The only place I have always wanted to go to was Italy. After I had finished my training as a nurse and had landed a job as a Staff Nurse at age forty-five, Robin said, ‘I think you deserve a holiday. You’ve never really had one, so what would you like best?’
I was four years old. My family consisted of my Mother, my two elder sisters and Pro, a teacher who spent her retirement acting as nanny or governess to various families with children. My sisters believe she was Mother’s paid companion. I just thought she was someone Mother had met on the boat on our … Continue reading Box 6: The day I raised the level of The Atlantic
Our youngest, Leonie, was the first to marry, having asked permission of her two older siblings! I was mindful of the things that slightly marred our own Wedding Day, which was otherwise small, intimate and very enjoyable. One was that my mother and I quarrelled about my choice of wedding dress, and the other that … Continue reading Box 5: A Tale of Two (ruined) Wedding Dresses
At the age of ten I was sent to boarding school. This was ostensibly so that my so-called education was not disrupted by our every move from house to flat, from village to town. I had already attended seven different schools, both private and public (private being those owned by the head teacher, public, those … Continue reading Box 4: The school sports jumper
I spent the worst nearly five years of my life at a prestigious boarding school. There were few alleviating factors. One was that at age 13 I passed an audition to join the school choir as an alto. I looked forward to every morning and evening service eagerly, and was distraught when the chosen hymn … Continue reading Box 3: Tennis Balls
We didn’t often have visitors to our little house in Bermuda. Bermuda was where my family spent most of the war years while my father, who had originally been stationed there, was now at Faslane. My two sisters had friends who would come and join them in the next door pool, or accompany them on kayak trips, but Mother was disinclined to have guests for herself.
I must have been about five years old. I know this because we were living at The Moorings, a pink cottage above the ferry dock and across the water from Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. As we moved house almost every year it is easy to pinpoint my age by where any given event takes place.