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Strong Women

Great-Grandma’s recipe book

  My great aunts recipe books have long fascinated me so when today I was sorting boxes to try and kick-start my research into their father’s life I allowed myself to distracted by one.  To call it a recipe book is rather misleading as the pages have long since detached themselves from the cover.  It … Continue reading »

Categories: 20th Century, Before 1st World War, Strong Women | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain – a review

The red flower for this Valentine’s Day piece is the scarlet poppy on the front of the Virago anniversary edition of Testament of Youth. First published in 1933 by Victor Gollancz, it became a great success both in the UK and the USA, and  familiar to a later generation when reissued in 1978 and a … Continue reading »

Categories: Books we've read, How we write, Miscellaneous, Strong Women, World War One | Leave a comment

Ammonites and Leaping Fish, by Penelope Lively

Published by Penguin/Fig Tree in 2013, this memoir is sub-titled ‘A life in Time’ by its distinguished author. She describes it as not exactly a memoir, ‘Rather, it is the view from old age.’ As well as being a fascinating read for anyone who is familiar with the writer’s work, it would also be helpful … Continue reading »

Categories: Books we've read, How we write, Legacies, Strong Women | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Sussex Land Girls – from 1917

Conference organised by the Wolfson Centre for Life Writing, held at Wolfson College, Oxford, 20-22 September 2013. The Land Army – Girls with backbone and breeches by Annie Hedrington. Amy de la Haye curated an exhibition on the Sussex Land Girls in Brighton, in 2009, telling their story through their uniform. I wish I had seen it. … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Strong Women | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Memories of the Aunts

Born in the 1880s my great-aunts were already well into their sixties by the time me and my brother arrived but to us they seemed ageless.  They had recently moved from Croydon to a colonial style bungalow in The Byeway, Little Common on Aunty Glad’s retirement and it was there we sent many sunny Saturdays (Sundays being … Continue reading »

Categories: Strong Women | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Summer holidays in Scotland – Edwardian Style

As the surprisingly hot summer days seem to be drawing to an end I was reminded that my great-grandfather used to decamp his family to Scotland to escape the London heat.   One of his daughters, my great aunt Gladys, was an enthusiastic photographer and I have some of her albums from those summers. The family … Continue reading »

Categories: Journeys, Strong Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Great Grandpa and the Education of Women

Or rather the education of his daughters in particular.  This account is based on what I remember of their stories and my mother’s memories. I have two books, elegantly bound in leather embossed in gold, that were presented to my great-aunt Ethel Liversedge as school prizes.  The first for English presented to her in 1898, … Continue reading »

Categories: Strong Women | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Seventy years ago

Peggy would never forget the day in May 1943 when she was sitting in the garden at Mardens , the house near Guildford where she was living as a paying guest. Pat, just six months old, was on her knee. There was a knock at the front door and then one of her fellow lodgers … Continue reading »

Categories: Legacies, Strong Women | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

What makes you Scottish?

With the date for the referendum on Scottish independence now set for 14th September 2014 I thought I would explore my family’s own links with Scotland My great-aunts believed they were Scottish; their favourite family story was that we were descended from Robert the Bruce and for a time I believed that.  A favourite story … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Strong Women | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Mrs T & Me.

Yesterday felt like the end of a chapter I did not even know needed closing.   Margaret Thatcher’s funeral brought back so many memories.   For one, the fact I refuse to call her anything but ‘Mrs T’ because that was how we knew her in our family.   My mother first got to know when she … Continue reading »

Categories: Legacies, Strong Women | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments