|My Mother aged 24 in Sofia Bulgaria in 1944, just before fleeing to Germany from the Russian invasion. She never saw her father again.|
|Norah who we have been underfeeding unwittingly, is today a bit under the weather|
I am not under the weather, just in need of a bit more action. There are no trips or lovely meals to recount this week I’m afraid. In fact it’s been quiet, far too quiet. The highlight in my life this week was my Mother’s birthday. On 7th June she would have been 91 and probably going quite strong if it hadn’t been for the cancer which struck her for the third and final time when she left us forever on 1st October 1999. What can I say that I haven’t said here before? That we miss her of course and will never forget her. She was, as many of you know larger than life, a most extraordinary woman and well loved by many. Her life was marked forever by the Bolshevik Revolution of course, being born in the midst of it, when her aristocratic family fled to Rome. I cannot be completely sure but I think she was born in what had been the Russian Embassy in Rome. This fact could well have given her citizenship in Europe after the Second World War but she never thought to tell the authorities and thus started life as a refugee in England in the late 40’s. Mummy, I love you and I miss you, especially on your birthday and on the1st October, two dates I will never ever forget.
|My Mother in Cambridge in 1954, just after she married my Father|
After writing that last sentence I looked for a photo to illustrate this part of the blog and went to my archive, a file and album I compiled about my Mother some years ago. I flipped through it and came across the document I was looking for: “The Life of Mrs. Elena Lloyd, Princess Von Lieven, The key details”, written by Richard, Amanda’s first husband in 1993 when he interviewed my Mother in the hope of writing her story. Unfortunately my Mother did not like the first three chapters and asked him politely not to continue, the reasons too long to go into right now. Here I was able to confirm that my Mother was indeed born in the former Russian Embassy in Rome, that she was christened in the Russian Church there and that her godmother was Princess Zenaida Yusupov, her maternal grandmother’s first cousin (and mother of Prince Felix Yusupov who killed Rasputin!). The Yusupovs were the richest noble family in the Russian court and I well remember visiting their family palace in St. Petersburg when I hosted a press trip whilst working for Nokia a few years ago. It’s one of the top places to visit in that most Zarist of cities. I could not tell anyone what I thought as I walked through the “museum” or that my grandparents had probably been invited there on numerous occasions. In my Mother’s family Princess Zenaida Yusupov was known as “Aunt Fairy” and they lived with her for a year in Rome before moving to Bulgaria. As I looked at her portrait and walked through the palatial rooms the lump in my throat grew and I wondered what life was like for my ancestors and how the Bolshevik Revolution tore all their lives apart. I was not just another tourist, I was one of them, albeit a poor ancestor, and the feeling was very intense.
|Princess Zenaida Yusupov, my Mother's godmother. They called her "Aunty Fairy"|
When my Mother was born in Rome, by then the family had lost everything and were preparing a new life which would take them to Bulgaria. Years later my Mother asked her Mother what it felt like to be rich. She replied, “when I was rich I didn’t notice it and when I was poor there was too much to do to notice it”! And thereby lies a very long story which one day I will write in a biographical manner not as a novel which is what Richard tried to do. I owe it to my Mother, I owe it to myself and I owe it to my daughters.
|Our mediterranean garden is at its best at this time of year|
|It's so exotic to have peaches growing in your garden.|
Eladio planted more hydrangeas last year and now they are in bloom. They are one of my favourite flowers after roses of course. Here you can see what they look like in another photo I took of our garden this week.
|Eladio's hydrangeas are in full bloom|
Being a quiet week, there has been time for reading. This week I started and finished one of John Grisham’s latest books, TheConfession, which I picked up at Stockholm Arlanda Airport on my last trip. I loved his first books but began to tire of the American legal jargon but the Confession is riveting and I read most evenings until the end which disappointed me. I wanted the innocent man to be exonerated before being executed brutally and unfairly at the terrible Texan prison.
Suzy joined us in our reading by the pool and I like this photograph of her here with Norah sitting on the wicker sofa. She probably won't like it as she's wearing a nightie but she looks so relaxed and Norah does too.
|Suzy reading with us and Norah relaxing.|
|I am reading my first book by Isabel Allende this week: Paula|
|Yet another parcel came from Emma Bridgewater this week. I promise it will be the last at least for a year.|
More importantly I went to the dentist for one more final session in the process and treatment that started some 6 months ago. Since Thursday I can now eat on both sides of my mouth as at last as Dr. Garralda, with a little help from his lawyer daughter Paloma who will be reading this blog, finally put in a new bridge on one side and the crown of the new implant on the other. My mouth feels strange but now I can smile without being wary of what I look like. Thank you Dr. Garralda for the great job!
So yes it has been a quiet week. Things have happened which are too private to recount here and that is frustrating. But of course you cannot include private things in a public blog. But I can tell you that we are upset as our best friends are splitting up because you won’t know who they are. So no more meals out with them or trips. They are our only close friends in Spain as the others live in Belgium and the UK. Eladio remarked the other day that at this late stage in life it will be difficult to find a replacement. We are sad that they are splitting up of course but we are equally sad that we are losing them because, once they are separate, our friendship will just never be the same again.
And on that sad note I leave you. However I have an action packed week ahead of me with important meetings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. What I am most looking forward to, is our trip to Brussels on Thursday for a long weekend with Sandie, Jeffer, Adele and Bernard, another wonderful University reunion. I can’t wait and I know it’s going to rain but I don’t care. There’ll be plenty of news about it in next week’s edition.
Till then, have a good week,