Tuesday 23 November 2010

A marriage that still holds hands

Wendy_Colorado_photo_Crop Mum, writing in Colorado

You’re looking for the recipe aren’t you? Forgive me, but for one day only there isn’t one. Today is more ‘Love’ than ‘Licked Spoon’.

You see, my mother’s latest book comes out tomorrow. She’s written shelves and shelves of them over the years. I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing and this is probably why I can cook. As children, my brother and I were welcome to do anything which kept us quiet and absorbed our energies and attention while mum filled notebooks and battled with carbon papers. For my brother, this included rugby and embroidery. For me, it meant hours in the kitchen producing dishes of varying degrees of accomplishment and deliciousness.

This new book, The Romancer: On being a writer is a departure. All of her previous books have been novels. This one is a memoire combined with an exploration of the process of writing, showing the links between her daily life and her writing life and how one feeds the other. As she says ‘truth and fiction, like two hands clasping’.

I’m blessed with amazing parents who, despite being very different from one another, have forged a marriage which has lasted almost fifty years. My dad is the kind of man who polishes his shoes every day and has never owned a pair of jeans. My mum likes beads and scarves and flowing things in velvet.

Bryan in FranceDad

For many years, neither of my parents wore wedding rings (mum does now, but it’s quite a recent development). Last year they both forgot their wedding anniversary. Not very romantic, you might think. You’d be wrong. Here is what she has to say about marriage…

‘This is a marriage that went to work and loved it, that had flowers in its hair, that wore sober suits and hippy skirts. It walked children in second-hand prams, and sat in cafes writing while they rolled around on the floor. It went to PTA meetings. It took holidays by the seaside that needed two ponchos to keep warm. It went to the races, to rugby matches and to school plays. It waved off children to their new lives and welcomed them back again. It watched cricket and football and cop shows on TV. It read newspapers at length. It read books and wrote them. And it delivered heavy manuscripts to the Post Office. It visited clinics and hospitals and held its breath. It’s a marriage that travels and continues to relish the youngest, the boy who loves chocolate. It’s a marriage that still holds hands.’

From The Romancer: On Being a Writer by Wendy Robertson


  1. You see a lot of things described as aspirational which I find utterly without value except in monetary terms.
    Now THIS I aspire to.
    How wonderful.

  2. Absolutely divine. Give that woman and man a Yankee-spirited hug and tell them my hat's off to them. This is charming. How inspiring!!
    Hugs and more hugs (the coin of my affection),
    Karen (next time, can I meet them??)

  3. Great post - is it intimidating having such an accomplished mother? My parents have been married nearly 50 years and often forget their anniversary.

  4. How utterly wonderful. No whistles and bells, just love and clearly devotion.

    Thank you for sharing that.

  5. Amazing blog! Greetings from Greece :-)

  6. For Patient Gardener. No - but it can be intimidating to have such an accomplished daughter... best, Wendy R

  7. Beautiful

  8. Claire, Thank you.
    Joanne, How very right you are. Thank you.
    Karen, We must! They'd LOVE you.
    Helen, More inspiring than intimidating. Plus, she makes me laugh. A lot. I really think in happy marriages anniversaries don't mean so very much.
    Ample Cook, You're welcome. I love your description, it's perfect.
    Rainman, Thank you for visiting my blog from Greece - have spent some very happy times in the Greek islands.
    Mummy, *blushes*
    Lovely Stephen! Thanks so much for visiting my blog. See you in the park.

  9. Very touching Debora. My hubby and I don't wear our wedding rings either. We never have.
    Congrats to your mother on her continuing career success. What lovely images you paint of your parents. Now I see where your wonderful-way-with-words comes from.

  10. MarkD, Thank matey. Karen, Thank you too. Mariana, I am lucky indeed to have such incredible people on my cheerleading squad. I am grateful for it every day.


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