Now ‘rich in years,’ while not in pocket (mentally forty), think wine rather than cheese… I was born in the county of Essex, between two major wars. The eldest of, eventually, four children, I – along with my brothers – was fortunate to live in a house which, while modest, had all mod.cons. To my ears, Dad’s mumblings about the ‘ominous sounds in the distance’ was probably thunder, not German guns aimed on Poland. Too soon, Adolf Hitler was a name to ridicule, along with his salute and goose-step, to be imitated in the school playground…Dad had joined the Royal Air Force Reserves, so was one of the first to be called up for duty. He and our Mum (later to work in war munitions) took us to the relative safety of Wales, where we lived with her first cousin – our dear aunt Sal, up a mountain of modest proportions, overlooking Merthyr Tydfil. It was to be many years before I was familiar with Dylan Thomas’ words “Coal black, sloe black, mines,” but what a life-forming, exciting time it was, despite missing my parents. I was allowed to walk far and wide and grew to love the Welsh hills covered in luscious blackberry bushes. We would collect the pregnant-juiced berries, to be joined by apples under a pastry roof, baked by Aunt Sal in the black-leaded oven. The aroma is with me still…
Dad, by then dispatched to join his unit in France, with Mum working, my two brothers and I found ourselves living next door to a chapel, and decided we should attend regularly in case God should peep in at our window, find us there, and punish us for our sins.…Finding solace in books, I joined the local library, and read frightening Brothers Grimm tales and stories from the pen of Hans Christian Anderson by candlelight, seduced from the start. Forming meaningful words on paper appealed and became a passion in later life. Sadly, due to the vagaries of war, I was evacuated on three different occasions, later to Neath and Derbyshire, which played havoc with my education..(I attended no less than seven schools, and didn’t take my English Literature exam until I was sixty-six!!)
Fortunately we, as a family, were spared in the Blitz and celebrated the end of hostilities with joy and the birth of another brother. I wore several hats thereafter and married in 1953. My dear husband and I travelled a fair bit and lived and worked in Toronto, Canada for eighteen, mind-stretching, months.
I went on to have three, healthy sons, and enjoyed the experience of becoming a shop-keeper and then a hotelier for several years, as my husband and I both enjoyed cooking and entertaining people.
When there was time… I read voraciously and wrote poems and short stories for my own amusement. When the lads were older, I ran a postal, poetry club, which was fun and started sending off poems, articles and short stories – receiving ‘thank you but no…’ replies, par for the course I was to learn! Then in 1973. my luck changed, while hardly dramatically, although it gave me a thrill to see some of my letters, articles and poetry in print. My first two, factual, books were published in 1984/5 Running Your Own Small Hotel and Jobs in Baking and Confectionery by Kogan Page Ltd, London. The hotel book was reprinted and, Yippee, I was an AUTH0R!
Since that time, I have retired to Spain and written many short stories and poems which have been included in various anthologies, first by WordPlay and then Writers’ Ink, latterly through the efforts of QGS Publishing. I wrote a Memoir My Gentle War (No.1 in Kindle’s Social History & Memoir category), which included excerpts from my father’s war diary, (In 2005; I was fortunate to win first prize in the first Torrevieja International Short Story competition.), and have since had a few other books published.
I can’t imagine a world without books to read or write…both are foods for the soul. I also treasure mixing with like-minded people and thoroughly enjoy being in the Chair for Writers’ Ink, a talented writing group here in Spain.
I also wrote a true adventure story: Hurricane Halsey, a faction novel: The Catalyst, and adapted From the Prairie to Passchendaele , a memoir written by a wonderful, brave man, born in the late 1800’s.
My husband, Eric, wrote a Memoir too, which I edited and had published, called A Life Worth Living, and good friend, Jean Wilson, and I squeezed in a collection of short, varied stories Where Angels & Devils Tread.
My Other Half and I also collaborated on a fun book of poems, limericks and silly jokes: The Moon is Wearing a Tutu