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Ashcombe: The Story of a Fifteen-year Lease Paperback – July 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dovecote Press (July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1874336660
  • ISBN-13: 978-1874336662
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,331,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Marshall on February 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
A short memoir to the home that Beaton took over in 1930. The cover is a nice painting by Rex Whistler, a friend of Beaton who died in the war. Though Beaton writes in his introduction that this is not a frivolous book, the beginning really seems just that. Frivolous can be good! And here it is.

Beaton also warns that we cannot look back on that time and understand the attitudes and carefree mindset (i.e. before the second world war) as it seems a very much fluff existence - an endless round of summer picnics, costume parties, walks through the countryside and photographing and painting- creativity all over. It is not clear when anyone actually did any work. Yet it is exhausting, and Beaton comes across as neurotic and at the very least annoying for those who want quiet time to relax.

But the second half of the book deals with WWII. Rationing, unknown in Germany, became a life-altering issue throughout England as early as 1940. The loss of friends and the bombing of London and even Wiltshire add to the sadness and terror and end of an innocent era. By this time his mother has come to live in the house for safety reasons and the gardens become an important source of food. The property was sometimes used for military training and though during the war he was often working in New York or throughout England and the Middle East- photographing- he longed to be at Ashcombe. Near the end of the war, the property was not in the pristine shape it once was, and his landlord's son wanted to move it- Beaton's lease was therefore not renewed. He was heartbroken and could not be there for the move; seeing the house dismantled or empty would have been too sad.

Extremely fast and easy read.
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