Although we had both been sent away at six,
for my cousin and I, despite now being the grand old age of seven, the new
boarding school was something of a challenge. Never mind the over new uniforms
with vast hems that shouted ‘new girls’, or being train sick on the way down,
or petrified that we might have lost our teddy bears in the luggage transfer,
it was supper that proved our undoing.
The inside page of COUNTRY LIFE
magazine always makes me feel so happy, not just for the inevitably pretty
young women pictured there, but for what has happened to the girls in pearls
that used to be there. They have disappeared!
No longer can we gaze with respect on young ladies in strapless evening
dresses wearing the traditional sign of purity around their swanlike necks,
their delicate arms poised on the balustrade leading to their parents’ rose
gardens, they are gone, and in their place have arrived not swans but tropical
birds of every hue.
My new novel THE LIGHT ON THE
SWAN which I wrote with Terence Brady as lively editor critic and contributor –
is set in what I can only call Old Ireland.
The reason for this is that I have hardly been back to visit the land of
the Celtic Tiger since I was first married.
A couple of weeks ago a school friend
sent me some letters I had written to her from when I was living in Paris, on
the Left Bank, at the ripe old age of sixteen.
Paris. Independence! Think
beautiful avenues, the sound of the accordion, Montmartre, the Opera House,
delightful food, watching the chic couples go b y from cafes and restaurants.
Of course it was all there, but in truth it was not a real part of my student
This is the foreword to the new e-book edition of CORONET AMONG THE GRASS just republished as an e-book on Amazon and Kindle.
It was a sequel to CORONET AMONG THE WEEDS and tells how I first met TERENCE and subsequently married him.
CORONET AMONG THE GRASS
remember so very well when this delightfully funny book was written. Being
Clever Drawers, I should do, but I’ll resist making any Clever-Drawer-ish sort
of remarks here.
As a child the sound of summer rain outside the window early in the morning was never dispiriting.
THE CORONATION OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II
June the 4Coronation Day! This date was surrounded by coloured crayoned stars in school girl diaries all over England, and for months and months before the date actually arrived. Everyone talked about this day of days to come. My cousin and I talked about it.
A while ago, on a sunny Sunday morning, I was attacked by a famous actress. We were giving her a lift to a friend's lunch party when as we went in, all having been very pleasant beforehand, she turned on me and accused me of being part of theBlack Economy.
It transpired something in a newspaper she had read had given her this impression. It seemed.I had made the great mistake of admitting paying cash to persons, known or unknown.
I remember I was playing hopscotch, by myself, having been left friendless by no more sinister occurrence than the odd numbers in my class - eleven, as it happens. 'We're all running away,' the voice said. I looked up, it was my cousin. Only too glad to be included in whatever game it was that was on, I ran after her. I remember I was wearing my school apron, well, we all were, which somehow enforced the idea that running after them was a game, a piece of make believe.
Life with grandparents when you are small has a particular glow. It is not that they spoil you, it is that they expect you to fall in with them, and that is oddly exciting. If they rise at dawn, you rise at dawn, if they serve grand teas with pretty patterned plates and expect you to hand round, that is what you do. Everything they do for you seems to be a treat, just because they are not your parents,just as everything you are to them is special, precisely because you are not their child.