Published Mar 2017
When Will – soon to be known as ‘Posh Lad’ – starts with Stanley Lampitt as an apprentice farrier, he expects horses, fresh Yorkshire air, and a training in the basics of forge-work, shoeing and horse-handling. What he gets is Stanley, ‘six-foot-six of tattooed muscle’ with a ‘gleaming shaven head’, senior apprentice ‘Dolloper’ (or Ewan, to his friends), raised on the Cribb’s Estate at the rough end of town, and a baptism of fire. After a rocky start, they settle into a rhythm.
They barrel around the Yorkshire hills in a succession of beaten-up vans, encountering Lords, rich Arabs, stingy old ladies, ex-footballers, gypsies, a host of different horses, some donkeys – and a llama. Together they navigate the highs and lows of romantic entanglements, as well as swarms of bees, combustible chickens, multiple van accidents, and daily pranks. By the end of the year, Will finds he is less of a ‘Posh Lad’ and on his way to being a real farrier – a crucial member of this unexpected team.
Full of warmth and robust Yorkshire humour, and peopled by a cast of unforgettable characters, Forging On is All Creatures Great and Small for the 21st century. This is joyful, vivid writing combined with perfectly commercial storytelling and a brilliant eye for humorous detail.