Editor's comment June 2014
PUBLISHED: 14:39 22 May 2014 | UPDATED: 14:39 22 May 2014
Cotswold Life's editor, Mike Lowe, remembers his own schoolboy experience with the work of Laurie Lee, whose centenary is celebrated this year
As an unruly, reluctant 14-year-old at school in a northern industrial city, being handed a copy of Cider with Rosie as one of my O-level set books was about as welcome as a raid by teachers on the unofficial smoking area behind the woodwork room.
What on earth could this tale of strange people in a strange time in an equally strange landscape possibly mean to me? What a load of old tosh.
I was wrong, of course. The book was, and still is, an absolute joy. And as we celebrate the centenary of Laurie Lee’s birth, I would urge you to persuade your children to put down their phones and tablet devices and spend a few hours having a good, old-fashioned read. (If this proves impossible you could always download it for them, although that really isn’t the same.)
The spirit of Laurie Lee is woven through this month’s issue of Cotswold Life, from the cover picture of The Vatch to the house for sale in the Slad Valley on Page 37. I particularly like the innovative use of illustrated wayposts set up by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to encourage people to get out and about in Laurie Lee’s countryside. What a splendid idea.
(While we’re on recommended reading, another book on the essential Gloucestershire list is A Child in the Forest by Winifred Foley. And, in other media, Dennis Potter’s Pennies From Heaven featuring the sadly departed Bob Hoskins, is a televisual feast with a superb soundtrack.)
Let Sunday truly be a day free of petrol-driven pestilence
One of the problems of living in a relatively affluent area is that people are constantly upgrading their homes and gardens. In my small village there is always one major building project going on and often as many as three or four. So you become accustomed to the churn of cement mixers and pneumatic drills throughout the week.
You would think that we were then assured some weekend peace but no, once the builders have gone home, a new menace shatters the silence – power tools: lawn-mowers, chainsaws, strimmers, leaf-blowers and hedge-trimmers. Hardly a minute passes without someone firing up one infernal device or another.
In some parts of Germany there is a total ban on such machinery on Sundays. In Quebec, Canada, the use of lawn-mowers has been banned on the Sabbath. On the Isle of Capri, noisy machinery is banned for the entire summer so as not to upset the tourists vital to the local economy.
Surely then it is time to introduce similar rules in the Cotswolds. You’ve got every weekday evening and all day Saturday to play with your toys.
Let Sunday truly be a day free of petrol-driven pestilence.
Just like it would have been in Laurie Lee’s day.
This article by Mike Lowe is from the June 2014 issue of Cotswold Life
For more from Mike, follow him on Twitter: @cotslifeeditor