Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The notice said more than most of us realised

• Clarissa Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmerelda Dickson Wright, cook, bookshop owner, writer and broadcaster, born 24 June 1947; died 15 March 2014

Anyone landed with a name like that was bound to have problems.
I rather liked "The two fat ladies". As most regular readers of this blog know I watch almost no television. I simply cannot be bothered but I did watch those two break every rule in the book - and enjoy doing it.
I met Clarissa Dickson Wright once. We met at a party in London - long before her television days. She promptly hauled me into a corner and grilled me about kangaroo meat - a subject about which I know very little. I eat very little meat and I have never eaten kangaroo. It didn't seem to bother her.
          "You must know something."
I told her what little I knew from my time in remote areas where, yes, kangaroo was and still is killed to be eaten. I also introduced her to the idea of "quandongs" - often described as a "wild peach". She scribbled that word down on the back of a ticket - having borrowed both ticket and pen from one of the men present.
Her personality was - to me - much like the one she later presented on television. She was there to enjoy the experience, to make the most of life but I sensed the traumas in her life.
She had dressed for the party - in a caftan of sorts - but I suspect she had forgotten to do her hair. That did not seem to matter. I don't think she cared very much about her appearance - or perhaps she felt it was not going to make a lot of difference to the way people viewed her.
And the other thing we talked about was names. She did not tell me her full name. I didn't know it until I saw the notice but now I wonder how she ever filled out a form with her "full name" - or did she just stop at a certain point? What did she really think of being given eleven names and a double barrelled surname? What were her parents thinking of?
I liked the little I saw of her. She would have been an interesting person to know but our paths never crossed again. It was never likely to happen but I watched her on television and wondered if she ever ate kangaroo or tried the quandongs - and how happy she really was.


jeanfromcornwall said...

Never met her but she is much liked and respected in this household. Was, now. Having read her autobiographies, I get the sense that once she was able to put things down on paper, she was able to make her peace with all the bad things there had been in her life, and find a measure of contentment.
I was a little shocked to see that she was the same age as me.

Anonymous said...

One of the wonderful characters who have become well known around the world ... for the right sort of reasons.

The lack of interesting and entertaining characters is the reason I watch very little TV. I live with a sports fan, and find that sport is probably the most interesting thing on the program many days, and I don't enjoy sport! I certainly rarely find any reason to make him change the channel for me!

catdownunder said...

and only a little older than me - and yes, well known for the right reasons. It would have been interesting to know her better. The library has two of her books - the cookery books - and I gave another autobiographical one to my aunt for her birthday. She said it was "fascinating."