Many of us have harboured ambitions of getting out of the big smoke and living a quieter life in the country. Abbie Ross is here to give her account of her childhood in rural North Wales, a move that wouldn’t inititally seem ideal for a young person.
Abbie reckons her grandparents look and act like absolute superstars. They reckon this big move away from London and into the country is a very bad move indeed. Her grandfather thinks the country air is bad for his son and her grandmother is passing remark on everything from the pictures on the wall to the clothes they wear. Their outlook is wildly different from Abbie’s parents and they can’t get over the hippy friends they hang around with and the fact they pick food for free, something they feel that only beggars do.
Abbie just wants to fit in with people and lead a much more conventional lifestyle. They get a lot of their food from The Happy Pear, a place stocked full of the sort of thing that the majority of people wouldn’t even class as real food. They’re not allowed to watch Benny Hill as it’s deemed to be unsuitable and are unable to join the games in school.
There’s great happiness as time goes on as Abbie appreciates the beauty of the country lane and the wonderful surroundings. Her mother is a free and happy sort and Abbie remembers her singing along to Tom Waits and Fleetwood Mac and the friends they have over at the house and the stories they tell. All the kids at school tell little white lies, something people are generally happy enough to go along with.
There’s great humour throughout as Abbie experiences new things. She goes to see Grease in the cinema and sees people French kissing in the seats in front and wonders what’s so French about it. John Travolta is deemed to be every bit as handsome as John Craven. She’s always trying to understand the peculiarities of the adult world, with a friend introducing her to adult magazine and some of the adults behaving in an inappropriate fashion.
Abbie Ross has given us a wonderfully evocative memoir that shows us the joys of childhood and the struggles involved in trying to fit in and adapt to a lifestyle that might be seen as somewhat different from the norm. It’s a lovely, warm account of a happy life in the country.