Laurie Lee. It is an autobiographical account of Lee's growing up in the nineteen twenties in the Gloucestershire village of Slad which nestles in the hills near Stroud right on the Cotswold edge.
The language of the book is rich and poetic and describes in great detail the simple life of a working class boy growing up with his mother and siblings just after the end of the First World War.
I've found on the internet a photo of the cover of my copy - now lost, sadly. It was published by Penguin Books in 1962, before we went decimal and so cost the grand sum of 3 shillings and 6 pence - now about 15 pence.
I'd forgotten how much I had enjoyed it when I first read it in my teens whilst I was at school. On this reread, I have been especially taken with the lovely descriptions of the landscape, the people and the way of life.
Take this quote for instance:
"The great beech filled at least half the sky and shook shadows all over the house. Its roots clutched the slope like a giant hand, holding the hill in place. Its trunk writhed with power, threw off veils of green dust, rose towering into the air, branched into a thousand shaded alleys, became a city for owls and squirrels. I had thought such trees to be as old as the earth; I never dreamed that a man could make them. Yet it was Granny Trill's dad who had planted this tree, had thrust in the seed with his finger. How old must he have been to leave such a mark? Think of Granny's age, and add his on top, and you were back at the beginning of the world."
It is certainly giving me something to think about ...