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Cider with Grundy: on orchards and the commonplace in Ambridge

Walton, S (2016) Cider with Grundy: on orchards and the commonplace in Ambridge. In: The Archers in Fact and Fiction: Academic Analysis of Life in Rural Borsetshire, 17 February 2016, University of Liverpool in London.

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Abstract

This paper explores the rites and rituals of Ambridge’s cultural landscape through attention to the orchard. The practices of cider-pressing, wassailing, and drinking cider with Joe are all fundamental to village life. However, these traditions should not be seen as uninterrupted or continuous within the long history of Borsetshire. Since 1960, Britain has lost around 2/3rds of its orchards due to economic pressures, the rise of imported fruit, and changes in land use. As sites of community activity, this loss has caused a shift in nature-culture relations and alterations to co-constituted constructions of place (Cloke, Jones, 2000). In 1990, the environmental activist group Common Ground set to ‘create a calendar custom’ through the invention of Apple Day. The new festival’s ambition was to kindle communal and personal expressions about the meaning of nature-culture connections, urging people to interpret and value the rich fabric of the commonplace. Through attention to these contexts, I will read The Archers as a literature of place, reflective of histories of ecological and economic change in rural England, and of those cultural actions that sought to celebrate local distinctiveness and revive the notion of the orchard as a community asset and site of shared local knowledge and meaning.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2016 16:51
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 13:27
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/7308
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