15 January 2023

Ronald Blythe

There have been so many deaths of people about whom I could write, but did not want to turn this blog into an obituary column! However, news of the death yesterday of Ronald Blythe prompts me at least to refer anyone reading this to the wonderful obituary in the Guardian by Patrick Barkham, at https://www.theguardian.com/books/2023/jan/15/ronald-blythe-obituary

I missed Akenfield when it came out in 1969 but, of course, since moving to Suffolk it has become of particular interest. I first came to notice and appreciate Ronnie’s work when I started to subscribe to the Church Times, as the only way of getting a copy of my own reviews when I started writing for it, and read – usually before anything else – his weekly back-page column, ‘Word from Wormingford’, which I invariably enjoyed. I once wrote to tell him so, and received a lovely reply. His memories of working for Britten and Pears were also very fascinating, especially as told in his book The Time by the Sea (2013). He did well to reach his centenary while still living independently at home.

I never met him, but I thank him for his wonderful evocations of Suffolk life, never sentimental, but always with the ring of truth. May he rest in peace and rise in glory!

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