James Rebanks: ‘I don’t want to be soppy, but my father ended up as my best friend’


The Herdwick Shepherd on three generations of farm life, the joy of cold tea and earning the respect of Masai warriors

Porridge is the best way to really start the day, usually after the shepherding is done. Sometimes I’ll have bacon and eggs, but I’m on a diet at the moment, after being too sedentary, writing a book. Often I have one of my wife Helen’s amazing soups at between 8 and 8.30am. I come back to the house for sit-down meals three times a day. When the children are not at school, we have dinner together at about midday. Then afternoon tea at 3pm and a proper meal in the evening. Helen loves food and insists we put phones away.

I remember my grandmother making bacon and eggs for my grandfather every morning and she never ever took the fat out the pan, so the egg was freckled brown. Everything out of that pan tasted incredibly sweet as a result.

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