RIP, Rosie

Apple orchard in the Slad Valley

Apple orchard in the Slad Valley - Credit: Archant

Rosalind Buckland, the real ‘Rosie Green’ of Laurie Lee’s most celebrated work, died on Saturday, just a few days short of turning 100.

Cider With Rosie

Cider With Rosie - Credit: Archant

Rosalind was a cousin of Laurie Lee, and is commemorated in the title of his memoir Cider With Rosie. Born Rosalind Gleed on September 17 1914, she grew up in Slad with her two brothers in a house built by her father.

Katie Jarvis interviewed the late Jim Fern – referred to as Little Jim in Cider With Rosie – for Cotswold Life in 2002. He, Laurie and Laurie’s brother Tony used to walk to school together, “when I was three and he was a big boy of seven, hence I know all about him. I used to go to their place and play with Tony. I’ve got memories of the eccentric mother, and I knew the three sisters who were teenagers at that time,” he said.

In later years, Jim took visitors on Laurie Lee walks through the valley.

He told me, “When he wrote the book, of course, there were about half a dozen “Rosies” who came out and said they were the ones. I knew jolly well they weren’t.

Rosalind Buckland

Rosalind Buckland - Credit: Archant

“I knew the real Rosie because she used to come hay-making with us – and she went to school with us. Her mother was one of those stalwart ladies who attended women who were expecting. She came to my birth – though I don’t remember much about it!

“I never considered Rosie, as a young girl, to be a seductress in the making – rather a high-spirited country girl. We all played together and made hay together. She just made more hay than others!

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“She’s still alive, and is a very attractive, well-dressed lady in her 80s. Laurie never revealed her full name, and I’m not sure I should now.”

Jim died in 2007, aged 89. After her husband’s death Rosalind Buckland retired to Cheltenham. She died on Saturday, September 13, just four days short of her 100th birthday.