Seventy-five years of writing ...... so far
Left: first scribbles in 1943 reflected the air raids of those times in suburban London.
Right: latest scribbles in 2018 looks back at a world that, 75 years later, seems a good deal more troubled.
Though most of my writing life was as a travel writer, my first love is fiction. I married late but still managed to fit in 38 wonderful years of partnership with George Spenceley, an adventurer, climber, survivor of air crash, three years as a prisoner of war and an avalanche, who introduced me to long distance canoeing including most of the Danube and the Mississippi. George died in February 2013. In fiction, I've concentrated on certain themes, such as the effect of war on the children and grandchildren of participants, the growing problems that go with an aging population and the effects of dementia. Another theme (in my only YA book) was addiction.
'One of my latest books (So, what next - a look, with hindsight, at the modern world)' is to some extent an exercise in self indulgence since I was able to relive a great partnership, but it also reflects my considerable concern for a troubled world. On the other hand, it also reflects a wish to share with others of my generation and later the very different world into which we have moved. Bad decisions in the early 20th century, uncontrolled (and uncontrollable) technology, social media, major changes in society and family structures have all contributed; and, perhaps above all, preoccupation with self (and selfies).
This book is mainly a memoir of my life since 1945 and that of my adventurous late husband. It includes many world changes, the Cold War, climbing, long canoe journeys, recovery from addiction . And the hope that our world will recover from the problems with which we have afflicted it.
The very latest is an anthology (Looking Back) based on experiences gleaned from that great gift we all have: hindsight. I edited it and it features other writers, including my late husband George Spenceley. My next project is a mystery with a hero suffering from dementia. Having lived with it, I know that the real person is still there beneath it and deserves acknowledgment.
A bit about me
My Swiss mother and British father met on a ship travelling to New Zealand so my profound interest in travel was probably predestined. Indeed we spent all our school summer holidays in Switzerland until World War Two began. It was during the war that I began writing, i.e. nearly eighty years ago. My Swiss grandfather wrote books and poetry so perhaps my writing was predestined too, though my early scribbles were of a very different nature (see above left).
So, what next ?
Among the main people in my life
Sinette and I 1942
1948 above: one of our early visits to Switzerland after the war. left to right: Sinette, Dad, Mum, me.
Sharing a birthday with Nick and Claire in Australia, 2015
George and I: 1970's
One of the problems with getting rather old is that you remember how life used to be. No, I don't means that everything in the old days was so much better. There are so many things available that make everyday life easier for many of us (though it's amazing how we have managed to cram the time saved with other occupations). But one aspect that has not improved is communication. Yes, I'm sure mobile/smart phones have their place but in my experience they are rarely answered as their owners are driving/working/in the bath or otherwise unattainable. And how often do you normally wait to speak to real human being when you ring one of our service industries? And is it really a good idea to speak to someone who is far away while ignoring your companions?