(March 23rd to April 3rd)

Format: Triple

‘Have it as you’ve a mind to,’ he was saying, ‘but the vivers of her roots they hold the bank together. If you grub her out, the bank she’ll all come tearing down, an’ next floods the brook’ll all swarve up. But have it as you’ve a mind…’


This is from “Hal ‘o the Draft” in Puck of Pook’s Hill, which tells of a local Sussex iron-master of the sixteenth century making cannons for a pirate under the cover of his proper business, and hiding them in the church. At the end of the tale the children hear Hobden telling their father how unwise it would be to grub out an old oak. He really wants it kept as the best place on the estate for catching rabbits. Sussex people don’t change too much.

‘…The brook she’d crep’ up on us, an’ she kep’ creepin’ upon us till we was workin’ knee deep in the shallers, cuttin’ an’ pookin’ an pullin’ what we could get to o’ the rubbbish. There was a middlin’ lot comin’ down-stream, too – cattle-bars an’ hop-poles and odds-end bats, all poltin’ down together…’


This is from “Friendly Brook” in A Diversity of Creatures. Two Sussex hedgers are remembering a time when the brook in their valley flooded. It had carried away a bridge and drowned a blackmailer who had been bleeding Jim Wickenden week after week. Ever after, Jim was grateful to the brook.

…’Twas hot an’ windy for weeks, an’ the streets stinkin’ o’ dried ‘orse-dung blowin’ from side to side an’ lyin’ level with the kerb. We don’t get that nowadays. I ‘ad my ‘ol’day just before hoppin’, an’ come down ‘ere to stay with Bessie again. She noticed I’d lost flesh, an’ was all poochy under the eyes.’…


This is from “The Wish House” in Debits and Credits. Two old Sussex women are reminiscing. One, Mrs Ashcroft, is recalling how she had taken on herself the pains and illness that
otherwise her lover would have suffered. In consequence she has a cancer on her leg, and sooner or later will die of it.