Second Ten

17th February 2023
Second Ten

Stainless Steel Cutlery

1966. Two young people up town in Knightsbridge. She is 21, he is 22. She wears Mary Quant, the classic A-line mini-dress – she made it herself – with a chunky wooden bead necklace. He wears a black leather jacket, a floral shirt with narrow tie – she made these too – and stone-washed Levi 501s. She wears her black hair long with a fringe. He wears his as close to a Beatles mop as he can manage.

Mary Quant pattern

Elizabeth and Peter have taken the tube up to town shopping for wedding gifts. Their research has led them to Rosenthal Studio on the Brompton Road near Harrods, the place to go for modern stainless steel – they are very design conscious. After Knightsbridge their search will take them to the design Mecca of Heals and the newly established Habitat. Feeling absurdly grown up to be choosing a cutlery set in such stylish surroundings, they pay careful attention as the shop assistant shows the ranges on offer, confident that, with enough discussion, they will settle on a set both are happy with. That is how they are together. The chosen design is described in the catalogue as:

Beautiful modernist flatware from Austria, model 2050, designed by Helmut Alder, executed by Amboss Austria. High-quality flatware, made of brushed and polished stainless steel. 

This wedding present will be paid for by Peter’s Auntie Hazel, his father’s sister, who lives in Guildford and has spent her professional life as a science teacher in a girls’ grammar school. Hazel lives with her friend and companion Elizabeth Underwood – known to the family as ‘Li’ because the children when young couldn’t pronounce her full name – who teaches history at the same girls’ school as Hazel. When Li finds out that Peter and Elizabeth have chosen the Amboss design, she buys as her present the matching carving set.

Reason Aunts

Left to right, Elizabeth,Hazel, Joyce (Hazel’s older sister, the author mentioned in the
Family Books post below) with young Sarah and Anna

Although living some distance from Peter’s family, Hazel and Li are held in great affection, not least because they hosted the family – before Peter was born – for several months in their rather too small house during the worst of the World War II blitz. This was a significant commitment for two middle-aged women with no experience of small children. Hazel also coached Peter for his A levels Physics, although she found the syllabus significantly advanced from her teaching days.

This cutlery has been in daily use for nearly sixty years. One or two pieces that mysteriously disappeared have been replaced. The ‘brushed and polished stainless steel’ shows some minor scratching but only when compared with the immaculate polish of a factory-new piece. Each piece feels solid and well balanced in the hand without being clunky. As a modern classic, the set is currently priced on-line at between £2,000 and £3,000.

Elizabeth and Peter remain pleased with the choice of those distant, but yet so familiar, young people.

Elizabeth and Peter

Kuba Palm fibre textile

Kuba Palm fibre textile
Kuba Palm fibre textile

Around the turn of this century, I hosted an interdisciplinary seminar at the Fetzer Institute in Michigan exploring the theme Toward a Participatory Worldview. As well as scientists, social scientists, ecologists, and philosophers, I wanted to invite someone whose work explored the ecological and social function of art. Artist and critic Suzi Gablik was an obvious choice – I knew of her work through Elizabeth’s art studies – so, out of the blue and with no introduction, I wrote to her. To my great surprise, she accepted my invitation, and at the end of the seminar warmly invited me to visit her at her home in Blacksburg, Virginia. And so it was, maybe a year later, that Elizabeth and I arrived at her house, wondering what we might expect. (Please note that this was in the days when we continued to fly, still relatively oblivious to its impact on climate.)

Suzi was educated at the radical Black Mountain College and Hunter Art College in New York. She travelled in Europe, living and working for a while with the surrealist René Magritte, about whom she wrote the critical biography, and who gifted her several of his paintings. She made her primary career as a writer and art critic, coming to prominence with arguments that arts needed to turn away from modernism and recognise again the ecological and social function of art. The Reenchantment of Art and Has Modernism Failed? announced her disenchantment with ‘the compulsive and oppressive consumeristic framework in which we do our work’. Later, Conversations Before the End of Time, explored ecological and social themes of art through dialogue with artists and thinkers.

Suzi Gablik
Suzi Gablik

At the time of our visit, Suzi lived in semi-retirement in a suburban clapboard house surrounded by a yard, in regular American small-town fashion. Inside was quite rather different, over-full with memorabilia from the New York art scene and with curiosities of all kinds, certainly not a modernist minimalism. Her living room was dominated by a large and ornate altar to the Black Madonna, which featured in her writing at that time, Living the Magical Life: An Oracular Adventure. We were given a remarkably ornate antique bed to sleep in, with an original Magritte hanging on the wall over our heads; Suzi told us with a wry grin that if ever she ran out of money all she had to do was to sell another of his paintings. 

Jane Lillian Vance Artist
Jane Lillian Vance Artist

Suzi’s main purpose for our visit was to take us to visit her Blacksburg community, friends, artists, storytellers, and shopkeepers. We went to the studio of artist Jane Lillian Vance to see her oil paintings – large and elaborate explorations of Tibetan Buddhist iconography. We listened to another friend recount a long, dramatic narrative about a young man who filled his car with amplifiers and boom boxes, producing such a powerful sound as to set off all the air bags while driving down a highway. And at her favourite shops there was an unspoken but very clear expectation that we would buy something from her friends. In Suzi’s favourite dress shop, Elizabeth found a floral print dress, ‘Tea & Scones’ that proved to be one of her most successful ever, worn to parties and weddings for many years. It still hangs in her wardrobe, although now rather worn.

Eliz Dress
Eliz Dress

We browsed around the independent bookshop while Suzi chatted to the proprietor; we certainly bought something, although at this distance cannot remember what it was. It was in the art dealer’s gallery that the Kuba textile caught our eye. Once we got it home we chose an appropriate framing; it still hangs in our house and has grown in our affection over the years.

The Kuba developed a traditional multicultural kingdom in equatorial West Africa which flourished between the 17th and 19th centuries and is now part of the in the modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo. They have a long and celebrated history of creating elaborately decorative textiles handwoven using the strands from raffia palm leaves dyed in a variety of earth tones using vegetable dyes.

Suzi died in 2022. I am sorry to say I neither of us kept up the friendship, but our memories of our 2002 visit remain fast, aided by the dress and the Kuba textile.

Suzi & Peter
Suzi & Peter

Wedgwood Plate

Wedgwood Plate

Three wide stone steps led up to the front door at Turret Lodge. Wooden double doors – closed only at night – protected the inner door, with its decorative leaded stained glass, and beyond that the large hallway. Immediately to the right was the door to the kitchen, set on swinging hinges for the convenience of servants coming in and out with trays of food. When I idly looked up the current estate agent’s details, this room is identified as ‘Study’. What nonsense! To my mind, it will always be the kitchen.

It was a light and airy room, with tall sash windows looking over the front garden and street, a large wooden table in the middle, and the stove where Gracie used to sit. There was no sink or running water: along with the ancient gas cooker, these were in the dark little scullery to the rear. On one whole wall of the kitchen was a built-in dresser, with drawers full of cutlery and kitchen implements, cupboards below and shelves above. On those shelves were arranged a complete dinner service of blue and white Wedgwood pottery: large dinner plates, smaller side plates, soup bowls, meat platters, serving dishes. The dinner service dominated the kitchen, but I don’t remember it ever being used – Turret Lodge and its residents had faded since its heyday as a family home, exhausted by age and the war. The younger generation, now middle aged, were off with their own families, leaving just Nanna, her sister Great Aunt Florence, Gracie, and a mysterious tenant on the top floor. We lived up the road, so we were in and out all the time, visiting on occasion for tea, but never for a formal dinner.

Big sister Ann remembered it well, for she had lived there for much of World War II. She told me the house was her sanctuary from parental control – Dad was away in the Air Force and Mum had too much to worry about for strict parenting. When Nanna died and the house was cleared, Ann took possession of the dinner service. “Why would you want that, dear?” I can imagine my mother asking; but the faded Victoriana would have appealed to Ann, and I suspect held important childhood memories. She not only kept it on display in her family home and London flat, she used it regularly. Then, in her later years, when she was rather faded after a stroke, it was again just a display in the hallway of her Clifton flat. And now that Ann has died the dinner service has passed on to her daughter Sarah, kept on her kitchen dresser. “I insist on using the plates”, Sarah told me when I borrowed the soup bowl to write this entry to One Hundred Objects. “Even though the glaze is so worn. They must be kept out on the dresser, if you stack them in a cupboard, they go mouldy”.

Sarah dresser

The dinner service remains sharp in my memory. But as I write about it now, my mind is continually drawn to the dresser itself and the cupboards underneath, where one day Gracie showed me the little run, just wire netting over a crude wooden frame, in which she was keeping three or four baby chicks to raise indoors until they were big enough to go with the older chickens in the henhouse. They were just little bundles of yellow fluff, running up and down on spindly legs for the delight of a small boy. And the chicks remind me of the henhouse in the corner of the garden, and the working area behind where the gardener would have a bonfire and allow me to poke it with a stick, and the long shed down the side of the house filled with old lawnmowers, rusty forks, spades, oil cans, and food safes with sliding doors made with perforated zinc. Oh, and the outdoor toilet with a London Telephone Directory hung on a nail to use as toilet paper. Not to speak of the cellar, with steps down from the scullery, dark and dusty, but still set up with the bunk beds and odds of furniture from when it was used as a bomb shelter.

Turret Lodge is advertised by the estate agents as an ‘imposing double fronted property’. The photos show it has been modernised and gentrified to within an inch of its life, made suitable for an aspiring twenty-first century upper middle-class family. I could be outraged at what they have done to my Nanna’s house with all its faded grandeur. But then I realize that my grandparents bought it when they themselves were an ‘aspiring upper middle-class family’. Turret Lodge continues in the role it was originally built for.

Salt Cellars

salt cellars

These glass salt cellars were gift from Gracie for my 21st birthday. They had little spoons to go with them, that I know Gracie searched out. I am sorry they have disappeared.

As a very small boy, I was allowed to slip off my chair early during formal sit up tea at my grandmother’s house – we called her Nanna – while the grown-ups continued eating and chatting. Across the big hall at Turret Lodge, I would push open the swing door – paneled on one side, plain on the other – that led into the working domain of the house – the kitchen, scullery, cellar steps, back lavatory, and outhouses where food was stored in those days before refrigerators. Peering round the door, I would see Gracie sitting in a small rundown armchair by the stove, the door wide open, red hot coals glowing in the grate. She was of course expecting me. She would wave me to the hard upright chair opposite her, where I would sit, swinging my short legs in the air, my knees roasting in the glow of the anthracite burning in the grate. Then would begin our rituals of storytelling.

Gracie was of indeterminate age, short, squat, and with bendy legs, a legacy of her undernourished childhood. She told me how, aged about fourteen, she had seen a notice in the local newsagents for a family seeking a live-in servant, and gone round immediately, on her own account, to knock on the door at Thurleigh Road – where my grandmother and family had lived before Turret Lodge. I never heard my Nanna’s side of the story, but I doubt she was expecting to employ an undernourished and poorly educated girl. Gracie explained to me that her grandmother (who had brought her up) was then invited round to Thurleigh Road, so Nanna could make sure everything was above board and agree arrangements for Gracie’s future. And so it was that Gracie came to live with and work for the Whittlestone family, just after Uncle Cyril, the eldest sibling, was born. She stayed for the rest of her life: through the move to Turret Lodge; the birth of my Aunt Evelyn, my mother, Hilda, and their younger brother Frank; through depression and war; the arrival of the next generation; my grandmother’s decline into dementia and eventual death; until the family provided her with a flat and a pension for her last years.

I never asked any of the adults about Gracie. It never occurred to me to do so. She had such a fixed place in the household and the wider family: much loved, part of the family and yet somehow not; intimate, yet firmly in her place. She always spoke to my father as ‘Mr Reason’, as my grandmother insisted. As an adult, I put together the pieces to understand that Gracie was probably illegitimate, was brought up by her ‘grandmother’, whom she found harsh and punishing, and took the first opportunity she could to get out and find her own life. She was lucky to find my grandmother; she might have done an awful lot worse.

Grace with Ann
Gracie with sister Ann

Once I was settled in my chair, we would start our ritual of storytelling. So many times I heard that story of Gracie coming round to Nanna’s house. Other times, Gracie would tell of her china doll, a much-valued possession, unique in her impoverished childhood. I was told how her grandmother took in laundry. She had a mangle in her back yard which Gracie described in detail, scribbling sketches on whatever bit of paper came to hand. It was a huge machine, with an iron framework, stone weights to create the pressure, and a large wheel which turned the rollers to squeeze the water out of the washing. Gracie left her china doll in on the mangle, and somehow it got caught in the mechanism and was smashed. Gracie got no sympathy. She was told it was all her fault for leaving it in the wrong place. I was, of course, all sympathy for her terrible loss and cross with her horrible grandmother.

At other times, the large tabby tomcat, Tiddles, would leap up on Gracie’s lap and paw her legs – I was always disappointed that Tiddles would never sit on my lap. After a while, he would jump onto the kitchen table and sit next to the tray of Gracie’s tea things. Then the conversation began:

Gracie: What do you want, then?

Tiddles: stares into space and blinks his eyes.

Gracie: Show me what you want.

Tiddles: Looks vaguely in the direction of the milk bottle, sitting half empty on the table with its original tinfoil cap loosely on top.

Gracie: What do you want, then?

This exchange would continue, with me in increasing fits of laughter until:

Tiddles: Reaches out and paws the milk bottle.

Gracie: Take the top off, then…

Tiddles: Stares again into space. If we are lucky, he eventually reaches out and paws the tinfoil cap till it falls off.

Gracie: That’s what you want, is it? So where do you want it?

And again, after interminable questions from Gracie, Tiddles eventually paws the teacup in its saucer… By this time I am rocking to and fro in my chair, incapable with laughter, tears running down my face.

Gracie: There’s a good boy.

Tiddles is rewarded with a saucer of milk, which he laps up, still sitting on the table, splashing milk around.

Gracie let me help her with cooking; she knitted woollen coats for my teddy bears; when I was a little older, she took me to the cinema, to the zoo, to the Planetarium near Baker Street Station. When I was older still, I popped in each day before school to fetch coal up from the cellar. After my grandmother died, we had a regular date watching Friday night television. And, of course, as I entered my teens and got interested in other things, our relationship faded away somewhat. I say ‘of course’, but I was rather ashamed that I had ‘grown out’ of Gracie and abandoned our childlike relationship. For as I look back, I have a feeling in that kitchen with Gracie I experienced an uncomplicated love and acceptance: it was my place, never occupied by my older siblings; there were no complications, no expectations, no need to assert or prove myself.

Gracie had a happy retirement in a two room flat in Turret Lodge. One, day, when I was at University, I heard she had fallen and broken her hip. Next day, she died. “We are all very upset” my mother wrote to me. My last memory is of the tea reception after her funeral, playing “Roar, roar, I’m a lion!” with my two-year-old niece Sarah, under same the dining table I was allowed to slip down from after tea when I was a small boy.


Picnic Bowl

I saw the bowl in a pile put ready to take to the recycling centre and rescued it, at least for long enough to write about the memories it raised. The bowl is the last item from my parents’ picnic set, which I think goes way back to the early years of the marriage in the 1930s. It may even have been a wedding present.

There was also a wicker picnic basket, the size of a small suitcase, with a hinged lid. Two loops were woven into the basket that corresponded to slots in the lid; a dowel was then passed through to hold the lid shut. By the time I was old enough to remember it, the hinges had been replaced by string, the dowel by a length of bamboo. There was a burn-mark on the lid which suggested an accident, probably caused by the little meths stove my father used to boil a kettle. I remember him hunkering down in wind and rain behind a hedge, in the lee of some rocks, or even next to a hole dug in the sand, doing his best to shield the stove from the wind to make tea for my mother. The tin kettle that went with the stove was blackened around the bottom from years over the flames. It had a screw-on lid and stopper for the spout so it could be taken on picnic already full of water – the stopper was long gone in my time; instead, the spout was stuffed with a roll of newspaper.

This picnic basket was complete with a set each of six large plates, small plates, bowls, cups (I don’t remember saucers), containers with screw-on lids for sugar and butter, all made of the same green plastic. There was, I imagine, also a cutlery set, and salt and pepper shakers, and straps to keep things in their proper place. But all these were gone or by the time I remember it. And I am sure that Mum packed a tablecloth, folded neatly over the top to stop everything from rattling.

On the bottom of this last remaining bowl, I can make out the word Beetleware moulded in italic script. An internet search reveals that Beetleware household items made of urea formaldehyde go back to the 1930s. As I suspected, this picnic set was a new and exciting product when my parents acquired it! I also find that I might buy a ‘Green Plastic Beetleware Set, circa 1940s’, from eBay which ‘Comprises a cup, saucer and two plates’ and looks very much like the set I remember – and so yes, there were saucers, of course there were saucers!

The picnic set accompanied us on many family outings and holidays, at first with all of us crammed into the pre-war Morris 10, with me as the littlest sitting on a plank of wood between the two front seats; later in the Standard Vanguard, a great lump of a car which Dad bought because it would hold the whole family plus my grandmother. We used to drive quite regularly from our house in Wandsworth Common to a field by the River Thames near Windsor, taking the car right down to the water’s edge. Mum would pack sandwiches and tea and would sit quietly next to Dad while we children messed about in the river. One day I cut my big toe badly on broken glass; on another Dad broke a tooth on a stone in a fruit cake. When we were bigger, we took the boat my brother John built and so explored the river further. These trips just stopped happening at some point. I don’t know why, and now I am sad that I have little idea of where we went.

On family holidays to Devon and Cornwall the picnic basket was one of the many things that Dad would have to lug down to the beach. Mother would insist we went to the sea and rinsed our hands before we ate, but however hard we tried, the sandwiches still crunched with sand between our teeth.

Maybe the most memorable picnic was on the drive home from holiday in Cornwall. I must have been six or seven. Mum and Dad had decided to drive from Cornwall to London in one go – quite an epic trip in the 1950s. We were woken and bundled into the car while it was still dark, then stopped for breakfast in a layby, I suspect somewhere on the old A30 in North Devon. The plan was for Dad to boil some eggs, but the little meths stove was not up to the job, and at the last minute, Mum realized we had no egg cups and no egg spoons. I squatted disconsolately by the car, struggling to find a way to eat a very soft-boiled egg I was holding in a paper napkin. I suspect I complained loudly.

I am not quite sure how the picnic set was passed on to us. Maybe Dad kept it for sentimental reasons when Mum died, and he came to live near us in Bath. We held on to it for many years, taking it on our own family picnics and boiling kettles – not on the meths stove, which had rusted away, but on a more effective (but much more expensive) Camping Gaz stove. At some point we decided the basket was impractical and took too much space, so with some regrets got rid of it.

And so back to this last bowl. It’s a rather hideous shade of green, scratched and stained on the bottom. When I look carefully, I see it is cracked two thirds of the way around the base. It is fit now to hold nothing but memories. It does that rather well.

Cake Pillars

Elizabeth was clearing out the cupboards in the dining room so we could move the furniture to make space for the carpet fitters. She showed me this box, “I don’t think we need to keep this…?” But there are some things you don’t really need or want to keep but just can’t throw away.

It’s a small box, with a footprint about the size of a postcard, carefully covered with paper which I know my mother must have chosen it intentionally – a silk-screen print based on brass rubbings of knights in armour, produced in the 1960s by my sister Ann and her then husband David as part of their designer business. The paper has got a bit damp in places and the ink has smudged. Written along one long side in capitals, unmistakably in my mother’s hand is CAKE PILLARS. Inside, wrapped in greaseproof paper, are seven plaster cake pillars, mimicking the classical Corinthian style. (Why seven? You need eight for a three-tier cake. What happened to the eighth?)

Cake Pillars

Ann and David married in 1960 with the full panoply of a white wedding. The ceremony took place at Balham Congregational Church, decked out in flowers by my mother. One might think of this as a display, even a kind of potlatch, for my parents’ longstanding friends and acquaintances in the Church regulars. The reception was at our home on Wandsworth Common – luckily it was a fine day so the guests could mingle in the garden. All this was tremendously exciting for me, although I suspect Ann went along with it to keep my parents happy, and because in those days there didn’t seem to be any obvious alternatives other than a rather dull registry office ceremony. My mother, as I remember, did all the catering, including making the cake: a three-tiered construction of rich fruit cake covered in glistening white icing. This was a major performance piece, she must have found it all quite nerve-wracking, as we were to learn in our own way.

Many years later, my wife Elizabeth was asked to make a cake for our niece Anna’s wedding. It was not to be the traditional fruit cake but Devil’s food cake – an over-rich chocolate sponge, far less firm in texture. When it came to assembling the three tiers, the whole assembly tipped sideways and threatened to tumble. It wouldn’t stay stable until I slide wood dowels into the lower layers, like building piles to support top layers.

Anna's Wedding Cake

So what do I do with seven cake pillars in an old cardboard box covered by paper my sister designed long ago? I can’t possibly throw them away, now they have come to life and evoked so many old memories. In particular they carry the ambivalence at the core of my family life: the injunction to work together to keep up appearances that seem rather ridiculous sixty years later.

Flying Jacket

My Father served in World War II in the Royal Air Force as a photographic specialist managing the developing and print process of intelligence photographs. He explained to me that when the British Army was set to cross the Rhine, each platoon sergeant had a full plate print of the section of the river they were to cross. In 1944 this was the height of technological achievement. He came back from the War with this flying jacket, as worn by bomber crews, and a pair of long German scissors. Neither were his, but things he exchanged with his friends. He wore the flying jacket on a very few occasions when it was very cold. But it is only suitable for sitting still in a freezing cold bomber: as soon as the wearer does any exercise, they work up a terrible sweat. The jacket now hangs with our everyday coats along with my teenage leather jacket. I have no use for it, I don’t really want it, but I won’t part with it.

Farmhouse Slatback Chairs

Driving through Barnard Castle in North Yorkshire as a young couple, just married and moved into our first house, we spotted a chair that caught our fancy outside a second-hand furniture shop and made a U-turn to stop outside. We had no furniture to speak of, eating our first supper perched on Habitat stools at the card table left behind by the previous occupants: it collapsed onto our knees as we speared our sausages. The chair was priced at twelve shillings and six pence, so we loaded it into the dicky seat of our Triumph Roadster and drove home. The other chair was given to us by Elizabeth’s mother years later, and again we strapped it onto our car – this time a yellow Renault 6 – for the drive home.

Just So Stories

Just So Stories

This book doesn’t really belong in this narrative. It doesn’t belong to me and it is not in this house. But it wants to be included, as Pooh Bear might have said, and carries a story. So here it is, a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, inscribed in my father’s handwriting to Ann, 1941, for her sixth birthday. 

My Father loved reading these stories, and we loved hearing them. He read with great drama, putting on appropriate voices for the different animal characters. When the bi-coloured python rocksnake eventually managed to pull the Elephant’s Child out of the grip of the crocodile, with a “plop which you could hear up and down the Limpopo River”, he would put his finger inside his cheek and pull it out to make the popping noise. Quite a performance from my undemonstrative father! I imagine that his father read it to him, with the same unaccustomed drama.

I found the book in his bookcase when he died – one of very few that he kept. I was tempted not to mention it, but of course had to ask Ann if she wanted it, to which she replied, “Of course I do! It’s mine!” which says something of the emotional charge it carries.

When Ann died, this was one of two items mentioned in her will, with the wish that it be passed to our cousin Timothy in America. I believe it is on its way. When he opens it, he will see his uncle’s marking of the various stories for reading out loud, in particular the shortening of the rather long story of The Elephant’s Child.

Just So dedication

Family Books

Family Books

The Reason family has had a good share of authors, following in the footsteps of my grandfather Rev Will Reason who wrote serious books on social and religious issues including The Social Problem for Christian CitizensHomes and Housing, and Drink and the Community. He also wrote books for children, including What Jesus Said and The Knight and the Dragon. His brother-in-law, Percy Alden, Liberal Party MP and social campaigner, also wrote on social reform, including The Unemployed – A Social Question and The Unemployable and Democratic England.

 My Aunt Joyce, my father’s eldest sister, was the most prolific writer in the family, writing pretty much a book each year in her mid-years. She published historical novels for children – Bran the Bronze Smith, Swords of Iron, Prentices and Clubs, To Capture the King, The Secret Fortress, Red Pennants Flying – in which imaginary child characters took key roles in real historical events. As a small boy I enjoyed these very much. She also wrote Tales from the LMS (London Missionary Society) and a series of biographies of Christian missionaries – people like John Williams and David Livingstone – who went out to convert the poor ignorant natives in Africa and the South Seas. Very well meaning, but distinctly embarrassing in these post-colonial times!  I think she was very much under-appreciated in my immediate family – seen as a bit odd in many ways. Her life is beautifully re-constructed by Matthew in his book The Resurrection of Joyce Reason, which unfortunately never found a publisher. Her younger sister, Hazel, a science teacher in a girls’ school, published a popular science book The Road to Modern Science which went through several editions. My father Ken did not contribute to the family tradition!

Several of these family books are tucked away on the top shelf in my study. Matthew has collected some more. Some volumes are in very poor condition and need tender loving care. And of course, the tradition of writing has continued in the following two generations.