Alison Prince, aged 86, lives on the Isle of Arran. Many will know her through the children’s TV series ‘Trumpton’ and ‘Jacknory’ and through her children’s fiction and her poetry.
One of my poems, ‘Miracle,’ is about a mother having to give away a baby. I had a child when I was just out of college. My parents were very supportive, but there was really no other way ahead than for him to be adopted. I never forgot him. I was sitting here one night when the phone rang and a very nervous voice said, ‘Hello, I think I am your son.’ I knew at once that it was true. There was something very familiar about the voice. We met at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow. He ran up the steps and we embraced. We have kept in touch ever since.
The aspect of ageing I fear most is becoming a nuisance to other people. There are health issues, too, but I can accept those as part of life. Last year I had a heart valve transplant, which made me breathless and playing the clarinet difficult. In the mid 1950s, I travelled around Europe for three months on seven pounds. And I then went to India. But I don’t travel much these days.
You don’t have the power to choose what things in your life influence your writing. They either lodge in your mind, or they don’t. I think my creativity has changed over the years. The physical energy is less. I used to be able to keep going almost without a stop. I am writing far more poetry than I used to, partly because I work in shorter, but more intensive bursts. Also, I no longer want to do that huge output thing. A lot of my writing is by hand in notebooks, which I carry around with me.
Quite obviously I don’t have the memory that I used to and I have just lost my driving licence which means a huge loss of freedom. There are moments, when the batteries are low, that I think, O sod it!’