Nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds, Thrush Green is normally a peaceful place. But as autumn turns to winter, feelings are running high in the village. Miss Fogerty, a respected teacher at the village school for over thirty years, is troubled by the methods of the new young teacher.
Gossip From Thrush Green returns readers to that delightful English village, neighbour to Fairacre, for a golden summer. But this sleepy, pristine setting conceals a flurry of activity among the villagers. Rumour has it that Mr. Molly Curdle prepares for a new baby. The kindly vicar, Charles Henstock, works on his sermon - quite unaware of the disaster that will overtake him.
When Charles Henstock, rector of Thrush Green, moves a mile downhill to the parish of Lulling, his many friends rejoice in his promotion, but an unfortunate skirmish with one of his wealthy parishioners over the Lady Chapel kneelers saddens him Charles Henstock, vicar of Thrush Green, is living in his new vicarage after the old one burned down.
How to choose who will live there? How will they get on together? And how will they accommodate all the pets? Meanwhile the old residents have their worries. The friendship which sprang up between Harold and Isobel flourished, grew warmer, and led to an exceedingly happy marriage, to the delight of their friends at Thrush Green. It was Harold who had instigated the setting-up of a fine statue of Nathaniel Patten on the green.
He had been shocked to find that so little was known about the Victorian missionary who had done so much good overseas, and he set about educating his neighbours. Harold's enthusiasm had been infectious, and now the memory of one of Thrush Green's most famous sons was a source of pride in the community, and his statue and memory greatly revered.
This morning a sprinkling of snow spattered Nathaniel's head and shoulders, and a noisy family of starlings squabbled on the white ground around him. Near by, the children's voices, as noisy as the starlings', had suddenly ceased. An hour later, his shopping done, Harold pushed open the door of the Fuchsia Bush, Lulling's most notable restaurant in the High Street. Harold was not a frequent visitor to this establishment, but he was so cold that he felt that a cup of coffee would thaw him before he visited the bank and the local building society, the last duties to perform before driving home.
The Fuchsia Bush was warm and welcoming.
Coffee was provided promptly, and soon the ample form of Nelly Piggott appeared from the kitchen bearing a tray of scones hot from the oven. I can't resist your cooking. Nelly beamed at the compliment, and Harold wondered, yet again, how such an attractive woman as this buxom one before him could ever have taken miserable Albert Piggott for a husband.
It had always been a mystery to Thrush Green, this marriage of two such opposites. Even Charles Henstock, the much-loved rector of Thrush Green, had doubted if the marriage would last. In fact, it was the Fuchsia Bush which had rescued that marriage from the rocks some years earlier. Nelly had always been a first-class cook, and had very little chance to use her skill when catering for Albert.
He suffered from peptic ulcers, and Nelly's use of cream, butter, plenty of sugar, honey and golden syrup did nothing to help his digestion. It was a happy day for her when the owner of the Fuchsia Bush appeared on Nelly's doorstep to ask if she could help at the restaurant while the cook was ill. This had led eventually to a thriving partnership between Nelly and Mrs Peters and to the Fuchsia Bush gaining a name in the neighbourhood for delicious food.
To Nelly it was her whole life. She set off for work every day in the highest of spirits. The kitchen at the Fuchsia Bush was her kingdom, the compliments from customers balm to her spirit. Nelly was probably the happiest worker in Lulling, and even Albert's gloomy company could not quell her new-found ebullience. They say this new flu's a real killer.
I've got some brandy snaps in at the moment, and you know how quickly they catch. As he put the car away in the garage, he saw his friend and neighbour Edward Young emerging from his house.
The Year at Thrush Green : Miss Read :
Could you possibly have the administration side at your house? Edward clapped his friend rather painfully on his shoulder. Terribly grateful, old boy. Must dash now. I've got some urgent posting to do, and I want to get back by the fire pretty soon. By midday a vicious little wind had sprung up. It threw a spattering of dead leaves against the window of the Youngs' house where Joan was watering a bowl of early hyacinths.
She looked across the garden, and saw the branches of a lime tree tossing in the wind, and its last few leaves being swept away. She heard the slamming of the back door, and her husband's voice, and went to greet him in the kitchen. He was standing with his back to the Aga, rubbing his cold hands together. Molly Curdle, once Molly Piggott, daughter of Albert, was rolling out pastry at the kitchen table. She and her husband Ben Curdle lived in a cottage which the Youngs had converted from their stables for Joan's parents, now both dead.
Molly had started working for Edward and Joan when their son Paul was a little boy. She had taken him for walks, played with him, bathed him and put him to bed. The bond between them had strengthened over the years, and although Paul was now away at boarding school, it was Molly he rushed to greet first on coming home.
The sky grew darker.
Black clouds gathered ominously, swept along by a bitter and relentless wind. Dead leaves, twigs and a couple of paper bags eddied across Thrush Green, now airborne, now dashed spasmodically along the ground. There was a howling in the trees in the garden, and an even more intense roaring in the avenue of horse chestnut trees outside the Youngs' house. By three o'clock the snow was whirling across the scene, blotting out the view of St Andrew's church and the wind-tossed trees surrounding it.
It was a wild and fearsome landscape, suddenly devoid of human figures. Joan Young, watching from her windows, thought of arctic wastes, of the cruelty of nature and of man's sudden diminution in the face of weather extremes. But, as she watched the fury of the blizzard sweeping across Thrush Green, she saw signs of humanity. From the school on her right a few small figures emerged, as two cars drew up at the gate.
The children were bundled up in coats with upturned collars and hats pulled down over their ears, and some had long scarves round their necks, tied crosswise round their swaddled bodies to form a bustle at the back.
They clambered into the cars, and drove away through the whirling maelstrom, out of Joan's sight. Soon, she knew, others would be collected, and for the few who lived along the lane to Nod and Nidden, no doubt, kind and conscientious Alan Lester would act as taxi-man in his own car. The numbers at Thrush Green school did not warrant a school bus. Shivering in the draught from the window, Joan crossed the room to add logs to the fire.
She reviewed the food situation as she went about her duties. Had she forgotten anything vital should the snow keep them penned indoors? Bread, flour, potatoes, root vegetables and all those things which her old friend Donald Bailey had advised his neighbours to get in, once the wind had taken up its unwelcome quarter in the north-east, she thought she had remembered. But it was other vital things which invariably escaped the memory.
Salt, sugar, the special Frank Cooper's marmalade which Edward so much relished — all these, in the past, had been casualties of the demands of emergencies, and no doubt would be again sometime. The wind howled in the chimney, and every now and again there would be a sharp hiss from the logs on the fire as a snowflake descended to a fiery death.
A particularly violent gust sent a puff of smoke into the room, and Joan went across to pull the curtains against the bitter world outside. In the Cotswold village of Thrush Green, an abandoned dog is found in the church, one of the locals is very ill and a tall blonde American is noticed wandering round the village. Miss Read is the pseudonym of Mrs. Dora Saint, a former schoolteacher beloved for her novels of English rural life, especially those set in the fictional villages of Thrush Green and Fairacre.
The first of these, Village School, was published in , and Miss Read continued to write until her retirement in She lives in Berkshire. Visit Seller's Storefront. Shipping costs are based on books weighing 2. If your book order is heavy or oversized, we may contact you to let you know extra shipping is required.
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