Dearest Jane ...: My Father's Life and Letters
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As the eldest daughter of a prolific letter writer, Jane Torday received hundreds of letters from her father over the years. From irreverent advice and hilarious family anecdotes to moments of great poignancy, Roger Mortimer's missives are a touching and witty portrait of his life and relationships over the years. Dearest Jane begins with Roger's time as a young army officer in Egypt, and then as a POW in the Second World War, where his sense of humour endured despite the conditions. Jane accompanies her father's letters with her own memories and anecdotes, as we meet familiar characters such as Nidnod, Lupin and Lumpy, and learn more about the extended family, friends and pets who leap from the pages of his letters. This is an arresting and extraordinary record, not only of Roger Mortimer's life but also of the history of an entire family between 1960 and 1991. Sparkling with the dry wit for which Mortimer's letters are famous, and accompanied by an affectionate personal portrait, this book will delight both old and new readers.
often their books appeal particularly to other women (and I’m not just thinking of that awful old ratbag Barbara Cartland). My father unfailingly encouraged me in any writing project. Ideas sometimes crystallized into published features, articles or small books for niche markets. On my study shelf sits a card from my father in 1981: Congratulations! I’m glad we appeared in the Sunday Times together, a fairly rare journalistic combination I imagine. xx D Budds Farm 19 February [early 1980s]
wounded or dying men. My father’s emotional and eloquent description of D-Day was gathering pace, weighted with a history that could not lightly be dismissed. With his keen sense of the meaning of place and of the past, I could start to grasp why this Omaha Beach might move him to memories of the world war in which, after all, he had played his own part. In 1939 my father was a regular, professional soldier. He had been in the Army since leaving school – a classic progression of Eton, Sandhurst
parents, apart from their own. Nonetheless, she was kind enough to me. If passion and warmth did not beat powerfully in the Blackwell breast, my father’s Aunt Star Blackwell was a compensation. Abandoning her first marriage to elope with an attractive Irishman, Chris Mitchell, to live in a beautiful Georgian house in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, she was beloved by both my parents. Aunt Star had a huge sense of fun. I leave her profile to my father later in this chapter. Neni (Enid) and Pips (Phyllis)
her horse did) worth �26,000. Pearl is the school solution of what a typical English spinster is likely to be. She dresses as if her clothes were procured at the WI autumn jumble and her honest, homely features are innocent of powder, etc. She is a JP, head of the County Nursing Association, the County St John Ambulance Association and the County Girl Guides. She is an ex MFH and was recently awarded the OBE. She is very rich as her family drum up Bovril. Love, x RM Rabbit’s Larder Burghclere
(Traditional) c/o Bishop of York Ebor Castle York [1970s] Here I am in this ancient city at present rendered vile by coach loads of elderly Americans, all with expensive cameras slung round the neck and not a sex kitten among them. The food here is typical of ‘Hotel Anglais’. I hate this part of the world; all the men look like Michael Parkinson. I always have pyrophobia in places like this and can find no fire escape. I am all for cremation but not when alive, if you please. Castle Gloom