Tag Archives: watership down

Remembering Richard Adams and Watership Down

Carrie Fisher died on December 27th which was tragic because she was only 60. However, I was more sad to learn that Richard Adams died that same day because I had more of a relationship with his work than I did for Ms. Fisher’s.

I don’t remember how I first learned about Watership Down, maybe Jeremy told me about it? Maybe a teacher recommended it? All I know is that I read it in 1975/1976. I loved it. That may have been because I enjoyed watching the rabbits that congregated in our back yard when I was a child or maybe I got to like the rabbits because I’d read the book.

Decendent of the rabbits I watched as a child near the rabbit Jeremy painted on the garage door
Descendant of the rabbits I watched as a child near the rabbit Jeremy painted on the garage door

Not only did I read Watership Down, but I also read a book that was frequently referenced in Watership Down: R. M. Lockley‘s The Private Life of the Rabbit. I am sure that my friends and family grew weary of my never ending facts about rabbits. (they sometimes eat their own poop; females can absorb embryos if the environment is too hostile for giving birth)

I also started collecting rabbit figurines, most of which I still own.

When I was in England in 1976 Jeremy’s father offered to take me anywhere in the UK as long as it was somehow tied to a book. One of the places we visited that year was the real, actual Watership Down in Hampshire. Jeremy found a piece of rock there and created a one-of-a-kind souvenir of our visit.

Jeremy at Watership Down
Jeremy at Watership Down
watership down out of white rock
Watership Down out of white rock

Shortly after the Watership Down film was released in 1978, Jeremy and I saw it at a cinema in Leeds.

So you can see I was quite the fan of the book by Richard Adams whose death was eclipsed by the death of Carrie Fisher. (Not unlike C. S. Lewis’ death being eclipsed by the death of JFK) I am deeply grateful to Mr. Adams for giving me Watership Down which led to so many related experiences which led to so many wonderful memories.

Where’s Your Mecca?

This morning as I gazed sleepily at my Moosewood Restaurant coffee cup I remembered fondly the time I dragged my husband, young children and mother to the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York. We were on our way to or back from Toronto and, since I’d been a loyal fan of their cookbooks for several years, I wanted to eat at the restaurant — something that had been on my wishlist for years — so the detour was made. The food was great and just being at the restaurant was special, so I think the detour was worth it.

The only other Meccas for me were C. S. Lewis’ home and Watership Down — both of which I visited in the late 1970s when Jeremy’s father drove Jeremy and me down the backbone of England to visit relatives near Dover. He asked if there were any [literary — he was a librarian] sites I wanted to see and of course I said Oxford and then added Watership Down since that was nearby. I believe we also visited Stonehenge on that trip. So, I suppose we hit three of my Meccas that year.

This post makes me want to revisit (in this blog) every place Jack Burgoyne took me. He was a huge influence on the adult I became. While I don’t regret my decisions about his son, I do regret that meant I lost Jack.

Do you have a Mecca? Where is it? Have you visited it? Did it live up to your expectations?