Cotswold Granny.

Posted on 17/12/2017 By

Cotswold Granny: Bisley, where Margaret Long grew up. Always remembering that rural England in those days was true hardship. Nowadays the Cotswolds villages are highly sought after bearing no resemblance to working life a century ago.

Cotswold Granny.

It’s very nearly Christmas. Here at Mindfully Bertie we have a very special present for you. Our first book/booklet. Published in its 14 page entirety. Just as it was written in the fair hand of Diddley’s Cotswold Granny. Entitled “Things I Remember”. It’s best read in her beautiful handwriting but, if that is a problem, there is a type written script further down the blog.

Margaret Long was born in the five valleys of Stroud in January 1910. Living until 2001, she was Diddley’s Cotswold Granny. Her granddaughter had lots of stories about her, but this is Margaret’s story when she was growing up in Bisley in rural Gloucestershire. High up in the Cotswolds; surrounded by the valleys of Slad, the Golden Valley and Toadsmoor. Diddley told Bobby her granny had given her this book, but Bobby had never seen it until he was going through her own memorabilia recently. Inevitably, being written in Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie country, it is reminiscent of that era, but in fact represents a time probably a little earlier than his masterpiece.

Cotswold Granny: Margaret Long. Diddley’s Cotswold Granny. Seen here with Vicky her beloved dog when she stayed at Laurel Cottage before Bobby’s time there.

Margaret Long. Diddley’s Cotswold Granny. Seen here with Vicky her beloved dog when she stayed at Laurel Cottage before Bobby’s time there.

She wanted people to know what childhood was like in her young days in rural Gloucestershire. Half a century later, Diddley’s own roots were laid down there. Here is Cotswold Granny’s story, interspersed with photographs from that wonderful part of the world.

Things I Remember.

Page 1

Cotswold Granny: Page 1.

Page 1.

Cotswold Granny: One of the five valleys near Stroud.

One of the five valleys near Stroud.

Page 2

Cotswold Granny: Page 2

Page 2

Cotswold Granny: Delivering the milk.

Delivering the milk.

Page 3

Cotswold Granny: Page 3

Page 3

Cotswold Granny: Holy Trinity Church Slad. (Where Laurie Lee is buried).

Holy Trinity Church Slad. (Where Laurie Lee is buried).

Page 4

Cotswold Granny: Page 4

Page 4

Cotswold Granny: Frank Mansell. Poet.

Frank Mansell. Poet.

Cotswold Granny: “I’d sooner go hedging” by Frank Mansell.

“I’d sooner go hedging” by Frank Mansell.

(See: www.mindfullybertie.org.uk/category/frank-mansell)

Page 5

Cotswold Granny: Page 5

Page 5

Cotswold Granny: Slad Valley, near Stroud, above the Woolpack pub.

Slad Valley, near Stroud, above the Woolpack pub.

Page 6

Cotswold Granny: Page 6

Page 6

Cotswold Granny: Snowing in the Cotswolds. Tyre tracks or cart tracks. Who knows?

Snowing in the Cotswolds. Tyre tracks or cart tracks. Who knows?

Page 7

Cotswold Granny: Page 7

Page 7

Cotswold Granny: Snowdrops at Cherrington Lakes, near Stroud.

Snowdrops at Cherrington Lakes, near Stroud.

Page 8

Cotswold Granny: Page 8

Page 8

Cotswold Granny: St Mary Painswick. The church of 99 yew trees (all numbered with small plaques).

St Mary Painswick. The church of 99 yew trees (all numbered with small plaques).

Page 9

Cotswold Granny: Page 9

Page 9

Cotswold Granny: Bisley, where Margaret Long grew up. Always remembering that rural England in those days was true hardship. Nowadays the Cotswolds villages are highly sought after bearing no resemblance to working life a century ago.

Bisley, where Margaret Long grew up. Always remembering that rural England in those days was true hardship. Nowadays the Cotswolds villages are highly sought after bearing no resemblance to working life a century ago.

Cotswold Granny: Bisley - The Seven Springs.

Bisley – The Seven Springs.

Page 10

Cotswold Granny: Page 10

Page 10

Cotswold Granny: Swifts Hill, Slad (where Diddley’s ashes lie). Looking towards Wales across the Severn Valley.

Swifts Hill, Slad (where Diddley’s ashes lie). Looking towards Wales across the Severn Valley.

Page 11

Cotswold Granny: Page 11

Page 11

Cotswold Granny: Nymphsfield Milestone.

Nymphsfield Milestone.

Cotswold Granny: Uley beer. Genuine Cotswold Ale. Brewed at Dursley. “Old Spot” at the Woolpack.

Uley beer. Genuine Cotswold Ale. Brewed at Dursley. “Old Spot” at the Woolpack.

Page 12

Cotdwold Granny: Page 12

Page 12

Cotswold Granny: Stroudwater Canal. Ebley, near Stroud.

Stroudwater Canal. Ebley, near Stroud.

Page 13

Cotswold Granny: Page 13

Page 13

Cotswold Granny: Ballinger Lock on the Thames & Severn Canal, Chalford, in Margaret’s youth.

Ballinger Lock on the Thames & Severn Canal, Chalford, in Margaret’s youth.

Page 14

Cotswold Granny: Page 14

Page 14

Cotswold Granny: And finally, back to Frank Mansell’s House at Salt Box near Sheepscombe. One of his poems described his feelings about selling it to a town dweller. Here it is...

And finally, back to Frank Mansell’s House at Salt Box near Sheepscombe. One of his poems described his feelings about selling it to a town dweller. Here it is…

Cotswold Granny: "The Cottager's Reply" by Frank Mansell.

“The Cottager’s Reply” by Frank Mansell.

Or better still. Here it is sung in traditional style:

Please click here for the link to the typed text of Cotswold Granny.

Lighting Candles to Diddley

Cotswold Granny: Christmas at the ready!

Christmas at the ready!

Well here we are in front of that kitchen window. Its a big moment. This is the first time the Christmas decorations have come out of the loft since we lost Diddley. There’s a lot in this picture. The bird table, so loved by the rat. The bird feeders swarming with goldfinches. A silent prism hiding its secret in the rain. A pathetic little Christmas Tree, when once they were ceiling to floor. A teddy bear angel. Robins galore. Loads of candles, including one that has never been lit in 18 years. A Christmas Wreath made by Bobby at the National Trust. A picture of a young Diddley, given to her by Amber. RIP. The red book, in which Bobby found “Things I remember”. Betty Boop, with Diddley’s favourite scarf keeping her ample bosom warm. Brooklands Bertie ready for the racetrack. Bobby 2. Me. But who is that other bear?

He is “Bear without a name”. Bobby’s shame. You think Bobby is nice, but he hasn’t been to “Bear without a name”. He came from the same shop in Dorking as me. Same year. 1991. But he has a problem not evident when he was bought somewhat expensively. Unlike me, he is stuffed with beads. They settle and so does “Bear without a name’s” head. Making him look downtrodden and thoroughly miserable.

Over the years many bears have come on gone from Laurel Cottage. But, somehow, Bobby has never had the courage to get rid of “Bear without a name”. He is a lovely bear, but needs to cheer up.

So next week we are going to give him his own little blog and a competition to choose his name. He won’t be the prize! I’ll think of something appropriate…

So “Bear without a name”. 2018 is your year. Bobby is sorry.

Cotswold Granny: “It wasn't my fault, Bertie. Was it?”

“It wasn’t my fault, Bertie. Was it?”

Cotswold Granny: I would love to join in some of your adventures.

I would love to join in some of your adventures.

Cotswold Granny: Lighting a Candle for Diddley - Finally lit after eighteen years. Merry Christmas, Diddley. (Thank you Merrill)

Finally lit after eighteen years. Merry Christmas, Diddley. (Thank you Merrill)

Cotswold Granny    


  1. Chris Norman says:

    Good to see the old pictures. I wonder where they were sledging on the road certainly not the Slad road as the hill falls the wrong way. Would be able to do that now as the would someone in a 4×4 driving down.

    • Bertie says:

      The snow picture came from the front cover of the Laurie Lee Christmas book published a couple of years ago.

  2. Bernard says:

    Some fine memories of a by-gone age. Would this be of interest to a museum (Museum in the Park – Stroud !)

    • Bertie says:

      A friend involved with Dorking Museum has given me some ideas as well. I am shutting down gradually fo the holiday. There will be a Christmas Eve blog. Quite different to this one! Two competitions. Hope you join in.

  3. Rob says:

    Fascinating trip back in time to rural Gloucestershire. What an insight into how people lived and got on with life quite happily without modern technology. Perhaps they enjoyed life more then ?

  4. katherine says:

    a wonderful glimpse into that time.. we used to play ‘hunt the thimble’ with my grandma…the fact that the thimble was silver coloured made it feel so exciting when you found it.. happy Christmas – glad you got your christmas decorations out x

    • Bertie says:

      Possibly rose coloured spectacles from a survivor of a time when child mortality was far worse than now. Adult mortality far worse. They scraped through on poor diets. Diseases largely eradicated now but rampant then . Damp cold cottages. TB. Nowadays we yearn for the freedom they once had from the trappings of our modern technology world. But would we exchange it for no electricity. No running water etc. .?

    • Bertie says:

      Thank you Kath

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