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24 September 2014
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Laurie Lee: His early days in Slad
Laurie Lee in Slad montage
Laurie Lee put his Cotswold home village of Slad on the literary map

Slad writer and poet Laurie Lee immortalised a vanished era in rural life in his evocative book Cider With Rosie.

Relive his magical way with words in his last radio interview with BBC Gloucestershire.

LISTEN
Laurie Lee on his early days in Slad
 
Laurie Lee on his school days
 
Laurie Lee on Cider With Rosie
 
Laurie Lee on the Spanish Civil War
 
Laurie Lee on his favourite place - the Slad Valley
 

 

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audioBBC Radio 4 Literary Walks: Laurie Lee in Slad

Gloucestershire writers: Dick King-Smith

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Fact File

+ Laurie Lee was born in Stroud in 1914.

+ He moved to Slad, with his family when he was three after his father.

+ Laurie Lee's poems are generally about the English countryside and proved only reasonably successful.

+ Cider with Rosie, on the other hand, was an immediate best-seller, reaching a wide public with its images of village life from a bygone era of innocence and simplicity.

+ He died in 1997 and buried in the village churchyard.

 
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We were living in the Slad Road when my father left us. I was about three.

He left us to go to London and find a new life for himself and we moved up to Slad on a carriers cart one June morning.

I was wrapped in a Union Jack and all my sisters in their long white pinafores went bundling down the bank and crying out with pleasure at the blackcurrants and redcurrants in the wild garden.

quote
We all lived in this nest together shouting and singing and knocking each other over and getting in each other's way and laughing and corralling and protecting each other. quote
Laurie Lee

I was last among the long grass and I'd never seen long grass and never been on my own and out of sight of humans before.

I put back my head and howled and they came and found me and carried me down - into this wildly controlled domestic life which was and remained the welcome and nourishing little kitchen life that we spent all my developing years in, watched over by these three lovely sisters Marjorie, Dot and Phil, and my my scatty and brilliant and eccentric but fascinating madcap of a mother.

She'd had a hard time and she carried my father's children by his first wife who died young and his children by her and we all lived in this nest together shouting and singing and knocking each other over and getting in each other's way and laughing and corralling and protecting each other.

The house is still down the bank, still very unchanged, except that there are new people, nice people living there.

We liked to think it belonged to a minor squire because it is quite a large house but when we got there it was shaped like a T and we lived in the downstroke.

The cross-stroke was inhabited by two old ladies and they used to communicated with each other by brooms banging on the floor and knocking on the ceiling.

They called each other 'er up-a top' and 'er down under' and they lived this wonderful life of close enmity and when one died the other didn't survive and they both died in their nineties.

Listen
audio
BBC download guide Free Real player

>>Laurie Lee on his school days

>>Laurie Lee on Cider With Rosie

>>Laurie Lee on the Spanish Civil War

>>Laurie Lee on his favourite place - the Slad Valley

 

 

 


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