Born and brought up in rural Suffolk, Ronald Blythe was fascinated by the rhythms of country life and the stories of the people he had known since childhood. In this perceptive and moving evocation of his home, the villagers speak candidly about their lives, from the reminiscences of survivors of the First World War to a younger generation of farm workers, as well as the personal recollections of a school teacher, blacksmith, saddler, bellringer and district nurse. Together they give us the voice of a village, and of a vanished rural England. Generations of inhabitants have helped shape the English countryside - but it has profoundly shaped us too. It has provoked a huge variety of responses from artists, writers, musicians and people who live and work on the land - as well as those who are travelling through it.English Journeys celebrates this long tradition with a series of twenty books on all aspects of the countryside, from stargazey pie and country churches, to man's relationship with nature and songs celebrating the patterns of the countryside (as well as ghosts and love-struck soldiers).
Ronald Blythe (born 1922) is a writer and editor, most famous for his bestselling Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village, which became an instant classic on its publication in 1969, and from which this book is extracted.