‘My discovery of David Miles’s books brought relief to the Covid lockdowns of 2020. Pitched between scholarship and storytelling, Miles’s writing uses warmth and humour to draw readers into his polymathic world.
Although neither The Tale of the Axe nor The Land of the White Horse are about the Cévennes, its author makes numerous references to his home there. So, in late 2020, I phoned him out of the blue: ‘You don’t know me, but I want to make podcasts with you walking around the Cévennes,’ I told him, and David said: ‘Yeah, alright. Let’s do it.’
During the visits that followed, David juggled roles as archaeologist, bird-watcher, gardener, raconteur, and the chef of his favourite daube stew. My co-producer Daniel Saul and I have tramped with him through forests and over plateaus, recording conversations with him and his wife, curator Gwyn Miles, whose expert discussion of ceramics is featured in Home.
Accompanying David, our mics absorbed the intense sounds and sensations of this wild region: the buzz of the limestone hills in baking heat, the storms and the rivers, and the Spring dawn choruses punctuated by woodpeckers. Our aim was to make this series as joyful to listen to as it was to make. We hope we succeeded.’