Friday, 14 September 2012
A Book to Read.
Regular readers of my blog will know that I love the books by Ronald Blythe above all others. I have almost all of them and read them over and over - they are that kind of book. If i can't sleep I get up, make myself a drink and sit by the Aga. On the bookshelf by the Aga are all my favourite books including everything I have by Ronald Blythe. I choose a book, open it randomly and read. Within a moment I am transported to some country lane, some country churchyard, the precincts of some church or cathedral, or into the life of some poet and painter from the past and there is magic in the air.
Ronald Blythe is, I believe, ninety now but from what I understand he is still going strong and lives - as he has done for half of his lifetime - in Bottengoms Farm on the Suffolk/Essex border - John Constable country and the place where he grew up and has never left for long.
This latest book is called 'at the yeoman's house' - that house being Bottengoms farm. This is, in a way, a history of the house and of the people who inhabited it - and in some ways inhabit it still. I have found it absolutely fascinating, so readable and quite impossible to put down. The book is separated into twelve quite short chapters - each one dealing with a different aspect. There is one, for example, which deals with the old floors, many of which are still in place today.
There are lists of the people who have lived in the house, lists of the flowers in the garden, even bills dating back to 1541. John Constable walked this land, John Nash, the war artist, lived in the house before Blythe; the house is soaked in history.
My friend, G, lent me the book. I love it so much that I cannot bear to give it back to her, so she has ordered another copy for herself and I am to keep this one for my big 'O' birthday, which comes up on Hallowe'en. I do urge you to look out for the book and buy it - sheer bliss.