Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting ‘Thrush Green’ with Jill Saint – the daughter of Dora Saint or ‘Miss Read’ as she’s widely known to her readers.
Where Miss Read’s ‘Fairacre’ is a fictional place, ‘Thrush Green’ was inspired by Woodgreen near Witney in Oxfordshire and it’s still instantly recognisable today from the books which were published from 1959.
The pub, The Three Pigeons, was the inspiration behind Thrush Green’s ‘The Two Pheasants’ as patronised by the irascible Albert Piggot, and the cottages and fine houses in the golden stone of the Cotswolds were home to characters such as Harold Shoosmith, Dr Bailey and Ella and Dimity.
After touring the green with Jill, Roy and I took a quick drive to the nearby town of Witney which was ‘Lulling’ in the books, and was the home of Dora Saint between 1940 – 1945. Like Woodgreen, it’s full of picturesque homes and it’s easy to see how a writer would be inspired to write stories set in such a place.
From Witney, we drove on to the Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water through which flows the beautiful River Windrush which Dora Saint called the Pleshy in the Thrush Green books. Even on a bitterly cold day in November, it was breathtakingly lovely and the surrounding countryside certainly made this writer want to reach for her pen and paper!
Did you know that there is a new Miss Read book out now? Mrs Griffin Sends her Love is a gorgeous collection of essays and short pieces of fiction collected together for the very first time. With a lovely foreword and insightful introductions throughout from Jill Saint, I can highly recommend it.