Remembering George Orwell
1903, June 25. - 1950, January 21.

Eric & Us

A Remembrance of George Orwell
by Jacintha Buddicom
Published by Leslie Frewin Publishers Limited
London, UK. 1974

GEORGE ORWELL, one of the outstanding writers of the age, has become a symbolic tigure. There are many expositions of his political influence, his literary effect, his later years: even of his schooldays at St. Cyprian's and Eton. One aspect of his life, however, remains obscure: what was the boy Eric Blair really like at home and with his young friends of those days? Those writing of George Orwell have found little illumination, and he himself left no detailed account of his boyhood.
Jacintha Buddicom reveals that Eric Blair was an aloof and undemonstrative boy, self-sufficient and lacking the herd-instinct, he required no wide circle of friends. Nevertheless, at the age of eleven, in Shiplake, he observed a family of children to whom he apparently took a particular fancy.
These were the Buddicom children - Prosper, a year younger than himself, and the two girls: Jacintha, small for thirteen, and Guinever, aged seven. With some ingenuity he contrived to make their acquaintance: and from that sunny, summer afternoon Eric, with his little sister Avril, and the three young Buddicoms became very close friends indeed.
This important book is a simple and evocative account of that friendship, of everyday life in the world so far removed from the world of today : a world of candle-light and croquet, of caramels twelve-for-a-penny with the 1914-18 War as a convulsive but distant background.
To the young Eric with Prosper and Guiny it was a world of shooting, fishing and birdwatching: to the young Eric with Jacintha it was a world of books and poetry, and the confiding of dreams. Three of Eric Blair's poems of that period are now published for the first time, together with letters written in 1920-21 and 1949.
This book, in fascinating detail, shares her remembrance: it is a valuable contribution to the bibliography of George Orwell.

Jacintha Buddicom was born on May 10th 1901 at Plymouth. She believes that "things should be done well or not at all" - so, she modestly says, it is usually not at all.
However, she has designed two Shropshire houses, Meadowbrook -remarkable for its beauty, and Ticklerton Cottage remarkable for ingenuity in counteracting, without contravening, the 1947 restrictions: and two motor-caravans –also presumably remarkable, since both won prizes. (And she doesn.t even drive!)
She has written two books of poetry: one published long ago in America, and the recent enchanting CAT POEMS (Leslie Frewin).
She now lives with her sister Guinever, in sight of the sea in a Southern English town.

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