Saturday, January 25, 2020


Frankly, I never thought I'd be interested in writing any sort of a memoir. But this morning my muse, who, as you know, has been overactive recently, magicked an idea into my mind.

As is my usual habit, I lay in quiet contemplation, gazing out the window. (more on that later!... and no, I don't do what I sometimes see advised on the web i.e. jump out of bed and exercise. What remains of my dream experiences, or inspirations from that time between sleep and waking are too precious, so I try to hang onto them).

For some reason I started to remember different windows in rooms, homes, houses, flats even a couple of caravans, which, over the years,  I've looked out of on waking; how I felt, what they meant, what the place was like. So whether or not anything much will come of it, I'll consider this aspect of my life. And be grateful!

If I were a good drawer, I could provide images; images which would open that magic bottom drawer for you. This reminds me that my grandmother used to advise "Keep that (e.g. an especially nice item of clothing or napery) for your bottom drawer." She meant, for after I was married. but marriage as a goal was never my dream when I was a child... maybe, someday, one day in my thirties, say, I'd meet someone and settle down. Till then, the world and all it had to offer lay before me like a treasure chest, waiting to be opened. And no, not like Pandora's box.

So what happened? As the fates would have it, I got married at twenty-one. That led to what is now most treasured in my life: my family.

This photo, however, was taken a couple of years ago when I was staying with a very dear friend in Constantia, Cape Town. Every morning I looked out and watched the sun lighting and gracing the slopes of this beloved mountain. Every day I felt bathed in warmth and beauty.

This January, I'm in the cold depths of winter and yes, a different kind of beauty.

Friday, January 17, 2020


Maybe it's to do with winter hibernation, or the new year and decade, but I'm finally back in my writing mode. Losing my husband of nearly sixty years meant I took a while to adjust to this new reality. It also means I have less writing time because... well, nobody tells you that when you become a widow you have to do all the things your spouse used to do!

Still, I count myself fortunate. Looking back over last year, two wonderful experiences contributed greatly towards my being newly inspired. The first was a visit to Rodmell where Virginia Woolf had her 'room of her own', actually a writing hut (son-in-law, artist Richard Heys, taking a photo of her writing desk, now blocked off from the other half of the hut, which visitors can access... when I went twenty-five years ago you could still go in)

 set in a glorious garden.

The other was to Knole in Lewes where Vita Sackville-West grew up. The scale of it, and the surrounding park, came as a big surprise.

Over the years I've visited Rudyard Kipling's house, seen his writing desk and grand study, as well as Henry James's Georgian home. Luckily, I'm happy with my modest study/writing room, and enjoy settling down most weekday mornings.