Here Penelope Lively recalls Golsoncott, the country house in Somerset her grandparents bought in 1923. Back then the daily running of the house required the services of eleven people; by the 1990s this infrastructure was remembered only in the wages book buried in the hall chest, the bell system in the pantry and the tarnished contents of the silver cupboard.
Golsoncott was touched by the cataclysmic events of the twentieth century: the Russian Revolution, the Holocaust, the Blitz. All left their mark on the house, if you know where to look.
As she remembers the sometimes strange, unfamiliar articles there - the gong stand, the picnic rug, the potted-meat jars, the bon-bon dishes - Penelope Lively charts the social changes and transforming moments of the last century. Shifting attitudes to social class, the tension between town and country, how one learns to see the world, all are examined in this unique, fascinating memoir, reminding us that things are done differently now - up to a point.
- Publication Date:
- 26 / 11 / 2001
- 138 x 210mm