Time and physical setting

The short story “How I Learnt to be a Real Countrywoman” by Deborah Moggach was published in 1995, and the events probably happen during that period. The time setting can be identified by elements such as the television shows mentioned and the fact that Ruthie rents video tapes.

The main physical setting is Somerset (ll. 34-35), a county in South West England. Another important part of the physical setting is represented by London, particularly by Camden Town,where Edwin and Ruthie used to live before Edwin lost his job.

Beckham Wood is another important element of the physical setting. Ruthie enjoys going in the wood with her children, and becomes attached to it (ll. 14-18). Although the wood is rather unattractive, Ruthie still feels connected to it, as the plan to save it breaks her routine and gives her a sense of purpose, something which she did not have since moving to Somerset:

It was mostly brambles, and trees I couldn't name because I had always lived in London. There was a small, black pond; it smelt like damp laundry one has forgotten about in the back of a cupboard. Not a lot grew in the wood, except Diet Pepsi cans and objects which my children thought were balloons until I distracted their attention. (ll. 20-25)

At the end, when Ruthie finishes her plan, Beckham Wood is unrecognizable:

We planted the Lady's Slipper (cypripedium calceolus), the Lizard and the Bird's Nest (neottia nidusavis), all extremely rare (...) I planted them tenderly in the patches I had cleared amongst the brambles. Above us the birds sang, and the watery spring sunshine gleamed on th...

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