds of hours in the barn with the cows and horses. I wanted to be a vet, but a sixth-grade teacher told me I was too stupid to be a vet, as I would never get the math needed. So I've become the person everyone brings the injured/orphaned animal to, as I teach science.

SeldomSeen
04-24-2011, 06:28 PM
I read all his books as a teenager, when they were first published and liked them immensely. Also have the coffee-table picture book, James Herriot's Yorkshire which pictures many of the places he wrote about and makes an excellent addendum to the others. Several years ago I ran across The Real James Herriot and read it avidly. The son did not have his father's gift for engaging prose, but he had a good story to tell and told it straightforewardly.

Among the more interesting content of the biography was some good insights into the character of Seigfried (whose real name was Donald Sinclair). His portrayal in the first book (All Creatures Great & Small) offended him and for a time threatened his friendship with the author. Herriot toned down the Seigfried character in the sequels out of consideration for his friend and partner. The odd thing was, the man really was such a thoroughgoing eccentric that many people thought his portrayal was too mild. In The Real James Herriot, Wight Jr. tells of some of Sinclair's real-life episodes and they are....interesting, to say the least.

Nawth Chucka
04-24-2011, 08:12 PM
My mom got me hooked on his books and I had the hymn, 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' in my wedding as a nod to her and them.

a35362
04-24-2011, 08:59 PM
Sinclair was apparently a real cheapskate. Wight didn't make any money until he started publishing. One of his colleagues was shocked to find how little Wight was making as a vet -- Sinclair hardly ever gave him a raise, and Wight had little concern for money and no head for business and never pursued the matter, I guess.

If the family dynamic between the Sinclair brothers was anything like what was portrayed in the books, I would want to steer away from that.

Robert Hardy is something like 25 years older than Peter Davison! He just looks really young and ages very slowly.

I remember when Peter Davison took over as Doctor Who, I thought, "That idiot Tristan?" From the commentary track, though, he is NOTHING like Tristan -- quite shy and self-deprecating.

I am quite sure I could help lambs be born, just from having read those books! :D

salinqmind
04-24-2011, 10:01 PM
OMG YES! Read every book, cover to cover, over and over, watched the show...I also have a collection of his stories in a big doorstop of a book. In this book are little drawings in the margins, of farm implements, horse brasses, even Yorkshire recipes...The thing I found so interesting was the development of antibiotics after WWII which changed so much about medicine, for both humans and animals. And I was surprised that, if I'm not mistaken, there was a THIRD partner that was left out of the books entirely, but maybe that would have been 'too much' and the characters were a composite (not to say embellished). The books are just a treasure, no other word for it.

a35362
04-24-2011, 10:13 PM
You don't mean Calum Buchanan, do you?

nachtmusick
04-24-2011, 10:14 PM
Great books - good TV series.

a35362
04-24-2011, 10:17 PM
I think your book is The Best of James Herriot: Favorite Memories of a Country Vet. You can get it for nothing on Amazon and yes, it is a treasure.

Zsofia
04-24-2011, 10:54 PM
My mom got me hooked on his books and I had the hymn, 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' in my wedding as a nod to her and them.
That is so sweet!

Miss Mapp
04-25-2011, 05:55 AM
If you're ever in Yorkshire, I recommend a visit to his house in Thirsk: http://www.worldofjamesherriot.org/

The downstairs is kept just as it was in the 1950s, with a cabinet full of antique vet medicines. Upstairs is a children's museum (see if you have the strength to pull a calf out of a cow!). And out back is Herriot's car and information, including sets, from the TV series.

Shirley Ujest
04-25-2011, 06:42 AM
I love his cat and dog stories.

Hello Again
04-25-2011, 09:00 AM
You don't mean Calum Buchanan, do you?

t'young vitniry wit t'badger? :D

Eleanor of Aquitaine
04-25-2011, 09:05 AM
I love these books. I've read them several times, and I've read them out loud to my family, too. That required some discussion of bovine obstetrics ("He put his arm where?") but it was worth it.

salinqmind
04-25-2011, 09:15 AM
You don't mean Calum Buchanan, do you?

Sort of. In real life, in the book "All Things Herriot" by Sanford Sternlicht I found this:

"there was a third partner to the practice: Frank Bingham, NOT mentioned in any of the five memoirs. He lived in Leyburn. Apparently the practice had a satellite surgery near sheep country in the Pennines."

He 'appeared' on the TV show in the form of another veterinarinan, Ewan Ross.

Yes, "The Best of James Herriot" is the big book I have! Gorgeous photographs of the countryside, too.

Every time we have to call our own vet, I have to resist the urge to yell, "IS THAT THE VIT'NERY?" every time they answer. :p

Miss Mapp
04-25-2011, 09:17 AM
I love these books. I've read them several times, and I've read them out loud to my family, too. That required some discussion of bovine obstetrics ("He put his arm where?") but it was worth it.

When I was watching the series with a friend some years ago, we were talking about this frequently recurring aspect of the vets' work. My friend, who had once worked on a ranch, told me, "There is no wrong time to put your arm up a cow's bottom."

Words I have always remembered and tried to live by.

Dung Beetle
04-25-2011, 10:37 AM
I read the books as a kid and still think they are among the best books Iíve read of any kind. Even then, I knew they were a little too good to be true, but I was still a bit disappointed when I read the biography to learn of the embellishments and the differences between his characters and their real-life counterparts. I swore off biographies after that! I plan to wait now until Iíve forgotten all that real-life stuff and then Iíll re-experience the books all over again.

a35362
04-25-2011, 10:56 AM
Yeah -- Helen was no Helen!

kath94
04-25-2011, 12:36 PM
My husband introduced me to the books & TV series. He's English, I'm American, and I read the books during our many years of long-distance "dating."

We watch bits of the TV series each Christmas. A great tradition.

CrazyCatLady
04-25-2011, 08:58 PM
I actually come from the area just north of Wight's practice and from a hill-farming family so I always loved the fact that his characters were so familiar to me.

I've never been anywhere near that part of the world, but all the characters are very familiar to me, too. Painfully so, in the case of some of the clients. Animals and their owners never change, I guess.

Hello Again
04-25-2011, 09:31 PM
I've never been anywhere near that part of the world, but all the characters are very familiar to me, too. Painfully so, in the case of some of the clients. Animals and their owners never change, I guess.

Ha! Ain't that the truth!

I was just reminded of The Thermometer Story (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=7343263&postcount=16) from my days working on a horse farm, in which our fresh-faced young vet haplessly/Herriotishly arrives at the farm without her thermometer and I am forced to loan her my oral, for-people, mercury thermometer -- the kind that does NOT come with a handy clip to keep it from disappearing up a horse's rear -- out of my own medicine cabinet.

The barn owner never did buy me a new thermometer, by the way.

(as some background, just before the story begins, I have been roundly kicked by a horse. Hence the icepack.)

Damfino
04-27-2011, 04:27 PM
I've loved them for years, even the one where he's in the military instead of vetting animals.
IIRC, his stories about training in the RAF all lead into stories of his veterinary practice.

I'm a big fan of his stories too, and was disappointed to find out that Siegfried and Tristan were not their real names.

My gift to my favourite teacher when I left school was "All Creatures Great and Small."

Dr. Woo
04-27-2011, 06:25 PM
Jimmy (his son) wrote a very good Biography of his Dad, The Real James Herriot (http://www.amazon.com/Real-James-Herriot-Memoir-Father/dp/0345434900).

Thank you! That's on its way to my Kindle as we speak.

I love James Herriot - read the books over and over and the stories and characters have really stuck with me. Just the other day I called the smaller of my two dogs "Tricky Woo" (no relation :D) because of her efforts to get snacks off the counter.

There's a framed image of the Yorkshire Dales at my work office and I think of James Herriot every time I see it.

No umlaut for U
04-27-2011, 06:45 PM
Put me right off veterinary school, it did!

Dung Beetle
04-27-2011, 07:41 PM
I just happened to have a Pekingese named Mr. Woo at the time I read the books, so that made the Tricki Woo chapters extra special. :)

lizardling
04-27-2011, 08:53 PM
Put me down as another Herriot lover who's right this minute downloading the Kindle version of the bio.

Khadaji
04-27-2011, 09:35 PM
I just happened to have a Pekingese named Mr. Woo at the time I read the books, so that made the Tricki Woo chapters extra special. :)
My dog sometimes goes all "flop-bottom" and I think of Tricki Woo.

rhubarbarin
04-27-2011, 09:50 PM
I have read all the books hundreds of times, starting when I was 6 or 7. I love them. So why don't I own any copies now?!

janis_and_c0
04-27-2011, 10:18 PM
My dog sometimes goes all "flop-bottom" and I think of Tricki Woo.

Don't forget crackerdog! Actually, "Mrs. Pumphrey" was one of the few people who "recognized" herself in the Books, and fearing she would be offended he stopped writing about her as much. Her response? "There's nothing to larf at now!"

Novelty Bobble
04-28-2011, 07:05 AM
I've never been anywhere near that part of the world, but all the characters are very familiar to me, too. Painfully so, in the case of some of the clients. Animals and their owners never change, I guess.

I think that farmers in general are "of a type". The accent and location may change but there is a weary fatalism common to them all.

BobArrgh
04-28-2011, 12:48 PM
I love the Herriot books. They are just about the only books I have read more than once, and I've read them probably 20-30 times.

I've read them so much, I have passages of them memorized. One time, I was driving and my daughter was in the car and was bored. I was trying to get her interested in the books and had her read to me. In the book I had, one of the pages had been torn, and part of the paragraph was missing. When she got to that part, she stopped reading, and I continued the narrative for her ti get past the missing parts on both pages.

I know I'll probably be hauled off to Mallock's for saying so, but I never really liked the TV series much, because I always thought they had miscast James and Siegfried. In the books, Siegfried was described as being tall and thin, while James was always fighting the battle of the bulge once, especially after he married Helen. In the TV series, I felt that the guy playing Herriot looked more like how I thought Siegfried should look, and vice-versa.

Ellen Cherry
04-28-2011, 01:03 PM
How incredible! I am reading All Creatures Great and Small right now every day on my lunch hour at work.

I've been purposely going slowly ó and it's been so long since I read it, I've mostly forgotten many of the details, so it's all very fresh and fun! Of course I wouldn't have forgotten all the time he spent on sticking his arms up cows; that kind of thing doesn't leave you. I probably read the first book for the first time at about the age of 10.

I wonder why he chose such names for Siegfrid and Tristan; the book claims that their father loved Wagner. Donald and Brian are quite ordinary names. (The dedication page says 'For Donald and Brian Sinclair. Still may friends.')

Anyone who loves these books would probably like My Family and Other Animals, also dramatized on British television and aired on PBS' Masterpiece Theatre a couple years ago.

Dung Beetle
04-28-2011, 01:32 PM
I never saw the TV series, BobArrgh, but I think I prefer my imaginary smokin' hot Farnons to anyone they might have cast. :)

Zsofia
04-28-2011, 02:41 PM
Oh, the show is great IMHO - Siegfried is just perfectly himself, the way he says "Well, you see, James..."

ralph124c
04-28-2011, 03:14 PM
I loved the books and the BBC series.
I get the feeling that the whole bunch lived in a sort of threadbare, genteel poverty..as I assume that 1930's rural England was a place not blessed with lots of money.
But the love of animals expressed in the books really comes through, and that is a big reason why I liked them.

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