A Date with Laurie Lee

1 Mar

Thick mist this morning. In the garden, a spider’s web, heavy and sparkling with dew, suspended from the knobbly branches of a rose bush.

At lunch I stepped out and bought a copy of Laurie Lee’s Cider With Rosie, which is something I read as a child and have meant to revisit ever since I moved out west to Gloucestershire. Stroud of course has a terrific farmer’s market on Saturday  mornings (I am a dedicated follower of Windrush Valley goat’s cheese) and Slad, the village made famous by Lee, is only a few miles further up the valley. These days the area is more of a hide-out for celebs than home to young ragamuffins. If I am not mistaken, Lily Allen was married in nearby Cranham, while Damien Hirst is reputed to be fond of Lee’s old local, The Woolpack. But here’s a beautiful paragraph from the first few pages of the book, in which Lee describes the water that comes out of the pump in the scullery of his new home:

…It came out sparkling like liquid sky. And it broke and ran and shone on the tiled floor, or quivered in a jug, or weighted your clothes with cold. You could drink it, draw with it, froth it with soap, swim beetles across it, or fly bubbles in the air. You could put your head in it, and open your eyes, and see the sides of the bucket buckle, and hear your breath roar, and work your mouth like a fish, and smell the lime from the ground. Substance of magic – which you could tear or wear, confine or scatter, or send down holes, but never burn or break or destroy.

About a year ago Fella and I walked from Stroud to Painswick via Slad. The route took us up hill and down dale, past watermills, through woods and along muddy ditches, with stops for sandwiches and coffee from the thermos now and then. Gorgeous. We ought to do it again soon now that spring is almost here.

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3 Responses to “A Date with Laurie Lee”

  1. Marina B March 2, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    Ah! Thanks for reminding us of Laurie Lee. Cider With Rosie is one of my absolute favourite books. Your walk sounds lovely.

  2. Maureen H March 3, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Laurie Lee, remember, walked from his village to London, spent a year there, took ship to Vigo in Spain, then walked to Castillo, near Malaga, playing his violin to earn money. He stayed to fight in the Civil War.

    • Vivienne March 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      Have since discvoered that I have met someone who knew him. Who would have guessed. His walk must have been over a hundred miles.

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