A pleasant lyrical description of the minute details of English country life presents the full world of a small town’s folk, in all their deep old habits, their social quirks and irritabilities, and their precious sense of the finite order of inherited obligations.
Mrs Willett can tackle a hundred jobs without having been taught any of them. She can salt pork or beef, make jams, jellies, wines, chutnies and pickles, she can bake pies with all manner of pastries, cakes, tarts, and her own bread, which is particularly delicious, she can make rugs, curtains and her own clothes, she can help a neighbor in childbirth, and at the other end of life’s span compose a corpse’s limbs for decent burial. She is as good a gardener as her husband, can distemper a room, mend a fuse, and sings in the choir. …. There are so many different activities to engage her that when she tires of one there is another to which she can turn and get refreshment. From turning her heavy old mangle in the washhouse she will come in and sit down to stitch a new skirt. She will prepare a stew and while it simmers on the hob filling the little house with its fragrance, she will practice her part in Mr Annets new anthem, ready for the next Church festival. And… she sees a satsifying result from her labours. The clothes blow on the line. The skirt is folded and put away in the drawer ready for next Sunday. Mr Willett will come in and praise her bubbling stew…
In this little English village is a little English school with children who are kept busy snipping gum nosed paper in all the colors of the rainbow.
“Make just what you like: flowers, leaves, lambs, birds, butterflies…anything that makes you think of Spring.
Most of the class had flung themselves with abandon into this glorious snipping session but there were as always one or two stolid and adenoidal babies who were completely without imagination and awaited direction apathetically. “Make grass then”…had said Miss Jackson…
From Fairacre to Thrush Green, a village inferior in coziness and character, whereof spring faithless wives, drunken gravediggers, vain architects and stingy spinsters.. With this inferiority comes humor: imagine a fat food-loving Nellie housecleaning for three aged sisters, who spoon out a teaspoon of silver polish each time she comes to clean the house.