Sunday, August 31, 2008

Let's raise a magnifying glass to the Guardian's elite band of female country diarists

Martin Wainwright writing in,
Saturday August 30 2008

The words "Herefordshire countryside" evoke the epitome of English sweetness, but I can assure you that it ain't necessarily so. I spent Friday morning reconnoitring the route that a sturdy posse of Guardian readers and writers took yesterday to celebrate a century of female contributors to the paper's country diary.
You see the need for such vigilant, observant recorders as soon as you encounter your first firmly locked gate or a heap of glutinous manure piled across the long distance footpath, the Herefordshire Trail. No offence to the county's farmers; they have an important job to do, crops to protect and animals that mustn't stray on to the Abergavenny road.
It is up to us, the visitors from towns, to learn how to navigate this beautiful but busily working landscape. When we've done so on this occasion, taking a six-mile loop from Kilpeck with its wonderfully-carved Norman church, we will raise a cup of celebratory tea to 11 women who have made such operations easier and infinitely more rewarding.

Their work makes up the new collection of Guardian country diaries, A Good Year for Blossom, which leaves the reader in no doubt about the quality of the women who broke a long-standing male monopoly. In the vanguard from 1915 was the prominent suffragette Helena Swanwick, sister of the painter Walter Sickert. By her side, in the 1920s, stood Janet Case, the modest but determined scholar who tutored Virginia Woolf in Greek.
Read Wainwright's full piece at the Guardian online.

1 comment:

Virginia Harris said...

Hooray for the Suffragettes!

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Even on the question of whether women should vote!

Most people are totally in the dark about HOW the suffragettes won votes for women, and what life was REALLY like for women before they did.

Suffragettes were opposed by many women who were what was known as 'anti.'

The most influential 'anti' lived in the White House. First Lady Edith Wilson was a wealthy Washington widow who married President Wilson in 1915.

Her role in Wilson's decision to jail and torture Alice Paul and hundreds of other suffragettes will never be fully known, but she was outraged that these women picketed her husband's White House.

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