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.