This autobiographical novel is not only the true story of a child’s upbringing by his grandparents in the 1920s, but is also a story of the villagers of Wootton on the Isle of Wight.
Through Charles Lansley’s meticulous research related to the manuscript written by his late father Peter Lansley, most of the characters have been identified along with their places of residence, memorials and other places of interest.
We learn about the local milkman, the butcher, the shoemaker and other trades persons who made up the community, including Peter’s nursery teacher at Hillgrove House. But also, through his grandfather’s love, we gain a child’s understanding of God, the afterlife and the cemetery at Mount Joy, Carisbrooke.
We join Peter at Christmas time for stir up Sunday, sips of Guinness and many amusing misunderstandings as well as various misadventures with his girlfriend Victoria in the grounds of Fernhill House and at Wootton Creek. There are also visits to Ashey races and muses on the Dairyman’s Daughter at Arreton and on Tennyson’s Maud at Wootton.
Through the stories and anecdotes we gain a greater understanding of what family and village life was like in the 1920s when the steam train ran supreme, when there was no electricity or telephone, where the house was lit by an oil lamp and candles, where the ‘range’ was used for cooking and when it was safe for a five year old to walk into the village alone.
This book is a delight to read both as a story and as a description of life on the Island. It should appeal to both those who want a good read and those who want to find out a bit more about the local and social history of the Isle of Wight.