Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Hayley

      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     

Gloucestershire - [alternative] A Child in the Forest by Winifred Foley

Recommended Posts

Copied from my blog:

I absolutely loathe the word belly! Sorry if that offends anyone, it's probably just me, but ugh – it's up there with moist! :giggle: However, Winifred Foley's excellent book A Child in the Forest, first published in 1974, has been rebranded as Full Hearts And Empty Bellies: A 1920s Childhood from the Forest of Dean to the Streets of London - catchy, huh!  :giggle2:

In the 1960s, the social historian John Burnet put out an appeal for people to write down their memories, and so, aided by her husband who helped to edit her writing, she submitted her memoirs which were turned into this book. I managed to find a copy of it in the Bookbarn and read it for Gloucestershire, having already read (and loved) Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee. Foley and Lee were born within a month of each other in 1914, but their reminiscences are quite different, in particular, Lee's are more whimsical than Foley's.

Winifred, known as Poll to her family, was a lively child who lived with her mother and father and younger siblings in the small Gloucestershire village of Brierley. The family lived in abject poverty, subsisting by cadging food from willing neighbours, persuading the local shopkeeper to let them have goods 'on tic' and even, on occasions, scrumping – an activity which wasn't always successful! The conditions in which the family lived – the fleas, the hunger, the ragged clothing are almost incomprehensible (although of course poverty does, sadly, still exist). Despite the family's lack of money it was mostly a happy childhood for the young Poll. She recounts her early years in the Forest, and the period from the age of 14 when she went into service in London up until the point she met her husband, with humility, warmth and humour. She uses quite a lot of dialect in the book. Although I'm not a native of Somerset I have lived here for nearly 29 years and have learned many phrases. The language of Somerset is quite similar, which I think helped!

I very much enjoy books about social history, particularly the Victorian to post WW2 period, so this book was right up my street and I very much enjoyed it. It also really gave a feel of the county.  There are two more 'Forest' books (both rebranded for a modern audience) and I would definitely like to try the second one at some stage. :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now