Wednesday, 21 November 2018

A trip to Slad in search of Laurie Lee

A couple of weeks ago, during the half term holidays, we ventured to one of our favourite places. We took a spectacular walk through Woodchester park, a place we return to again and again, this time admiring all the shades of autumn. A wondrous display of leaves scattered Pollock style across the landscape and upon the floor making the most delicious of swishing sounds as our feet moved through their clusters. The day seemed cold, only for us to take off layer upon layer, undecided about whether to leave coats off or on, a true sign of our mild start to the autumn season. This trip, we finally decided to make the trip to Slad to visit The Woolpack. The Woolpack is a freehouse immortalised by the writer Laurie Lee who lived and died in Slad and wrote of his childhood spent in Gloucestershire. We have spoken often of visiting but somehow have never got round to it even though it is a mere fifteeen minutes away from familiar haunts of ours. As I remember now, it wasn't the easiest of days. The thirteen year old  and the ten year old were hard work. It is the bickering phase, perhaps one of my least favourite spells. Whilst sat in idyllic surroundings, drinking our cokes, munching on crisps, listening to locals relaying farm talk and how they were 'done for the day' and feeling extremely English (in the best of ways) sat gazing at the open fire and breathing in the perfect scent of a combination of wood burning and ale and hot pies, I resorted to swapping seats with the ten year old to try and dissolve some of the tension. My husband and I glanced at one another and we whispered to each other how we might return alone another time and stay at one of the bed and breakfasts nearby and enjoy an evening of slow living in this inn. Of course, adventuring as a foursome is magic too even with the ebbs and flow which is always worth remembering. I was hugely inspired to leave my words here once more after our visit to Laurie Lee's resting place, in the churchyard just opposite his beloved drinking place. I hadn't really believed that I would be so impacted by this biography of his Cotswold boyhood. But there again, I never thought that I would fall so deeply enchanted by the Cotswolds. Childhood and legacy and moments and the passing of time, all so precious. It is wonderful to be reminded to depict the passing days in words and pictures, to leave some trace of the mood and current interests and concerns. Recently, my sons and I trawled through some old posts here and we were all struck by we were quickly transported back in time to earlier days, lovely, simple and ordinary days. Sometimes the ordinary becomes magnificent with the passing of time and the memory of times that will never return again. So, here is an ode (of sorts) to those who have gone before, those who inspire and those who grow and go on to become their finest selves, this is our hope.  

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