The title comes from a Welsh folk stanza, translated by RS Thomas who worked as a curate near to Conradi's home in the county (the place where Lorna Sage also happened to grow up):
Let the stranger, if he will,
Have his way with the glen,
But give us to live
At the bright hem of God
In the heather, in the heather.
Nearly every page contains some striking insight, fact or description. Most recently this on dogs of the March, a précis from the self-published memoir of a Cardiganshire farmer, Erwyd Howells, who:
...has studied dogs, believing they repay that effort: his first dog hung himself and he quickly learnt to tether a dog better. They were at their best from four years old, and bitches allowed to litter were often more eager to work. There were children who took their sheep-dogs to school, tying them up for the day before helping someone with their stock in the evenings. Dogs attended church so often that some churches had wooden dog-tongs to drag fighting curs outside. One dog could when needed, fetch a peat-turf; another (his) could both climb a ladder and then open the hatch-door above. And - movingly - he tells of a dying shepherd who, asked by the pastor for his final wish, opted to "see a good dog". Only this, he knew, might now cheer him up.
Dog-tongs I'd like to see. One collie or two vicar? It's full of similar delights and I shall, no doubt, be returning to it.