I was really sad to hear Marguerite Patten had died ten days ago at the ripe old age of 99. She was the first celebrity chef, teaching British people how to eat a nutrient rich diet while making the most of their rations during World War Two, going on to have her own TV show in 1947. She wrote over 170 cookbooks which sold over 17 million copies worldwide. I last saw her on TV doing an interview on the BBC’s The One Show in 2007 when she would’ve been in her early 90s. Clearly she was a hardworking woman with a passion for food. Her love of butter and lard obviously did her no harm.
I didn’t like the ending. Stupid, I know. It’s right there in the title. I found it so upsetting, I ran into my mother’s bedroom, woke her up and hugged her tightly. I have been taking her for granted. She won’t be around forever and I must appreciate her more now while she still has all of her faculties despite her difficulties with her mental and physical health. The next day I ran out and bought her flowers, chocolates and her favourite cheesecake as early Mother’s Day gifts.
This is a collection of short autobiographical articles covering 10 years, originally written for the author’s column in The Guardian. We begin with an 89-year-old independent grandmother called Clarice deciding to move from her home on the coast in Brighton to live with her 54-year-old daughter and 18-year-old granddaughter in London.
Gifted to me for Christmas 1994 by the Sunday School I temporarily attended – according to the bookplate (below right) – after I’d watched the 80s film adaptation at school, I remember the ungrateful disdain I felt for the novel; feeling I’d already read the book having watched the film. How ignorant I was. Granted, I only 8 years old, but we all know that adaptions are usually inferior to the original.
‘Good poems and novels are those that transcend their age and speak meaningfully to us all. They deal in permanent, imperishable features of human existence – in joy, suffering, grief, death and sexual passion, rather than in the local and incidental.’
Literary criticism: where philosophy and psychology meet.