My mother in London

So when we last saw my mother in early March of 1943, she’d just hopped on a train to London.

Standing in the queue at Harrods, her mother had learned from Rosie Tuffnall’s mother that Rosie was giving up her job to have her baby in the relative safety of the country. The job Read More…


War Memorials

As it’s Memorial Day in the United States, it seems the right time to describe our visit to one special cathedral in England.

When we went to Winchester last week to meet with Christopher Wallace, the historian of the Green Jackets Museum,(about which more in another post), he suggested at the end of our time Read More…


The Mysterious Photograph

When I went to Ampleforth Abbey and College last week to show the monks and teachers the photographs my Uncle Ian

took during his short life, there was one that nobody recognized. It shows the roof of a church damaged by some kind of fire and it looks like this.As I mentioned, when the Read More…


My mother goes to Secretarial School.. in a castle…

A week  after my parents meet at Allerton, my mother

and her best friend, Bee, are off to Stanway House in that distant corner of England that my father mentioned in his letter home after the weekend party in Yorkshire. Although Cheltenham is quite a long way from York where he is in training with Read More…


Uncle Ian at Ampleforth

For now, we shall leave my mother and father, separated by wartime England, my father besotted by his beguiling Catholic girl, and my mother,

thrilled that she’s caught the attention of a much older, handsome fellow in her brother’s own regiment, the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. He’s an American, which she knows will prove Read More…


My Parents Meet

On this day, what would have been my father’s 100th birthday, I think it’s time to bring him on the scene. My mother

is visiting her best friend, Bee Stourton, the daughter of Lord and Lady Mowbray at Allerton Park in Yorkshire

and my father

is with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, training in Read More…


Allerton Castle

When my mother graduated from the Poles Convent School at the age of sixteen, she was invited to spend the second summer in a row in Yorkshire with her best friend, Bee. Bee’s mother, Lady Mowbray, knew it would be a comfort to my grandmother to have Tish out of wartime London. Even though the Read More…


Whiteshoots Cottage

I’m sitting in our bedroom in Whiteshoots Cottage  in Bourton-on-the-Water which I thought until this morning was my great-grandmother’s house from the mid-1920s until her death in 1946.  But when I showed Verian, our lovely proprietor, the photographs of my great-grandmother’s house, she said, “oh, that’s just up the hill. I’ll ring the owners and Read More…


Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day in the States, but not, it turns out, in England. They had theirs about a month ago. It’s called Mothering Sunday and always falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent.

My mother was very dismissive of what she called, “another Hallmark holiday.”  “Every day should be mother’s day,” she’d remark with a Read More…


My mother’s convent school, Part 2

Angela and Lynda, who work in the shop at the Marriott Hanbury, were very helpful. They gave me a long historical report on the house and directed me to the nuns’ cemetery where I found the headstone of the Reverend Mother, to whom my mother must have curtsied many a time.  Philomena of all names, Read More…