Thursday, December 31, 2009

Aunt Anne abroad V

With characteristic discretion Aunt Anne left us few clues as to her true feelings about the various companions with whom she traveled south. With some pride she hung onto a tiny snapshot of a skiing trophy she won at Saint-Cergue in the Jura, but we know little else about Daphne, Margot, Pat, Nipper, Colleen, Liz, Cynthia, and Diana, or indeed David and André, other than that they had a lot of fun. By their arrangement in the album, the photographs outline an itinerary brimming with internal logic, and there are occasional flashes of insight to be found among Anne’s spare notations on the reverse. Here, for example, she writes simply: “Me knitting David a face washer (!) on the Route Napoléon near Grenoble.”

But Nipper (above) is invariably just “Nipper”;

David simply “David”;

groups identified, as in this boating shot at Cassis, as “Nipper, Me, Mr. and Mrs. Roland,” the first person pronoun satisfactorily capitalized.

As far as I can tell (apart from carefully noting the identity of Margaret Cilento, another Australian artist who coincided with the party on the Riviera) this was Anne’s only nod to celebrity: “Mr. Roland, and back view of Margaret Olley [in hat],” although I am not quite sure how well-known Miss Olley was at this date. She is, of course, still going, more or less strong.

In a telling variation, however, Anne only very occasionally names André. Her only note on the reverse of this photograph is “Aix, Les Beaux again.”

What a very handsome young man he was.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Aunt Anne abroad IV (further South, and back again)

In Florence, the party made friends with some slightly overenthusiastic young ciceroni, who naturally brought them to see the Duomo (over Anne’s shoulder), the Campanile farther distant, and the Baptistery in the background, as well as other famous sights. “Unfortunately my friend Lauro wasn’t with us. He looks even worse. This is Guido and Ferdinando.”

The weather improved, however, and again we find André, Nipper, and Anne at the Piazzale Michelangelo. David took this one.

The mood becomes ever more playful. “André and me having Good Clean Fun when the car boiled outside Ravenna. David looking on. Just after this I got the whole contents of the jug. Very Funny for all.”

“Cynthia, Liz and me having lunch [on the Via Appia Antica] near the Catacombs of S. Sebastian.”

Capri must have been relatively unspoiled, even then. Here is Anne, or, as she put it, “Me in a cart, Capri.”

All tourists went swimming in the famous Blue Grotto. “Cynthia, Me, Liz, Margot, taken by Umberto the boatman at Capri.”

And here is Umberto himself.

On the way back to England by way of the Riviera, the party went on another boat trip to see the Calanques at Cassis, not far from Marseilles. Left to right, André, Margaret Cilento [the artist; daughter of Sir Raphael and Lady Cilento, and older sister of the actress Diane Cilento], Boatman, and Nipper.

They continued up through Provence, visiting Avignon, Orange, the Pont de Gard near Remoulins, Le Castellet in the Var, and on to Paris. At a certain point there is a newcomer to the party. Here he is, on the far left, with an unidentified companion; Anne in the center; David, looking as usual slightly lugubrious; and Nipper on the far right. Tucked behind this photo, effectively hidden from view, was another one that slipped out when I turned the page:

It is the same, handsome young man, sitting on a window-sill, sunning himself, and reading a book. He looks up, turns his head slightly, but Anne wrote nothing at all on the back. Who was he?

Aunt Anne abroad III (South)

In the autumn of the first or possibly the second year she spent in England, Aunt Anne went with her Australian girlfriends on a long trip by car through France, across the Pyrenees into Spain, and back again; up into the Swiss alps for skiing at Saint-Cergue in the Jura, Lucerne, and La Cure in the Franche-Comté, and thence across into Italy via Como, Bellagio, Lago Maggiore, Milan, Verona, Venice, Ravenna, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Monte Cassino, Naples, Sorrento, Capri, and back again via Termoli in the Molise on the Adriatic coast. This is “Jenny Linden [right], Nipper [middle] and me [left] polishing the car in the yard at Ardura,” in northern Spain. (Note the hearty piano accordion.) As well as reflecting the far better climate, the photographs begin to radiate a new sense of fun, as well as of relaxation, even languor.

Among the party of at least six, two traveling companions jostle for prominence in the photographs, “André” and “David.” Here, for example, is “Picnic lunch. André [left], David [middle] and Gypsy Rose Lee [as Anne describes herself] with the car in the background,” and a faint reflection in the beautifully polished rear door of Nipper, who took the shot.
Here is “David looking Rather Arty, with Florence in the background, taken from the Piazzale Michelangelo.”

And here is André at Les Baux-de-Provence in the Bouches-du-Rhône, near Aix,

and again, with Nipper in the middle and Anne on the right, never more relaxed or radiant. Note the elegant rear-buckling belt, and brilliant figure.
Crossing the frontier between Switzerland and Italy a few miles northwest of Como involved the usual flirtation with Italian customs, and a cheerful detachment of “alpini.”

Anne wrote on the back of this one: “This is us fraternizing like mad with the Italian customs at a place called Maslianico. The top of my head just visible behind the gent leaning negligently on the bonnet.”

Anne again: “Piazza del Dante or something, Verona. [in fact the Piazza dei Signori, with the last few bays of the Loggia del Consiglio, and the famous statue of Dante Alighieri in the background on the left]. André, Nipper, and me, and one of the locals seems to have got in too. N.B. the new sandals. (This outfit is my Scala Theatre (Milan) opera-going one, with all the diamond tiaras and furs.”

Aunt Anne abroad II (North)

For several years Aunt Anne settled in Britain and traveled widely, at first throughout England, Wales, the Isle of Man, Scotland and Ireland, and, in between, extracting every ounce of enjoyment she could from post-war London.

Here she is, for example, witnessing the departure from Buckingham Palace of the King’s procession en route for Horse Guards Parade and the annual ceremony of the Trooping of the Colour, which took place on June 9, 1949. “King in carriage,” she noted on the back, “Liz [Princess Elizabeth] on far side and [the Duke of] Gloucester this side. Unfortunately out of focus, but there you are. Can’t have everything.”

At first Anne shared with friends a flat in this pretty old house (above), which was at 28 Belsize Park in Camden, NW3.

From there she moved to 67 Lansdowne Road, NW11 (above): “1st floor, our flat; window above porch = kitchen; 3-in-1 window = living room; next one along = bathroom.” From these convenient flats she went with friends to see ski-jumping on Hampstead Heath, or Marquis III jumping the double bank at White City.

Anne’s country excursions began tentatively, and were mostly to relatively convenient destinations such as Dover, Oxford and Cambridge, for punting with friends on the Cam (above); to the New Forest and Beaulieu; to Devon (Dartmoor), and Cornwall; to Yarmouth in Norfolk; to Shrewsbury and Chester,

as well a blustery outing to Whipsnade Zoo, where she was not at all impressed by the lions, hippos, and giraffes, who seemed especially miserable earning their keep in the heart of Bedfordshire.

But soon, together with her friend Nipper Strachan (in the overalls), Anne went to Ireland and stayed in Co. Cork with the very hospitable Mr. and Mrs. Mayow. I suspect Mrs. Mayow was an old friend of Granny’s from her London years immediately before and during World War I. Certainly, Anne benefited from the hospitality of others of Granny’s English friends, such as “Mr. and Mrs. Barry,” “Mr. and Mrs. Roland,” “Mr. and Mrs. Johnstone,” and “Mrs. Marker.” Here are Nipper, Mr. and Mrs. Mayow having scratch tea in the garden;

venturing into Cork with Mrs. Mayow, for shopping and lunch;

setting off for an al fresco Irish picnic, accompanied by Mrs. Mayow’s pet lamb, which was called “Tiny Wee”;

and afterwards doing their best to pretend that stony Irish beaches were for young Australian women a viable alternative to the deserted sandy ones they left behind. From this convenient home base near Cork, Anne and Nipper went to Kenmare House, Tom Heely’s Pass, Glengariff, Killarney, Blarney Castle, and further afield to the Vale of Avoca, Co. Wicklow. Another journey north took the friends to Scotland and the western isles: specifically Mull and Iona; then to Ben Lomond, and farther north to contemplate the atrocities of Glen Coe. They also made a visit to Wales, specifically to Llangollen, Corwen, and Bettwys y Coed, but eventually their plans became more ambitious. They visited Denmark, and evidently planned a long journey south.

Aunt Anne abroad I

Among the many papers she left behind, Mum kept a photograph album, a souvenir of her beloved older sister Anne (center), who sailed with friends to England aboard the P. & O. ship R.M.S. Strathaird in January 1949. The voyage was long, but leisurely. The ship sailed via Fremantle to Colombo in Ceylon, and on to Bombay, Aden, Suez, through the canal to Port Said, and on through the Mediterranean to Southampton.

Some of the landfalls allowed for sightseeing, as, for example, when Anne spent a day on the beach at the Mount Lavinia Hotel in Colombo (above, left to right: Eve Chauvel, Sue Freeman, Frank and Ena Freeman, and “Betty”), or inspecting the Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill in Bombay, or the Towers of Silence at Kemp’s corner nearby (“where they put the deaders,” as Anne put it). It was an established custom for family, friends, and other well-wishers to wave like mad and even signal from the clifftop at Portsea when ships approached the Heads, and made their final departure from Victoria. In an air letter to Anne dated January 19, 1949, which evidently caught up with her in Fremantle, Mum wrote:

No doubt you found the signaling on Sat. evening very confusing as I believe half Portsea was signaling to friends aboard the Strathaird. Some people were signaling to John Darling with an 8” Aldis lamp, so expect that would cut out all other smaller lights. Alec [Trumble, aged 12] was signaling “Anne B” as hard as he could go, but as far as I can make out, he kept forgetting the letters, having to turn the light on and look them up and start again, so doubt whether it was particularly outstanding. However, hope you saw something. When we were waving goodbye a man knocked my hat off and me nearly out but never faltering, I rallied bravely and waved on. Did you hear us screaming goodbye Anne? Mongie was cheer leader there and a very good one she made too…I’m dying to hear what it’s like and whether you’ve been elected queen of the sports deck.
Anne does seems to have spent a good deal of time on the boat deck playing quoits, but there are also some excellent photographs of her with various young table companions wearing party hats and fancy dress. These were taken by an on-board commercial photographer.
On the back of this one (below), Anne noted: “Whose mother uses Persil? But they all use Pepsodent.”
Evidently Anne took this one of “boat drill” because, she noted, “second from left—our table steward.”
Anne was, of course, young and beautiful. Here she is on the boat deck again, in a little shot simply inscribed “Two Hubbas.”
Most of Anne’s photographs, however, carry no inscription at all, and very few of the gradually multiplying horde of handsome young male admirers are identified.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mum II

Among the many papers she left behind there is a sheaf of wonderful letters that Mum wrote to her sister Anne, who sailed to England at the end of 1948 and stayed there for several years. Presumably Uncle Henry returned them to Mum some time after Aunt Anne died in 1986. They are mostly addressed to “Dear Anna” or “Dear Girlie,” and, though very youthful (and sprinkled with exclamation marks), Mum’s voice, cheery cadence, buoyant in-house lingo, and neat hand are all instantly recognizable. One will have to do for now. This was written about a month before Mum and Dad’s wedding in Melbourne on June 9, 1949. Her future father-in-law “Mr. Trumble” was evidently in London on Privy Council business, and among the many hints of post-war austerity there is a tacit acknowlegement that the basic standard of living was higher in Australia than in England; are the meals “O.K. by our standards?” she asks.

Geelong, March 5th ’49

Dear Anna—

There are no flimseys so I’ll have to write per ornery mail which is too expensive really, but seeing as I can probably get someone else to post & pay for this, it doesn’t matter much. Aren’t I dreadful?

We got a slasho letter from you today. London sounds marvelous and all the tripping about you’re doing! Fancy! Madame Tussaud’s, Ralph Richardson, Scotland, Dublin and Paris! Fancy! Gosh it’s a real thrill to think of such cosmopolities. And a cigarette holder! And being brave enough to pretend you wanted to buy a suit in Bond St! And being able to find your way about with such great ease! And getting yourself a marvelous job! Gosh! Wacko! Any day now Mr. Trumble will be contacting you if he hasn’t already as he flew over last week and is in London now.

Gosh the tatted mats (or are they by now matted tats?) sound beaut. Don’t go leaving them on train or bus or in the ladies’ will you? How is Liz? Have you seen any of the royal family yet, talking of Liz? Give the baby [Prince Charles] a oogly poogly from a loyal subject from Wallaby Land (me) will you?

The weather has been very muggy for a week after the very heavy rain we’ve had. I’ve never sweated so much as I did yesterday, it was like a Turkish bath. Poor Mum had to come down from Melb. in David’s car with him, two kids and dog.

Since you went away, Dad has only told his story about the little hole in the wall shop with the red-haired saleswoman and the black child and the Armenian hubby—once, but we haven’t had very many visitors. Ramsy Cook is here with his little boy this arvo, so the story may come up yet.

In a few weeks’ time I have to have my wisdom teeth out at Kardinia house. Dr. Goody Good’s successor Mr. Renowden is going to have a finger in the pie. I wonder what he’ll look like.

Fancy meeting that Barbara Godby, is that her name? Isn’t she the one whose mother said she and the Duke of Edinburgh had had a boy and girl affair or some such, when the D. of E. was Prince P. of G. and was calling in at Fremantle? I remember meeting her with you once on the Toorak tram with Anne Maudsley, a big blowsy girl in a floral cap-sleeved silk dress and white hat with plenty of veiling (Not Anne Maudsley, but B. G.).

In a minute must go and comb out my Marcel wave (washed hair this ming) and join our young guests in the parlour. They seem to be behaving nicely and can hear the menfolk talking their heads off so I suppose Mum and Jeanie [Borthwick] are demurely tucked away with their needlework in a corner.

After lengthy calculations which are already up the pole my wedding day has been fixed for June 9th. We approached Heather Moreton, Cherrie Borthwick, Angela Salmon and young Janet [Borthwick] with a view to being bridesmaids and they all seem quite pleased, though I think their Mums are getting more of a kick out of it than they are and Auntie Mer Mer [Meryl Borthwick] is in a frenzy of delight. Gosh she’s a bird.

Well must be off to make tea for the gang. There’s nothing much to eat and I don’t know what to do. What is the food like in England or rather where you are? You haven’t said except that you’ve been out to quite a few meals so far. Are they O.K. by our standards? We all feel a bit greedy when wolfing some specially nice delectable and wish we could send you an elping.

Lots of cheese from Helen

Saturday, December 19, 2009


This is the text of Mum’s eulogy, which I read at her funeral service at St. George’s Anglican Church in Glenferrie Road, Malvern, on Thursday, December 3, 2009. It was a hard job of public speaking, maybe the hardest I shall ever have to do—but Nick, Simon, and Hamish gave me all the help I needed to get it done properly, and I managed all right. Upon re-reading it just now, and, having spent recent weeks with the others sorting through her comparatively few possessions, I realize that I should have placed greater emphasis on Mum’s quietly undemonstrative but exacting creativity—pottery, spinning, dyeing, knitting, sewing (specifically the construction of beautifully smocked dresses for babies), horticulture (always taking careful account of “green” concerns many decades before these were orthodox), painting in watercolours, the writing of poetry and reams of meticulous correspondence, as well as her breadth of reading, and even her dogged pursuit of The Times crossword puzzle. Lately she was convinced that the clues had declined in quality and that someone new and younger and not quite as good was concocting them in Printing House Square. She was surely right about that, though we thought it best never to break it to her about Wapping. There is a long run of the novels of Barbara Pym sitting neatly above the phone, and the editions of Shakespeare that she took to classes she attended until recently with Nancy Shaw were taken from the exquisite boxed and monogrammed octodecimo set that was originally Gran’s. Hamish has it now. By a strange coincidence Helen died on the 116th anniversary of her own mother’s birthday. Owing to the effect of trans-Pacific air travel and the position of the International Date Line, that day, November 27, was virtually torn out of my own calendar at around the hour at which Mum’s heart stopped beating, and as a result, by some supernatural act of mercy, I was saved from experiencing the rest of it—until now.


JULY 20, 1926–NOVEMBER 27, 2009

Helen’s death last Friday evening has taken us, her family, completely by surprise. It is almost impossible to believe that she has gone. Since then it has become clear that Mum was far more gravely ill than we really understood. She was aware that her life was drawing rapidly to its close. Despite failing strength, Helen was fully, perhaps stubbornly determined to make as many arrangements as she possibly could—in her own way, and in her own time, with a minimum of fuss. She continued to come here to St. George’s at eight o’clock in the morning until the Sunday she went to hospital. As recently as a month ago, Mum was busily making grapefruit marmalade—not too sweet, not too runny, just right. She was still maintaining her titanic struggle against the possums in her garden. Lately, old friends noticed some changes in Helen, above all a certain garrulousness that was most uncharacteristic, but, when it came upon her, she approached her final, mercifully brief illness much as she lived the whole of her adult life—with resolution, calm strength, unselfishness, fierce independence, great courage, and dignity.

Helen was the third child and younger daughter of William Arthur Borthwick and Helen, the eldest daughter of the Hon. William Pearson, M.L.C., of Kilmany Park. Mum was born on the family sheep property called Raeshaw at Fulham, a few miles west of Sale in East Gippsland. Helen, her brothers David and John, and her beloved sister Anne, were in the beginning educated by governesses at home. They learned all about the Empire, and those dubious other parts of the world that were not yet part of it. They learned about varieties of gum tree, Cootamundra wattle, native birds, echidnas, wildflowers, and how to avoid poisonous snakes, or kill them. There were fairy circles of moss, to which Mum delivered letters and gifts of little cups made out of silver paper. Presently she retrieved thoughtful replies neatly inscribed on gum leaves; this was the clandestine work of Helen’s favourite aunt, Mollie Bruce Pearson, whom we knew as “Mungie.” There were poddy lambs, ponies, an old grey horse called Battleaxe, and an idiot dog named Patch who liked to climb the cypress tree; got stuck near the top, and always had to be rescued up a tall ladder. In due course Helen learned how to produce with her thumb and index finger a stockman’s whistle of really ear-piercing reverberation, a skill I suspect she was, in later life, sorely tempted to bring to committee meetings of the Friends of Grimwade. The reason why Mum was so good at virtual whip-cracking in an all-male household was that she knew how to crack a real one.

Summer holidays were spent at Balmadies, the house our grandparents built at Metung on the Gippsland Lakes. Balmadies was finished in the year when Mum was born, and thanks to our Borthwick cousins it is still standing cheerfully on the shore of Bancroft Bay—right next door to the little house that Dad built for us with his own hands, and which we love so very much. There, at Balmadies, often accompanied by a tribe of school friends and neighbours, the children went floundering, crab-hunting, swimming, sailing, and picnicking at the Barrier. In those days both Raeshaw and Metung were still comparatively isolated, but the family took the British illustrated weeklies and monthlies, and received by subscription regular parcels of books from the Athenaeum Library in Melbourne. There were after-supper theatricals, riotous charades, and games of Fish, Up Jenkyns! and really competitive Racing Demon.

Though happy, even idyllic, Mum’s childhood and adolescence were overshadowed by drought, rabbits, flood, blight, the Great Depression and, later, the Second World War. To some degree that dark backdrop holds the key to understanding Helen’s stalwart character in adulthood. Her thrift and self-reliance were learned from her own mother. Those values formed early, and were rock solid. They were not negotiable.

Nevertheless Mum always retained the capacity for fun, delight in simple pleasures, and a healthy sense of the ridiculous that she first absorbed as a child of East Gippsland. There, too, she must have learned those few choice earthy phrases which, because they were so seldom deployed, were for us the more stunning, and effective.

I dwell in some detail on Helen’s childhood because I think it goes a long way toward explaining her special genius for family, her knack of reaching out to children generally; to us, her own children, and her grandchildren especially. She developed a powerful bond with all her grandchildren. Nick’s eldest boy James tells me that despite his troubles he always felt safe with Mum, never judged, or made to feel anything other than that she loved him unconditionally. I know all the others must feel exactly the same way. In this respect, parameters determined by age were not especially important to Mum. She could, I think, take hold of the child in all of us.

Hamish reminded me yesterday that, early on, Donkey, his favourite stuffed toy animal, suffered fearfully from wear. Eventually his head fell off, and Mum carefully and securely reattached it. When Donkey further deteriorated, Helen took the radical step of knitting a whole-of-body skin graft. She carried out the intricate microsurgical procedure, and threw in a new hat and matching scarf for good measure. Other pressing matters were for the time being set aside, and Mum got this complicated job done in plenty of time for Hamish’s thirty-third birthday.

Nor were the stuffed toys restricted to animals: Simon recalls Mum arranging for the repair man to shore up with patches of leather that special variety of stuffed toy that is approximately lozenge-shaped, made of pigskin, and contains an inflatable bladder. By these timely interventions Mum made it possible for Simon to spin, handpass, and kick to kick against the harsh road metal of Denham Place, throughout successive football seasons.

Though formal and correct, at times guarded and certainly shy—actually severely shy—in private Mum had an uncanny ability to puncture balloons of pomposity, self-importance, and cant. Indeed the larger, redder, and shinier the balloon, the more likely she was to reach for her knitting needle and skewer it. I suspect that this mischievous quality was not observed very often, except lately among her most trusted friends around the bridge table. One would not, I think, describe Mum’s approach to the game of bridge as that of a recklessly flamboyant risk-taker. To our knowledge in more than twenty-five years of committed bridge-playing she never once bid six no trumps. Yet I am assured by an extremely reliable source that her game was cautious, but steady. Steady. This comes as no surprise to us; in good times or bad nobody was steadier than Mum—no matter what we tossed at her, and I’m afraid we tossed her almost everything. Except a tattoo. To my knowledge, none of us ever dared to cross that particular Rubicon. Mum, your work is done.

Helen took pride in her noble Scottish ancestors on both sides—Covenanters, pretty ferocious border people—and of her family’s prominent role in the early European settlement of East Gippsland. She honoured the memory of four uncles, two of whom died on active service—one in the famous Battle of the Nek at Gallipoli. She was proud of her brother and sister who served with distinction in the R.A.A.F. and the W.R.A.N.S. respectively. She was fiercely loyal to the school she attended when the family moved to Geelong in 1936; indeed the Latin motto of The Hermitage, ESSE QVAM VIDERI, which means “to be rather than to seem,” could have been composed especially for Helen. Certainly it suits her far better than the state of North Carolina with which she shares it. Mum cherished the lifelong friendships she made right after the War at the Headmistresses’ Association Hostel (Invergowrie) in Kew. With satisfactory partisanship she rejoiced modestly in the accomplishments of her sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. And she even learned to feel quietly satisfied with her own. For the past fourteen years she discovered the delights of retail, working gratis almost every Saturday morning in Mary Ann’s shop Lulabie, regularly reporting to me an especially good day’s business. But, above all, she was proud of Dad.

Helen married Peter in 1949, after a long engagement during which Peter survived the careful, not uncritical scrutiny of Mum’s increasingly eccentric family at Metung, while the dear Trumbles took Helen to their heart down at Portsea. Nick was born in 1950. Simon came in fifty-two; Hamish followed in fifty-six, and, after a long regenerative pause for reflection, I came along in 1964. By this neat strategem Mum and Dad contrived to pay Melbourne Grammar School fees for an uninterrupted span of twenty-five years, sometimes up to three lots at once. Throughout that period Helen supported Peter in his many professional and charitable roles. She ran up costumes for school plays, including a judge’s wig for Simon’s cameo appearance in Trial By Jury; and sumptuous regalia for Hamish, who played King Henry II in Beckett. She made time also to earn the degree of Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne, where she graduated in 1982. Mum learned to spin raw wool then dye it using natural mosses and lichens; she knitted jumpers, sewed, mended, shuttled children back and forth, arranged and supervised school holidays, washed, darned, cooked, baked, squeezed an ocean of orange juice, nursed, comforted, cajoled, occasionally scolded, read aloud, pruned, dug, raked, swept, watered, and cared for numerous elderly relations, including her own mother, and two frail spinster aunts, Aunt Kath and Aunt Jean Borthwick. Together with Joey, she also helped to look after her mother-in-law, and lately her own brother John.

But without question the biggest, most taxing, and, I think, most humbling accomplishment of Helen’s life was the one that none of us can ever forget: For fifteen interminable years Mum watched in dismay as Peter was gradually carried away by Alzheimer’s disease. She cared for him at home for as long as she could; far longer than anyone could reasonably have expected. She rarely if ever complained. Helen simply refused to give up until she could not go on. It was not merely an unostentatious expression of deep love, but a feat of physical strength also. And it seems especially cruel that having gone through all that, and remaining mentally alert to the very end, Helen should have been made so keenly aware of how badly her own body was letting her down. It simply wasn’t fair.

So, in the manner of her dying Helen has with rare symmetry shed a powerful ray of light upon the way she lived her whole life, and, with Peter, made us who we are. Truly we feel heartbroken that she has vanished, but we are so very grateful for everything that she gave us, and we shall carry all that with us until the day we die. We also draw strength from the size of this wonderful congregation in which there are so many dear, familiar faces—old and young. I am reminded of what, in times of trouble, Mum occasionally found it necessary to say to me by way of comfort, encouragement, and support: “Darling, it will be hard; it will be hard, but I know you will do your very best. Take each day as it comes, and try not to worry.” You can’t say fairer than that.

May light perpetual shine upon her.