I appreciate classic literature, Jane Austen, second-hand book shopping and a good cup of tea. My 'Favourites' shelf represent the books which formed the person behind these words.
'Cider with Rosie' was, for me, one of the most evocative books I have ever read. The book is about Laurie Lee's youth in a rural Gloucestershire village after the First World War. Lee recounts a bygone age, where the rural classes were still at the mercy of the seasons and of local superstitions. It is a book of homemade wines, languid summers and rural poverty. You are entirely drawn into the novel from the start by the incredibly insular surroundings of the cramped cottage and the Cotswold valley in which the village sits.
'Summer, June Summer,with the green back on earth and the whole world unlocked and seething- like winter, it came suddenly and one knew it in bed, almost before waking up; with cuckoos and pigeons hollowing the woods since daylight and the chirping of tits in the pear-blossom.' p.159
The novel is an unrestrained feast for the senses but it is not this alone which charmed me. I live in Worcestershire, a county in Britain which neighbours Gloucestershire and so, inevitably, there was much in the 'Cider with Rosie' which resonated with me. Being awoken my birdsong from May til August, apple-green spring and unrelenting July sunshine where, it seemed, absolutely nothing seemed to happen but summer. It was not only an ode to the countryside though; there was so much of life, death, youth and age to be found too. A vivid recollection of a way of life largely unknown to us now.