“My life is so interesting that I think I shall feel aggrieved when I come to have to leave it.”
So speculated Fred Grice in 1975, aged 65, revealing his impish sense of humour. His life was interesting because he was interested; and his powers of observation and descriptive abilities have created this fascinating Journal. Rather than slowing down at retirement his interests spread and multiplied, starting from Worcester in the post-war years and culminating in the early 1980s in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. Observing life and describing it simply and vividly, he brings to life the many characters he came across in his exploration of the lanes of Worcestershire and the valleys of the Wye and the Severn.
His interests expanded to fill the pages of his Journal: nature and the passing of the seasons, architecture and archaeology, art galleries and museums, theatres and cinema.
A great admirer of the diarist Francis Kilvert, his book Francis Kilvert and his World was published in 1982. Kilvert would have been for Fred a model and inspiration. William Plomer, Kilvert’s editor, described Kilvert’s “special blend of honesty and appetite for life which gives the power to record everyday happenings while magically freeing them from banality and triviality”. Fred learnt well from this example, as these pages illustrate.