The thought of writing a memoir had never crossed my mind. I’ve listened intently as members of my writers’ group read from their life writings. One member decided to defy convention and sail around the world with her children. Another lived in India for years to learn the practice of Ayurveda, a form of traditional Indian medicine. Both amazing life experiences. But, consciously thinking about writing about my life experiences might not have occurred to me but, the fact was, I’d been doing it for years.
I first became aware of Gerald Durrell when someone gave me a copy of one of his books. After reading that book, My Family and Other Animals, I learned that Gerald Durrell had started a ‘zoo’ in Jersey, Channel Islands. As I would find out later, through my own first-hand experience, it was – and still is – so much more than a ‘zoo’.
Let’s face it, 2020 has been a shit year, so far, but one good thing that has come out of it for me, is that it has highlighted the things that are really important.
Whilst on safari, I lost weight fairly quickly and it wasn’t just to do with the heat. After enjoying a sundowner watching impala gambol happily in the bush, we would return to camp to find them on the dinner menu, which was just too hard to swallow. The only time I have ever been offered a gin and tonic for breakfast at 5.00a.m. was on safari and it was the only time I have ever refused one, sensibly realising I was getting enough quinine in my anti-malarial tablets.
I was born at my parent’s home in Fulwith Mill Lane, Harrogate. A stone’s throw away from the viaduct on the south side of town. I remember little about the house, as my parents decided to uproot my tender sapling self, aged three and replant me down south.
Despite my roots being pulled out from underneath me at such an early age, the draw of the place of my birth remains strong. It will forever be etched upon my heart.
In May 2000, I took three months out and went on a much overdue sabbatical. We were travelling light, although my Yamaha keyboard found its way into the boot. I still believed in my abilities as a songwriter in those days. On the back seat of the Mazda, was the ultimate in carefree holiday accessories, P’s fourteen-month-old daughter, G, whose favourite toys were the talking Teletubbies, La La and Dipsy.
It was hot and steamy on the makeshift dance floor as I swilled what I thought was a lot of bitter lemon with a little gin, but the bitter lemon disguised a lethal cocktail of various spirits. With my sound system set to max volume, Tina Turner’s Nutbush City Limits began to sound hollow and distant as my surroundings blurred and my speech slurred. I managed to make it upstairs to the bathroom where, kneeling in front of the lavatory, I projectile vomited the fermenting brew inside my stomach.
By the time I was twelve, I had been at boarding school for a year and had become a bit of a comedienne. I was the classroom joker, not the brightest thing to be, but I was fuelled by an inner rebellion, which I seemed unable to subdue. So, I took my anger out on the system.
CONCORDE – A SLEEK MODERN MIRACLE OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY As a Concorde enthusiast, I am luckier than most; I flew on her twice, and my late stepfather was Chief Test Pilot, Brian Trubshaw. It grieves me to say I have no memory of 9th April 1969 – the day […]
On the 9th April 1969, as Concorde 002 was rolled out on to the tarmac, test pilot Brian Trubshaw had made a decision. If there was no failure flag he would just keep on going and that is exactly what happened.
I love flying, but my knowledge of aircraft is on a par with my knowledge of motor vehicles … zilch. I view them as a way to get from A to B. Yet, some time ago, I actually fell in love with an aircraft – Concorde. OK it is fair to […]