a school in the Yorkshire Dales

The Dales Series by

Gervase Phinn

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'The James Herriot of schools...Gervase Phinn writes warmly and with great wit' Sunday Express

the other side of the dale book cover link to over hill and dale blurb  link to   head over heels in the dale blurb link to  up and down in the dales

The Other Side of the Dale

Over Hill and Dale

Head Over Heels in the Dales

Up and Down in the Dales

link to the heart of the dales blurb        

The Heart of the Dales




The Other Side of the Dale

Gervase Phinn is offered the post of County Inspector of Schools in North Yorkshire because of his good sense and lack of pretension. 'We don't put people on pedestals in Yorkshire', he's told, 'they nobbut want dustin'. As Gervase Phinn reveals in this warm and wonderfully humorous account, his first year was quite an educational experience.

He quickly learns that he must slow his pace and appreciate the beautiful countryside - 'Backwatersthwaite's been theer since time o' Vikings. It'll still be theer when thee finds it'. He meets some larger than life characters, from farmers and lords of the manor, to teaching nuns and eccentric caretakers. And, best of all, he discovers the endearing and disarming qualities of the Dales children, including the small boy who, when told he's not very talkative, answers:

 'If I've got owt to say I says it, and if I've got owt to ask I asks it'.

With his keen ear for the absurd and sharp eye for the ludicrous, Gervase Phinn has delighted audiences with tales of his experiences as a school inspector. Now, for the first time, readers, can enjoy him too.

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Over Hill and Dale

As read on Radio 4

'Miss, who's that funny man at the back of the classroom?'

So begins school-inspector Gervase Phinn's second year among the frankly spoken pupils and teachers of North Yorkshire. The sight of Gervase calmly getting out his notebook and pen provokes extreme reactions from children and adults alike. He finds himself unwillingly playing the stooge to Mrs Peterson's class of juniors, confronting a Mr Swan whose hunger for lunchtime exceeds his appetite for English and alarmingly disarmed by a pupil unsure whether he is 'learning' French or German.

But Gervase is far from daunted. He's still in pursuit of his dream girl - headteacher Christine Bentley, he is ready to brave the steely glare of the officious Mrs Savage and even feels up to helping Dr Gore organize the Feoffees - just as soon as someone tells him what they are!

This is a delectable second helping of hilarious tales from the man dubbed 'the James Herriot of schools'. It will have you laughing out loud.

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Head Over Heels in the Dales

As read on Radio 4

Uproarious and touching! Gervase Phinn writes with enormous warmth and wit.’
Daily Mail

‘Could you tell me how to spell “sex”, please?’

Gervase Phinn thinks he’s heard just about everything in his two years as a school inspector, but a surprising enquiry from an angelic six-year-old reminds him never to take the children for granted.

This year, however, he has a few important things on his mind besides the schools. His impending marriage to Christine Bentley, the prettiest headteacher for miles around, finding themselves somewhere to live in the idyllic Yorkshire Dales, and the chance of a promotion all generate their fair share of excitement, aided and abetted as usual by his colleagues in the office. But it’s in the classroom where Gervase faces his greatest challenge, keeping a straight face as teachers and children alike conspire to have him – and us – laughing out loud.

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Up and Down in the Dales

'Hilarious, touching, heart-warming' Daily Mail

If you enjoyed his earlier books you will certainly like this one ... a light, frothy, entertaining read with a plot that twists and bends to link the many funny stories the author has gathered over the years'
Times Educational Supplement

In Up and Down in the Dales, life for the Inspector of English is always hectic. Some of the events, like the nativity plays at Christmas or ‘little jobs’ for Dr Gore, come round the annual calendar like clockwork; others are totally unexpected and can cause happiness or concern in equal parts.

Now in his fourth year as a schools inspector, Gervase Phinn continues to visit schools within his area of Yorkshire, from the little primary schools in the Yorkshire Dales to the inner-city schools with their often mulish adolescent pupils. At least he can leave school affairs behind him when he goes home each evening to Peewit Cottage and his lovely wife, Christine, who is expecting their first child. That is, until their own village school is threatened with closure and Gervase finds himself on the opposite side of the argument from Christine.

Some things, however, don’t change: Mrs Savage roars, Connie rants, and Gervase’s colleagues in the office play verbal ping-pong. The children he meets in the primary schools continue to steal the limelight, and their contrived innocence never fails to endear.

Gervase Phinn’s fourth book is a delightful, funny roller-coaster of a read.

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The Heart of the Dales

The Heart of the Dales marks the welcome return of a much-loved cast of unforgettable characters.

Awkward teachers, pompous school governors and fearsome lollipop ladies occasionally make Gervase Phinn’s hectic job as a school inspector in the Yorkshire Dales more than difficult. But for Gervase, the focus, and challenge, remains the frankly spoken children.

However, the new school year doesn’t get off to the best start after a teacher intimates that Gervase has let him and his school down. So when he is called up in front of his new boss, the formidable Miss de la Mare, Gervase fears he is going to be in hot water. To add to his woes, he is given another ‘little job’ by the Chief Education Officer, which inevitably means liaising with the infuriating and interfering Mrs Savage – the bain of the inspectors’ lives.

Meanwhile, away from the pressure of school, Gervase’s life with wife Christine and their new baby son, is blissful – until an assortment of noises in the attic start to disturb their nights….The colourful cast of characters have now become firm favourites - the eccentric staff at County Hall as well as the children themselves, who find ways of embarrassing the school inspectors with innocent ease. We reconvene with Christine Bentley, head teacher of Winnery Nook School, the well-named Mrs Savage and not forgetting the Queen of Clean - Connie.

Gervase Phinn has an extraordinary talent to entertain, and the latest instalment to the Dales series is heart-warming, wry and will make you laugh out loud.

Audio Books >> cover for audio books 'The Other Side of the Dale'
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