Laurie Lee, Cider with Rosie
Laurie Lee was born in Stroud in 1914 and in 1917 the family moved to a damp and crumbling cottage in the remote Cotswold village of Slad. When the First World War was over Laurie’s father abandoned his wife and children and life was hard, but for Laurie his warm hugger-mugger home and the village with its familiar characters and unchanging round were full of wonder. He writes ecstatically of going blackberrying in summer, and skating and carol singing in icy Christmas weather when it hurt to breathe and the air was ‘like needles’. Yet he acknowledges that village life could be brutal too. Cider with Rosie is not just a rosy picture of a rural past, but a magical evocation of growing up in a lost world that still rings emotionally true.
Laurie Lee, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
When Laurie Lee set out on foot from his home in the Gloucestershire village of Slad one midsummer morning in 1935 he was 19 and off to see the world with only his violin for company. So began a year of wandering that eventually took him from the north to the south of Spain, a country in which life had barely changed since the Middle Ages but which was now on the brink of a bitter civil war. The adventure that began as a romantic dream ended somewhat ignominiously, but it inspired Lee to produce this brilliant and darkly haunting account of a vanished Spain, and return to fight on the Republican side not long after.
I write these words, appropriately enough, in The Woolpack – the Slad pub that once claimed Laurie Lee as its most famous patron – with a pint of cider at my elbow. From one window, the view dips...Read more
Before the Slaughter
How much we miss movement in our suddenly still, stay-at-home pandemic era. Gone the footloose and fancy-free travel of our rose tinted imaginations, replaced by domestic gloom, pessimistic prospects...Read more