Scranletting down to Ticklepenny Corner

Having seen the great 1995 film of Cold Comfort Farm a few times, and knowing it was a parody of a genre that no longer really exists, the wife and I decided to find out just what that genre was. So I picked up a copy of Mary Webb‘s Precious Bane, and well…

It was at a love-spinning that I saw Kester first. And if, in these new-fangled days, when strange inventions crowd upon us, when I hear tell there is even a machine coming into use in some parts of the country for reaping and mowing, if those that mayhappen will read this don’t know what a love-spinning was, they shall hear in good time…

Kester says that all tales, true tales or romancings, go farther back than the days of the child; aye, farther even than the little babe in its cot of rushes. Maybe you never slept in a cot of rushes; but all of us did at Sarn. There is such a plenty of rushes at Sarn, and old Beguildy’s missus was a great one for plaiting them on rounded barrel-hoops. Then they’d be set on rockers, and a nice clean cradle they made, soft and green, so that the babe could feel as big-sorted as a little caterpillar (painted butterflies-as-is-to-be, Kester calls them) sleeping in its cocoon. Kester’s very set about such things. Never will he say caterpillars. He’ll say, ‘There’s a lot of butter-flies-as-is-to-be on our cabbages, Prue.’ He won’t say ‘It’s winter.’ He’ll say, ‘Summer’s sleeping.’ And there’s no bud little enough nor sad-coloured enough for Kester not to callen it the beginnings of the blow…

And that’s just from the first page. I should be keeping a list of old Shropshire words to look up. O ah.

The weird part is that I’m actually quite enjoying the book.

Not having actually read Cold Comfort Farm, I hadn’t realized that it was science fiction, sorta, at least in terms of being set in the future and having videophones and such. Was that some sort of commentary about looking to the future rather than the past? [Golly, that makes it sound way more boring than I’m sure it is…] O ah.

One of Mary Webb’s other books, Gone to Earth, was filmed by The Archers, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, among the greatest of filmmakers. It seems to be available now in some sort of Korean import. Was its heroine the original of Elfine, the little Pharisee of the Forest? (Probably not, I’m only guessing based on a quick summary of Gone to Earth.)

Well, I must be off to clettering the dishes with me old twig now–

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3 Responses to “Scranletting down to Ticklepenny Corner”

  1. Precious Bane « Michael Lauer’s Weblog Says:

    […] now read Precious Bane, and as I mentioned before, I’m shocked to find that I loved it.  It’s not what I generally think of as my cup of […]

  2. Steve Says:

    So Scranletting is reaping with a machine?

  3. Katherine Says:

    It’s one of my very favourite movies.

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