1708 days ago
Continuing my trip down Booker family memory lane with the Mrs and Joshua in Dorset on Saturday, we headed away from Knighton and towards the edge of the Bryanston Estate, for it was there that the ghost of the grey lady is in residence.
1709 days ago
Having shown the Mrs, and a rather disinterested Joshua, the family gravestones I wandered around the Churchyard looking at other stones and saying hello/goodbye to a few other folks: Marjorie Portman, Mr & Mrs Fudge, etc - the great and the good and the ordinary folks from a small village. The reason my family came to Durweston (pronounced Durreston) was that in 1950 my grandparents bought a big old house, Knighton, and turned it into a girl's prep school. It still runs today and we sneaked in as you can see below.
1709 days ago
For years and years my Uncle Chris Booker and I have talked about the graves of his sisters (my mother and Aunt) and that of my grandparents (his parents) in Durweston in Dorset. We have done nothing about it and now, as readers of the Sunday Telegraph discovered today, time is running out.
2120 days ago
It is half term and so I took the younger generation to Salisbury Cathedral where there are two glass panels in memory of my mother and my aunt, as the brass plate between them says, two women who died young.
3330 days ago
The nature of my mother’s death has been raised by certain “admirers” of mine on Bulletin Boards, the circumstances of my Aunt’s death I have mentioned en passant here before. There are no secrets in the era of the interweb. Both deaths were mentioned in an article by their brother, my Uncle Chris (Booker) in the Daily Mail last week. Slowly I read it early on Saturday morning as it brought a number of thoughts to the surface. Matters not suppressed just forgotten or not reflected upon for a long while. My mother killed herself. My aunt was murdered. There you have it. A shocking couple of sentences.
My mother died when I was eight and my sisters seven and five. She had become terribly depressed in that amazing sun drenched year of 1976 and – as I discovered only later – first tried to end her life at the height of summer while the rest of us were out walking. My father found her, revived her but thereafter she was confined to various hospitals in Northamptonshire, Banbury and finally in Oxford, the City where she had studied, met my father and where I was born. I saw her once that autumn at the Trout at Godstow and she seemed happy. She clearly was not and within weeks she had hanged herself. I remember being taken out of class by a lovely teacher who was almost in tears as she told me that my mother was dead. I cannot remember how I felt or what happened next. I did not find out how she died until I was fourteen.
Not having a mother was a little unusual in those days