Sunday, 10 June 2012

Laurie Lee

Yesterday I popped over to Stroud Farmers Market. It is a lovely drive up over Birdlip and then through beautiful countryside before entering Slad. On a sunny day I have to stop and take a walk up the path to visit Laurie Lee's grave and look out over the valley where he spent most of his life and wrote the famous book 'Cider with Rosie ' .

In the words of Laurie Lee ' between pub and the church, so that I can balance the secular with the spiritual, and my long sleep will be punctuated by rowdy Saturday nights at the Woolpack, and the Sunday morning worship in the church. It would give me a feeling of continuity.

The Woolpack

I was set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three; and there with the sense of bewilderment and terror my life in that village began ... To a cottage that stood in a half-acre garden on a steep bank above a lake; a cottage with three floors and a cellar and a treasure in the walls, with a pump and apple trees, syringa and strawberries, rooks in the chimneys, frogs in the cellar, mushrooms on the ceiling, and all for three and sixpence a week.


The valley was narrow, steep, and almost entirely cut off: it was also a funnel for winds, a channel for the floods and a jungly, bird-crammed, insect hopping sun trap whenever there happened to be any sun.

Holy Trinity Church, Slad
 Morning service began with an organ voluntary, perhaps a Strauss waltz played very slow. The organ was old, and its creaks and sighs were often louder than the music itself. The organ was blown by an ordinary pump-handle which made the process equally rowdy; and Rex Brown, the blower, hidden away in his box - and only visible to us in the choir - enlivened the service by parodying it in mime or by carving girls' names on the woodwork.


She would force nothing, graft nothing, nor set things in rows; she welcomed self -seeders, let each have its head, and was the enemy of very few weeds. Consequently our garden was a sprouting jungle and never an inch was wasted. ( ......writing about his Mother )


Most of the cottages were built of Cotswold stone and were roofed by split-stone tiles. The tiles grew a kind of golden moss which sparkled like crystallized honey.


Such a morning it is when love leans through the geranium windows and calls with a cockerel's tongue.


 Never to be forgotten, that first long secret drink of golden fire, juice of those valleys and of that time, wine of wild orchards, of russet summer, of plump red apples, and Rosie's burning cheeks.


 One of the best things anyone could do is on a sunny day somewhere in the Slad valley, with a picnic and some cider, spend the whole day reading his book....it would one of those great days to remember.
New News, Laurie Lees daughter is selling off Laurie Lee's Wood- Trantershill Wood- hopefully to The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. They are trying to raise £35000....so please help if you can....I wish I had the money I'd buy it for them....lovely to think that we can all visit and read some of his marvelous words....
"I breathe the hayblown airs of home, And watch the sea-green elms drip birds and shadows"
Laurie Lee.

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