|Laurie Lee-memories of Slad Valley|
Childhood memories of playing with young friends in village streets and dirt tracks - now used as a fast car route - are in the hearts of many of the more 'mature' members of the Stroud community. But for some the gift of words can capture those happy moments, like snapshots of time, which will be remembered for albums to come.
Laurie Lee recorded his life in rural Slad in a way many young people can identify with today - giving them a chance to enjoy the rhythms and music of words with a full appreciation of the country at the same time.
|Laurie Lee-Cider with Rosie|
'Cider with Rosie' is used as a set school book in countries through out the world, with certain translations in some cases. In it, he wrote:
"Our village school was poor and crowded, but in the end I relished it. It has a lively reek of steaming life: boys' boots, girls' hair, stoves and sweat, blue ink, white chalk and shavings."
In his autobiography trilogy,'Red Sky at Sunrise', Laurie's three volumes cover his childhood recollections of the stunning Cotswold valley in 'Cider with Rosie', and the restlessness of his teenage years and twenties which takes him away from Slad in 'As I walked out One Midsummer Morning'. It also covers journeys into the dark side of Spain, death, and despair in 'A moment of War'.
Shortly before his death in 1997, he said:
"These autobiographies, written with slow and miserly care, span the first, twenty-three years of my life. They cover both the light and the dark, as do most remembrances, but I still feel I have much left to confess and celebrate."
And still the real identity of Rosie Burdock - the young lass who, like Eve, enticed her friend with the smell of apples - remains the author's secret.
"It's cider," she said, "you ain't to drink it though. Not much of it, any rate." Huge and squat, the jar lay on the grass like an unexploded bomb. We lifted it up, unscrewed the stopper, and smelt the whiff of fermented apples. I held the jar to my mouth and rolled my eyes sideways, like a beast at a water-hole. "Go on," said Rosie. I took a deep breath..."
The taste of cider is a taste familiar to the lips of locals. But few can put it into words as well as Laurie could.