A personal account of a boyhood spent in a typical English village in the Cotswolds.
The text is generously illustrated with photographs from the period and illustrations by the author.
It will be of particular interest to those who have lived in or around this part of England.
The Last Days is a personal memoir of the author’s early life in the picturesque Cotswold village of Chedworth during the period 1940 to 1959. Barry Pilkington has a clear recollection of characters and events, describing them in an engaging and lively manner, and including many personal memories and anecdotes of his family and those living in the village at the time. These individual stories add a human interest and make the book very readable, while his expressive description of the countryside shows his affection for the area in which he spent his early years.
Like Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie, the book describes life in a Gloucestershire village when traditional country life was emerging into the ‘modern world’. In the early years of this period, agriculture and its supporting services and trades provided the main sources of occupation; horses were still widely used, water was drawn from wells and evenings were lit by oil lamps. The community was close-knit and centred around the church, school and local pub. Life was hard and the cottages lacked many facilities. Most country people, by necessity, shared a self-reliance which was not taught, but learnt over a lifetime, while tackling the daily tasks that needed to be done.
The book also traces how local life was affected by such major changes as the arrival of electricity, the spread of car ownership and changes in farming practice in the late 1940s and early 1950s.