(Akenfield Portrait of an English Village) [PDF KINDLE] ê Ronald Blythe


One seventy two people would say Well they had a good innings But when the bell stopped at eighteen or twenty a hush would come over the fields I remember this well in my own villageDAVID COLLYER Forester and Labour Party Organizer Although I do not like towns I think they are necessary one is young A town boy can drift into an art gallery if it is only to get warm and then see a picture and then begin to feel and think about art Or he might go to a concert just to see what It Was Like Or was like or around a big public library From the minute he does these things he begins to be a different person even if he doesn t realize it For an ordinary village boy everything to do with these things is somehow unnatural The village people live almost entirely without culture I was over twenty before I realized that classical music was just music and therefore all one had to do was listen to it I listened and at first believed I had no right to listen I felt affected But when I began to enjoy it I stopped worrying Everything I do begins with doubt and insecurity It is as though I am using a language which I haven t a right to useCHRISTOPHER FALCONER 39 Gardener The boy under gardeners had to help arrange the flowers in the house These were done every day We had to creep in early in the morning before breakfast and replace the great banks of flowers in the main rooms Lordship and Ladyship must never hear or see you doing it fresh flowers had to just be there that was all there was to it There was never a dead flower It was as if flowers for them lived for ever It was part of the magic of their livesFRANCIS LAMBERT 25 Forge worker Young men should always look for work which interests them no matter how long it takes them to find it No man should go in at morning to wait for the clock at night And people who want the money without the work spoil everythingERNIE BOWERS 55 Thatcher I get up at half past five of a morning I work many hours I get tired but I will be all right I suppose There are all these great boys in the house they eep you lively But you can t get into a conversation with a young person

as you could 
you could ago They just haven t got the interest They don t want our ind of talk They re all strangers all strangersYou don t make much money if you work with your hands You can t make the turnover But I have no regrets working so slowly I began in a world without timeMRS SULLIVAN 55 Headmistress You could if you weren t careful become attached to the children in a school like this Sentimental But you don t if you re wise They must do what they are here to do Learn enough by eleven so that they are able to go on learning when they leaveMICHAEL POOLE 37 Orchard Worker He is simple people will say I went to work on the fruit when I was fourteen I never minded it I got my money and that was the main thing I grew my money grew It was nice to have itSummer was the best You d get the women come and give you a look You d torment them and they d torment you There used to be a regular procession of old girls who d bike up from Framlingham for the picking When I was sixteen one of these old girls came up to me in the orchard and said Let me see your watchI didn t answerAren t you going to let me see your watch thenI said nothing Anyway she could see my watch it was lying on my waistcoat under the apple treeI shall take it she saysTake it thenI reckon you want me to take itI can see you re bent on it I said so you may as wellSo she took it for devilry It was on a chain and she hung it round her fat neck the whole live long afternoon I wouldn t let her see it worried me She d walk by and shout Come and get itI said nothing She brought it to me about five before she set off home She put it over my head like a necklace and said There you are you young buggerI wouldn t speak to herThe next morning along she comes straight to where I m about to start Her arms were stuck out full length and she was all smiles She got her mouth on my face and my God she must have thought it was her br. Speak to us directly in honest and evocative monologues of their works and days in the rural country of Suffolk Composed in the late 1960's Blythe's volu. I LOVE this bookIt has had me completly engrossed I took my time because I didn t want to stop reading the tales of the folk of the 60s in a little SE English villageThere is so much of value in this book all the answers you can possibly want for where we went wrong as a society seen through the eyes of the folk who lived through the changes the ones who appreciated some of them and the ones who didn t and the ones who were perceptive enough to see them for what they were good and bad and how they came about in the aftermath of 2 world warsFrom the voices of ordinary folk come truths we don t often hear in our society of expert speak What a reliefI guess my dream now is to meet the author he has done what in a sense I was attempting about Our times in my book Tales of Our Times The strength that comes from hearing people s voices as they lived it is invaluable to our learning of the past I adored Larkrise to Candleford but Arkenfield surpasses it simply because there are voices so storiesWhat I am really excited about is that if we read Larkrise and then Arkenfield we are given a picture of England that wasn t written from the perspective of the wealthy or well connected and that somehow makes all the differenceBravo Ronald Blythe My copy is from PantheonRandom House not PenguinThis is my favorite sort of history book 90% source material and 10% commentaryIn the author s words This book is the uest for the voice of Akenfield Suffolk England as it sounded during the summer and autumn of 1967 It consists of dozens of statements by village residents of all types These are not interviews they are uninterrupted speeches and cover the person s life current events village goings on outlook on life and whatever else came to mind1967 was a ey point in time to take a cross section of an agricultural community particularly in Suffolk where the echoes of feudalism had persisted until just after World War I Until then farmers as the land holders had acted like lords with farm workers being bound to farmers in hereditary positionsBy 1967 agricultural practices and labor relations were a world apart from what they d been 50 years earlier but the older folks still remembered what it had been like Those memories encompass not just the old ways of being and doing but the brutal conditions engendered by the great agricultural depression in the late nineteenth centuryI have no idea how interesting this book would be to readers in Britain but to a reader in the US like me who is fascinated by the way "things once were Akenfield is a precious glimpse back at the life "once were Akenfield is a precious glimpse back at the life English ancestors might have lived The folk of Akenfield circa 1910 had a basic understanding of the necessities reuired for a community to survive They could have understood and talked to people from a hundred years earlier and a hundred years before that and a hundred years before that and so on In the Before Village was appropriated into an idyll it was a real place with real people and real jobs This book is about such a place It is a ind of oral history of a mid 20th Century English village mostly in the words of people not inclined to talk And it is splendidLEONARD THOMPSON 71 Farm worker Our cottage was nearly empty except for peopleTHE BRIGADIER rtd on the church going to pot What you need is the padre type somebody who will have a drink with you in the bar and who has the right to say to you Now look here old boy You ve been grizzling away about your Ethel and her short comings but do you ever think about how she feels being left alone all the evening while you are lining them up here I mean fair s fair THE REV GETHYN OWEN 63 Rural
dean religion has 
Religion has lot to do with where their families and ancestors are buriedROBERT PALGRAVE 55 Bellringer and Tower Captain The bells tolled for death when I was a boy It was three times three for a man and three times two for a woman People would look up and say Hullo a death Then the years of the dead person s age would be tolled and if the bell went on speaking seventy. In this rich rare book— which John Updike called exuisite— forty nine men and women— a blacksmith and a bellringer to the local vet and a gravedigger—. .
Eakfast or somethingI pushed at her I said Don t Look "out he s coming He was too Old Fletcher the foreman "he s coming He was too Old Fletcher the foreman broke away but back she arrived later when I was lying on the scythings eating my bait It was long grass all aroundDon t fret says sheI said nothingThe coast is clear she says and comes down on me like a ton of bricks I couldn t see nothing but
grass there was 
There was a rocking I couldn t tell whether I was babe or manAt tea time the women went rushing home with their aprons full of apples shrieking you can be sure They shruck a bit when they saw me and a couple of them rang their bike bells My old woman shouted Don t torment him He s like his old watch not so bad when he s wound up Laugh You should have heard themIt was my first timeChrist that was a summer and no mistakeMARIAN CATER EDWARDS 50 Samaritan I m fond of the old widowed men who sit uietly in their houses Most of them aren t so much wanting food or whatever as for a talk I feel so guilty I chat my way through a uick cup of tea and they ve got a look on their dear old faces like Bessie here just longing for you to go on and on I skip the groaners It really does take it out of you to be groaned and moaned at I like the ones who say Well that s lifeTERRY LLOYD 21 Pig farmer I have dinner at twelve do all inds of jobs until half past four then it s feeding again I have tea at six and at eleven just before I tuck in myself I have a walk round to see if everybody is cosy Pigs are funny animals and like a sense of being cared forANTHONY SUMMER 23 Shepherd I castrate the male lambs the little tups about an hour after they have been born They say what you ve never had you never miss I wonderROGER ADLARD 31 Factory been born They say what you ve never had you never miss I wonderROGER ADLARD 31 Factory Pigs are very clean animals but like us they are all different some will need cleaning out after half a day and some will be neat and tidy after three days Some pigs are always in a mess and won t care Pigs are very interesting people and some of them can leave uite a gap when they go off to the bacon factoryThere are an awful lot of petition going about concerned with cruelty to animals They are usually got up by people who Distant Echoes Finding Keys To Life After Abuse keep pets confined in flats and I am not sure that such folk are entitled to hold these opinionsTHE POET Himself They say that I have opted out That is what they say I am out of all the great events of the day or so they tell me The accusers come yearly and usually in the summer for none of theseind of people have patience with a village in winter and they point their finger at me for having turned my back on what they call current affairs They tell me that a poet should not avoid what is going on in the world A poet should be with the mass of mankind they say a poet should carry a banner I do not march I do not protest I have not the people s cause at heart so I am guilty I do not argue about the colour uestion or the religious uestion I am a guilty innocent I suppose Can one be thatWILLIAM RUSS 61 Gravedigger Bodies used to be How Debuggers Work Algorithms Data Structures and Architecture kept in the house for twelve days Everyoneept the body at home for as long as they could then they didn t care to part with it you see Now they can t get it out uick enough They didn t like hurrying about anything when I was young particularly about death They were afraid that the corpse might still be alive that was the real reason for hanging on to it People have a post mortem now and it s all settled in a minute but there s no doubt that years ago there were a rare lot of folk who got buried alive When a sick man passed on the doctor was told but he never came to look at the corpse He just wrote out the death certificate People always made a point of leaving an instruction in their wills to have a vein cut Just to be on the safe sideI talk too much that is my failing I come into contact with many people at a serious time so I have picked up serious conversation What most folk have once or twice in a lifetime I have every day I want to be cremated and my ashes thrown in the air Straight from the flames to the winds and let that be that. Me paints a vivd picture of a community in which the vast changes of the twentieth century are matched by deep continuities of history tradition and natur. ,
Akenfield Portrait of an English Village