Friday, 24 May 2013

Land Girls

Land GirlsThe Novel, Land Girls by author Angela Huff, originally published in 198 is a great World War Two novel. Three women from completely different backgrounds are united when they arrive at the Lawrence Farm in rural England. They develop a bond which will see their friendship last for the rest of their lives.  This is a far better novel than it was a film - even though I loved the film which starred  Anna Friel, Rachel Weisz and Catherine McCormack. The problem is, and it's one that often happens, is that the film adaptation is rather different to the novel with certain facts having been altered, leaving you with differing impressions depending upon whether you watched the film or read the book!

Nonetheless, I enjoyed Huff's writing and the entire novel if I'm honest. It represents a fair account of life as a Land Girl and of living off the land as it were. There's the usual romance and love lost and then rekindled and there's the sadness of the loss of life because of war. For me, it was a well crafted novel, realistic and thoroughly enjoyable.

A relative of mine was herself a Land Girl from 1941 until the end of the war. She recollected the daily ration of  beetroot sandwiches - well, there was little else for them at lunch times. Then there was a girl called Bea, who used to secretly eat her stash of food or sweets if she had any, from her locker during their basic training. Thanks to rationing and food shortages she didn't like to share. Another girl  had a mysterious case of stomach ache, brought on quite suddenly and it was quite severe. As it turned out she was in labour and had concealed her pregnancy from everyone, thus heralding the end of her service career.

All in all it was enjoyable and good experience with many friends made for life, but as Aunty Jean says, it was incredibly hard work and a very tough life. Working in all weather, hard labour depending upon your task that day. And it was a long day with very little time off. Still, time off was relished and brought welcome relief and time for romance and dancing which she and her friends enjoyed immensely. Having kept in touch with her friends from those days, all former Land Girls, and enjoying annual reunions, there are now only two of their select group remaining.