Private Enterprise by Angela Thirkell

Where do I go when I want a bit of comfort reading? West Barsetshire circa 1947 of course courtesy of Angela Thirkell. In Private Enterprise we’re back hobnobbing in the homes of the Mertons and Brandons and all the well known families of the county, where the villages have names like Winter Underclose, Winter Overcotes, Eiderdown, Little Misfit and Worsted.

As ever they’re all bound together by a mutual hatred of the bishop and his wife and any strangers in their midst are regarded as ‘good eggs’ if they too have a dislike of everything to do with the bishop and his palace.

Mrs. Arbuthnot is a young widow who has come to live in the county and Colin thinks he’s in love and makes a nuisance of himself and a new vicar has arrived and is in need of a wife too.

Otherwise the talk is all of the Labour government and Them in general and food and clothes rationing is a hot topic with the government putting bread on the ration. World War II has been over for more than a year but living conditions are getting worse for the people of Britain. Any so called luxuries which are being made in Britain are being sold abroad to try to pay off the country’s debts. If you want to know more about rationing you can read about it here or see a video. It continued until 1954.

Does any of this remind you of anything?! The talk is all of austerity, austerity – just as it is now. I’m convinced that politicians of every type just want to control the general population and to that end they like to whip up consternation and panic, whether it’s about bread or as it is today – petrol.

Anyway, I’ve sort of strayed away from Private Enterprise, if you enjoy books about life in Britain in the 1940s then you’ll like this book. There’s plenty of humour and worldly wisdom and romance thrown in too.