Why Make a Will?

How to Avoid Family Rows About Your Money

If you die tomorrow, will your property be divided in accordance with your wishes?

fighting over vase 1500

Fighting Over the Family Inheritance

Reasons for Making a Will: Don’t Leave Your Grieving Relatives Fighting Over the Inheritance

An unfair or inadequate Will can create lasting grievances.

If you do not make a Will, your estate will devolve according to the law relating to intestacy (Intestacy means not having a will). The consequence of intestacy is explained below and could be bad news for a number of reasons.

Broadly speaking , a Will disposes of everything which you own. Therefore it should be carefully worded, as it will affect not only the financial well-being of your family but also its harmony.

If your estate is substantial or complicated it would be worth asking a solicitor or qualified practitioner to prepare it, as a Solicitor is experienced in providing for contingencies which you may not yourself have considered.

NB: Until my retirement I was a solicitor specializing in Probate, Wills, Divorce and Family Law. Please note that I am no longer a solicitor, and this article is merely for your guidance, and is not intended to replace appropriate legal advice.

This Advice about Wills and Intestacy Relates to the Law in England and Wales – Bear in mind it might be different in other countries.

Some of this advice would be relevant whichever country you live in, but some of the inheritance and intestacy laws might be quite different. For instance, in many European countries children cannot be completely disinherited and by law would inherit a proportion of their parents’ property, whereas in the UK it is possible for a child to be disinherited completely and get nothing. Also the tax laws and intestacy laws might be quite different, so bear that in mind as you read this.

Countries that have derived their law historically from English law such as Commonwealth and ex-colonies and, to some extent the USA, would have similar but not exactly the same rules. Countries which derive their law from Sharia Law, Roman Law, the Code Napoleon and various other bodies of law would be different in many respects.

This is what a formal will looks like:

Imaginary Will of Joe Bloggs

Imaginary Will of Joe Bloggs

Do You Need a Will? – Facts about Wills and Intestacy

You should make a Will for all or any of the following reasons:-

a) If you wish to change the distribution of your estate to anything other than the intestacy rules, for instance by giving legacies or providing for contingencies which are not covered by the rules.

b) To appoint Executors or Executors and Trustees, other than those who would be entitled under the rules relating to intestacy.

c) To appoint a testamentary guardian of minor children to look after their affairs.

d) To give additional powers to Trustees to administer your estate.

e) To give directions as to the use or disposal of your body.

f) To revoke a previous Will, even if you wish to die intestate (because, although Wills can be revoked in other ways, it is best to do so by Will).

Queen pound sign

No Wonder She’s Smiling

g) To exercise any testamentary Powers of Appointment which you may have under existing Trusts

h) If there are no close relatives, your property will pass to the Crown (not the State) if you are intestate.

Even keen monarchists may find this unpalatable

i) It may be possible to arrange your affairs to avoid or reduce Inheritance Tax. Tax is payable if your estate is worth more than the nil-rate band, currently £325,000 for each spouse or civil partner. The rate of Inheritance Tax is 40% of everything you own over and above the exempted nil-rate band. There are exemptions, in particular there is no Inheritance Tax payable where property passes between spouses or to charities, but it is normally payable when property is left to anyone else.The inheritance tax laws are complicated and you may need professional tax advice.

j) You may wish to leave your home to one beneficiary e.g. your children, but allow someone else e.g. your partner or Mother to live there until their death or marriage, with a provision that the property must not be sold without their consent, or that they must pay the outgoings.

k) If you marry, this normally nullifies any previous will; if you divorce, any existing will takes effect as though your ex-spouse has died, which may leave gaps in your will.

l) If you are unmarried partners or co-owners of property, and die simultaneously, by law the younger is deemed to have survived the older partner. Therefore if you leave everything to each other, the younger partner would inherit the older partner’s estate, which would then pass only to the next-of-kin or persons named in the will of the younger partner. The older partner’s side would be completely disinherited, so provision must be made in a will to avoid this situation.

This is Important Information:

If you get married after you have made a will, it invalidates the will completely (unless the will states specifically that it is made “in contemplation of marriage”). If you want the will to stand, you need to confirm this on the will after the wedding, and this must be signed by you and witnessed by two people,  just like the original will.

Divorce does not invalidate a will – the terms of the will are carried out as though the other spouse had died (so you might need a new executor).

If you have a straightforward will you could buy a will form and do it yourself, but if you are in any doubt, do get proper advice.


You can buy this one on Amazon.com

Adams Last Will and Testament with CD, Forms and Instructions (ALFP117)

 Some People Think it’s Unlucky to Make a Will

The people who might stand to benefit from your estate are even more unlucky if you fail to make a will leaving anything to them.

If you are not married to your partner, they could have big financial problems if you don’t provide for them by will.

Executors and Trustees

What’s the difference between Executors and Trustees?

An Executor is the person who carries out your Will by ascertaining the extent of your estate, collecting in the assets and distributing them in accordance with the Will.

A Trustee means a person who holds property on trust to be used for the benefit of another person called a Beneficiary e.g. you would appoint an adult Trustee to hold and manage property for a child Beneficiary until the child is old enough to look after his or her property. Some children would be considered sensible enough at eighteen and others may not be sensible at fifty, so a Trust may be for a short or for a long period, depending on the circumstances.

The Executors are usually the same people as the Trustees, but not necessarily.

Your Trustees should preferably have the ability to be able to work together and a good mix would be where at least one of them knows the beneficiaries fairly well and at least one of them is good at managing financial matters. The usual choices are therefore a close friend or relation and a professional person. Solicitors are often appointed for this reason.

The Executors too should be capable of dealing with business matters and paperwork, some of which may be complicated. The work can be quite onerous for an unpaid Executor or Trustee and you should therefore ask them first before appointing them in your Will. Professional Executors or Trustees would normally be paid.

Rules for Devolution of Property on Intestacy

Intestacy means “without having a valid will”

If you are intestate, your property would pass to your relatives.This would include your spouse or civil partner. If you have no family, or if they cannot be found, the whole of your estate would pass to the Crown.

If you do have children, your spouse or civil partner would inherit only £250,000 and a life interest in half the residue. The other half would pass to your children. This may be very inconvenient, as it would mean that your spouse or civil partner may not necessarily inherit the whole of the residence in which you both live.

If you do not have children but have other close relatives, your spouse or civil partner would inherit only £450,000 with a life interest in half the residue. This could cause hardship.

NB From time to time, the intestacy law relating to these figures is updated by more recent law, so what goes today may be different if the law changes.

“I can’t understand it, he said he’d look after me, but he put off making a will – I got nothing”

Cohabitants – Their Rights

“Common Law” Spouses are not recognized in law, unlike people in marriage or civil partnership. This means that Unmarried Partners do not have an automatic right to inherit property which is not in joint names.

The Law does not recognize the concept of “Common-Law spouse” except in very limited circumstances. A Cohabitee does not gain rights of ownership merely by contributing to housekeeping or even mortgage payments.leaving home

This does not mean that a Cohabitee will never have a right to property unless it is in joint names, but as the law is so complicated, it is much better to provide for your partner specifically in your Will in order to avoid anxiety and hardship and possibly even court proceedings.  Also, you need to be aware of the fact that there is talk of the law changing to protect cohabitees as cohabitation has become so common these days

Jointly-owned property

When property is jointly owned by two people, they need to decide how the property is to be held in the event of one of them dying. There are two ways of holding a property: –

i) Holding as joint tenants – which means that in the event of the death of one of you the property passes to the other person automatically without the need for a Will. This is the old Roman law called “jus accrescendi” which means that the “right of survivorship” passes to the surviving person.


ii) the property may be held as tenants- in- common and this means that on death the property does not pass to the other person automatically; if there is a Will, it passes in accordance with the Will and if there is no Will it passes to the person’s next- of- kin. The Will might define whether the survivor has a right to continue to live at the property and how the property should devolve if there are children of one or both parties.

When partners are not married it is usual for them to hold jointly owned property as tenants-in-common. They can still pass the property to each other by Will if they want to but if they do not, then they can pass it to someone else. There are often reasons why married couples too would want to hold the property as tenants in common, so that they can each dispose of their individual share – for instance if either of them has a second family or for tax planning.

If you do not already have Wills it would be important to make a Will concerning your share of jointly-owned property. Even if you have, for example, a 100% mortgage, on your death this might be paid off by an insurance policy and there would then be a very substantial asset in your estate.

Unmarried Parents and Wills

stick men family 450

If you have children, the father does not always have automatic Parental Responsibility and if you both agree that he should have this, you may need to sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement, and register it at your local Court. However, under a recent law, if a father attends to register the baby’s birth and his name is entered on the birth certificate, he will now have automatic Parental Responsibility.

Unmarried fathers without Parental Responsibility have few rights with regard to their children.

But an unmarried father still has a legal duty to maintain his children.

Also, if the mother dies, the father does not have an automatic right to have the children residing with him. If they do not already live together, problems could arise if there are also other family members who wish to take on the responsibility of looking after the children. If the family cannot agree where the children should live, an application for residence and or contact would have to be made through the court, who would then have to consider what is in the best interests of the children. All this confusion and uncertainty at a time when they are already suffering from the bereavement.

Even if there is not much of value in the estate, the mother should therefore make a will appointing the father as testamentary guardian (if this is appropriate).

If you would like More information Follow the Links Below – Useful facts about Intestacy and Probate and a chilling and very relevant article about Elder Abuse

There are plenty more articles on the internet – there are huge droves of solicitors with excellent advice websites, in every country and language you can imagine. But on this web page I don’t want to favour one firm of solicitors over another, so I have kept to neutral organizations who are not trying to sell a specific service.

Or you can get this bumper sticker “I Fought the Law and the Law Won”:


Has this webpage “Why Make a Will?” made you think seriously about making a will? Take the Poll Below:

Aside | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How to Keep Children Entertained in the Airport Queue

Expect Long Airport Queues at London Heathrow Airport – be prepared with these tips to keep your kids happy

queue 2964

Queuing at Heathrow Airport

According to several news reports, if you are traveling to London, or the UK generally, you can expect to be in the Immigration Control queue for a very long time.

Here are some tips for stopping your little angels from running wild whilst waiting in the queue, or even disappearing completely in the crowded airport (you should be so lucky!)

First and Last: Whenever You Travel With Children, Always Have a Note Pad and Pencils Available

Then the children can play games which need to be written down and you can record your thoughts, contacts and ideas, or even write a poem

5 Ways to Keep Kids Entertained For 10 Minutes at a time

(When I use the phrase “keeping children entertained”, this also includes “keeping children occupied” because some of the things suggested may be simply to get them off your back, and keeping them busy, rather than entertaining them in the strict sense of the words)

First Entertainment for Your Children:

Scissors, Stone or Paper

scissors stone

This game is usually played in couples. Each person clenches a fist and on the count of three, each of them either keeps their hand clenched (which represents a stone), opens two fingers (representing scissors), or holds their hand out flat (representing paper). There is a hierarchy and the winner is the person whose representation is unscathed by the other person’s representation. The rules are that paper wraps round a rock and stops it being used as a weapon, so paper wins. But paper can be cut by scissors, so scissors win over paper. Stones can blunt scissors, so stones win over scissors.
This is fun, but I doubt whether people would want to play longer than about 8 minutes, so take your time explaining how to play, with a dummy run, and maybe recruit other children in the queue to play too – their parents will thank you!
Total 10 minutes

Second Way to Entertain the Kids:

Bring out something to eat or drink

NB you probably won’t be able to buy anything before you go through immigration, so bring something with you.
Consumption of goodies will only take about five minutes but you could gain another five minutes by giving them a bit of a shpiel – discussing what they are going to get, and who wants what, and then scuffling around looking for it, unpacking it slowly and distributing it.
Running Total: 20 minutes

Third Way to Entertain the Kids:

Get Physical:

– Can You Raise Just One Eyebrow? john 400

– Can you wiggle your ears? I can’t do that, but my brother can.

– Can you raise just one eyebrow? Lots of people can, but it takes practice – still, you have all the time in the world

– Can you wink with alternate eyes, first one, then the other? Some people can’t even wink properly

– Can you stand on one leg? See who can balance the longest without falling over

– Can you push(contort) your thumb down to touch your wrist? (I used to be able to do this, but anno domini has stepped in to stiffen the old joints these days)

– Who can make the ugliest face?

– Who can pat their head up and down whilst rubbing their tummy round in a circle? Needs practice. I can do it.

– Can you whistle a song through your teeth? I can, but I must stop talking about my prowess.

– Can you click your fingers? Being Spanish or upper -class helps

Then there are tongue twisters, which can amuse adults and children alike: This is my web page called The English Tongue Twister

And maybe you have your own ideas about some more of these, including strange noises and gestures, but trying not to annoy the people next to you.

That’s another 15 minutes

Total 35 minutes

Fourth Way of Entertaining the Children:

Magic Tricks:

Maybe bring a pack of cards, toothpicks or anything else you would use as a prop.

If nothing else, you can always hide a coin in your hand, and fish it out of your child’s ear, with suitable diversionary hand-waving and incantations of “Abracadabra”, or hide something up your sleeve. You could even get other people in the queue to join in – there’s bound to be an amateur conjuror amongst them.

That’s another 10 minutes

Running Total 45 minutes

Most adults and older children know one or two conjuring tricks, so just prepare a couple in advance, and do your best.

Fifth Way of Entertaining Your Kids:

Have a Note Pad and Pencils Available             notepad and pencils

Then the children can play various games:

– Noughts and Crosses

– Hangman

– Battleship and

– Do some drawing.

That’s about 15 minutes, maybe even 20 minutes

Running Total 1 hour

By now the queue should have moved –

If the prospect is still not hopeful:

The family can always fall back on books and digital games (if you could tear the children away from these in the first place)

Definitely 20 minutes

Final Total 1 hour 20 minutes

And your children should have very happy memories of the Immigration Control hall, for the rest of their lives.

This is the most recent Harry Potter Book (Until the new one is released in June 2016) – an Amazon Best Seller for Children’s Books

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

This should keep older children happy for a few hours

 Here are Some Relevant Links With an “Airport” or “Entertaining Kids” Theme:

How to keep children entertained Whilst Queuing at the Airport
More of my ideas for entertaining children, including counting games, alphabet games, and so forth.
The Airport Code Game
In case you didn’t know, each Airport has a unique 3 letter code (for example, London Heathrow is LHR). These codes can be used to make words. Hey presto! That’s the game!
How To Teach Your Kids DIY And Make It A Fun Activity
This is a particularly good page with plenty of ideas which would also teach children useful skills
Making Funny Faces
“Funny Face Competition Rules: The rules are simple, you are only allowed to use your face, no accessories such as glasses, no make up and no hands. the winner is the person who makes the funniest or most grotesque face.”

Have You Ever Been Stopped and Taken Aside for Questioning By Border Control? – What’s the longest you think it’s reasonable to have to queue?

We all know they have to do their job, and it helps to keep us safe, but, really, isn’t 2 hours a bit too long to queue?

Take this poll and see what everyone thinks:

 Some of my Zazzle Designs for Kids on Travel Mugs and a Shopping Bag

On Zazzle you can choose your own design and wording or just go for other people’s designs

Rag Doll Travel Mug


Mug – Nine Dollies in a Row by GloriousConfusion

See more of my designs in my Zazzle Shop: Glorious Confusion

To End up -a YouTube Video

A Stupidly Long Queue at Heathrow Airport, London

Now you know why I wrote this article.

Posted in Children | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Are we All Immigrant Families?

bon voyage 6434167323_75592e8204_m

In this world of upheaval and long distance travel, many families have travelled away from home to find a better life for themselves and their families. It might be because of persecution, the prospect of a better financial position or even better weather, but certainly those people are seeking an improved lifestyle. Or of course it might just be because they have fallen in love with and married a foreigner

How many of us have all four grandparents or both parents born in the same country that we now live in? I suspect there is a little bit of immigrant in a vast percentage of families. Let’s see what readers say:

Posted in Family Stories and History | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Things my Mother Taught me

computer drawing nice one125

My Mother’s Favorite Sayings:

Thanks to my mother, on balance I have tended to live by these sayings – not consciously, but I am sure they have entered my psyche.

    • “If you haven’t got it in the head, you’ve got to have it in the feet” (meaning, for the uninitiated, “Don’t leave a room empty-handed”).  To this day, I always look around the room I am leaving to collect any empty cups, loose papers or clothing strewn in the wrong place to deposit it in its rightful home.
    •  “What can you expect from a donkey but a kick?” I love this one – my Grandmother used to say it with a slight accent, as in “Vot ken you expect frum a dunkey  but a kick?”
    • “Neither a borrower nor a lender be” (A very wise saying from

Songs my Mother Sang to Me When I was a child:

Thanks to my mother, I still remember many songs of that past era

My mother used to sing to me a lot – many of the popular songs of the time –

             1.  “There’ll be Blue Birds Over the white cliffs of Dover”

              2.”Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Bluebirds Fly”

               3.”Tea for Two, For Me and You”

You don’t hear many of them nowadays, do you?

Posted in Family Stories and History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Music my Mother Used to Like

Music that Reminds me of my Mother

Isn’t it strange how music seems to play a large part in jogging the memory, and various songs and tunes will immediately remind you of a specific person or occasion

Mum in Barcelona 1969100

A Serenade to my Mother in Barcelona

My mother was a very good pianist – a fact I never really knew until I was about thirteen. That’s because we didn’t have a piano before that.  My family had quite a peripatetic life when I was young, which did not allow for the possession of a piano.  During the War years, we moved around England and Wales, following my father who was in the army.  We returned to our home in Essex for a short time and then started a new life in Northern Rhodesia in Central Africa, (now Zambia). Eventually my parents bought a flat in Capetown, South Africa, with a lounge large enough to house a grand piano, and only then did my mother’s talent come to light for me.

Here’s some of the music my mother played or liked:

“The Warsaw Concerto” which she would play herself on the piano.  It possibly had poignant memories for her, via her own mother, because my Grandmother’s family were refugees from Poland in 1916.


She also liked “Nessun Dorma”, which my father used to sing in the bath.  He loved opera and of course the bathroom is an ideal echo chamber.  He had a very good voice, and knew all the words. In fact my mother told me that at one time he did actually think of training as an opera singer.  Naturally we had a great collection of opera music records (we didn’t call them “vinyls”, which is the somewhat new-fangled term).


My mother’s choice of pop music was somewhat limited compared with the younger members of the family, but she did like Abba when they hit the scene, and in particular,  “Chiquita”.


La Mere, sung by Charles Trenet, was another family favorite – my parents both loved all the popular French songs of the 1950’s and they bring back very happy memories of very metropolitan parties when we lived in Central Africa.


I’ve been smiling, just writing this post, as I think back over the happy times we had singing along to the music in the 20th Century, just like they do now in the 21st Century.

Posted in Family Stories and History | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Tribute to My Mother for Mother’s Day

whiite bouquet 2012-01-25 750

Flowers for Mother’s Day

In Memory of My Mother Who Died on 26th January 2007

In loving memory of my Mother, I want to tell you her story – this page is all about my Mother

My mother died nine years ago and, for me, Mother’s Day will always have a special poignancy because of her.

My mother had an eventful life, and was very positive, full of vitality and fighting spirit

She had hard times but she also had a lot of fun and a good life whilst my father was alive.

Sadly my father died twenty five years before she did, and my mother never found anyone later who she felt would match him or have her love. He adored her and looked after her well – indeed, they looked after each other.

My Mother Told Me She Was Born in 1913 – Nonsense!

Leah, or Lily as she was known for most of her life, was born in July 1912 and died in January 2007, at the age of 95.

Mum pregnant David 1936104

My mother was born in July, certainly, to Katie and Nathan, and we all believed this was in 1913. It was only very recently when we were discussing the birth date of her brother that we discovered that she couldn’t possibly have been born in 1913, as that was the year he was born, and she was a year older than him. She then admitted that there had been a mistake when her first passport was issued, and she was happy to recognize that as the official date.

So we had to revise our thinking, realizing she wasn’t 89 but 90 years old.

About that time for reasons only she knew, my mother changed her first name from Lily to Lilian which was neither her birth name nor the name by which she was usually called. That was a bit confusing for her family who had known her all their lives as Lily!

Romance, and a Broken Engagement

Lily’s mother Katie had a very good solicitor, newly qualified, bright and charming. His name was Morris and, although Lily was at that time engaged to another, Katie insisted that she meet him, and the rest was history.

Lily and Morris (my father) had a huge wedding in 1933. Lily looked absolutely gorgeous in her lacy wedding dress and lily bouquet. Joe Loss and his Band played the music, just as they were becoming famous.  At the reception, Morris’s younger sister and brother, aged 16 and 15 respectively, both disgraced themselves by getting drunk, and his sister was sick under the table. She never lived it down – drinking was permissible, but not drunkeness.

My Mother’s Early Years

Before I Knew Lily

My mother’s parents were immigrants to England from the Russian and Polish Pogroms respectively, hence the significance of our choice to play The Warsaw Concerto at her funeral. It had an added poignancy because she used to play it so beautifully on her cherished grand piano in her middle years when she lived in Cape Town, South Africa.

My mother told me that her parents had a large shoe shop in the East End of London and could afford to pay for her to have piano lessons, and she also loved singing and dancing. As a child, I never even realized my mother could play the piano, because we didn’t have one in the home until she was about 45.

When Lily was 16 her father died, and she told me she was grief-stricken because he adored her and used to make a big fuss of her.

Then Came the Children …..But hard times ahead in the War years

My brother David was born in 1934. And I was born a few years later.

Mum David and Me baby103

My Mother with my Brother and Me

My mother adored babies, her own and other peoples’ – she was a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother Mum and J Capetown113

A cute picture of her with my daughter (many years later) in Capetown at Seapoint Swimming Pool

Here she is, below, with three generations: daughter, grandchildren and great-grand-children (the generations got a bit mixed up because my sister started her family at the same time as my daughter )

Mum and 5 children118 copy

 My father joined up voluntarily, before conscription

In 1939 war broke out. My father didn’t wait to be called up – news of the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews was filtering out, and he volunteered for the Territorial Army.

My mother left their beautiful, spacious mansion flat at Westcliff-on-Sea, in Essex and followed him up and down the country, to be near him when he was able to snatch a few days’ leave.

In all, she had 32 moves in 6 yrs and always said this was the hardest time of her life, travelling round on trains with a baby and naughty little boy, knocking on doors begging for accommodation in places like Swindon, and Rhyl in North Wales. Nobody wanted a young mother with two children billeted on them.

She had to live in awful conditions, in one room, often very lonely, and times were not easy, particularly for someone who, like her, was used to a degree of comfort and good living. She told me that in one place she didn’t even have a chair, just a deckchair and a bed, and her landlord wouldn’t even let her use a 60-watt light bulb, insisting that she change it for a 40-watt bulb, as she was “wasting electricity”.

Dark times indeed

However, there were compensations, and I remember wonderful times when she worked on a farm, possibly as a Land Girl, and we used to go to a farm and milk cows, and have picnics in meadows with pigs chasing us.

My First Holiday Ever – in 1946 – And my first aeroplane flight:

After the war we returned to Westcliff-on-Sea for about four years.

I remember my first holiday ever , in 1946, when we all went up in a tiny plane and flew to Belgium to meet my father’s sister, her husband and their daughter for a holiday in Belgium. There was more food on the hotel table than I had ever seen before, as there was food rationing in England at that time and things were in short supply.

Ostende 1946102

Family Holiday in Belgium, 1946

Post-war Life in England was Hard

My father decided we would do better if we emigrated

So in 1949 my father travelled to Northern Rhodesia (now known as Zambia) in central Africa to see what work as a solicitor was like there. When the partner in the solicitors’ firm died 6 weeks later, Dad was asked to become his replacement. He found a house and we joined him there.

It was a big move and at first my mother was very unhappy and lonely when my father was at work, and wanted to return to England, home.

Diaspora from England

Our family followed us

Over the years, at my father’s instigation, members of both their families followed us to Africa. There were my father’s brother and sister with their respective spouses and children, my mother’s brother and his son , and my father’s Uncle with his wife and son, and finally my maternal grandmother Katie arrived. Even my father’s Aunt joined us for a holiday. Several of the family married and had their own families in Africa. At its height I can count about 26 of our family in various parts of Southern Africa at one time, all as a result of my parents moving there in 1948.

But between the 1960’s and 1980’s many of them were gone, one or two dying, but mostly, including myself, just dispersing across the world – a mini-diaspora I suppose.

This was an era of partying – These Were the Good Times

– Loads of family and friends coming and going, with sun-downers in the garden or on the verandah in true colonial style.

Mum on Ship 1969 350

An Era of Partying – These Were the Good Times

As well as having their family around them, my parents also had some very good and lasting friends who were constant visitors. The Copperbelt town Ndola was very cosmopolitan – almost as cosmopolitan as London today, but of course more rough-and-ready.

My sister was born in Ndola in the 1950’s and changed everybody’s lives. She was 17 years younger than my brother, and 13 years younger than me. What with pets – Patch my little dog, Binkie the boxer dog, Micky and Cheeky the monkeys, Peter the Cat, Donald the Duck and a bushbaby – life was quite hectic.

We moved to a bigger and better house, and had a swimming pool built. Much swimming and drinking of gin and tonic went on, with many holidays in Capetown which was the nearest holiday resort by the sea. Whilst my brother and I were at boarding school, my parents went on cruises round Africa to Zanzibar and through Suez and the Mediterranean, the Canaries and Madeira. There were holidays all over Europe: Vienna and Rome, Nice and and the casinos at Monte Carlo.

When Dad retired, my parents moved to live in a flat on the Sea Front in Cape Town, South Africa.

Falling in Love With Spain

After holidaying a few times in Spain in the 1960’s, my parents bought a flat there.

My father’s sister and her husband had already bought a flat there, and later his other sister and her husband bought one there too, followed a few years later by my cousin who moved over from England to live nearby in Marbella.

So, once again, the family were gathered together, all living near each other in a foreign land.

That’s my mother and children sitting at a beach bar:

Mum J and C Spain112

Los Boliches near Fuengirola, Costa del Sol

Unfortunately my father died quite young in 1967, before he had time to enjoy the flat. My mother and he were still very much in love and it took her many years to recover from her deep sadness.

My Mother Began to Travel Again

South America, Cruising Down the Danube

Eventually my mother got used to living alone, though she was never as happy again as she had been when my father was alive.

She had many friends, and these were her bridge-playing years. She went on cruises to South America and also down the Danube, as well as other places.

Mum 1969 South America110

Gradually her health began to fail

And fourteen years ago she became so ill that she could no longer look after herself and she went to stay in a care home in Spain. There she declined so rapidly that she would not have lived more than a few weeks if my sister’s husband had not flown over from London to rescue her and bring her back to London.

After that she lived in a care home near them for her last five years. She loved to have her family and visitors popping in, and always looked forward to seeing us. My sister, her husband and their children between them saw her almost every day, sometimes more, and she loved her granddaughter’s stories and her grandson’s corny jokes. I lived a bit further away, and visited her every weekend without fail.

My mother died in January 2007

She was the last of that generation who were young adults during the war and saw such huge social change in their lifetimes

Her fighting spirit towards the end was nothing short of a miracle and I miss my mother very much – indeed, we all miss her.

This Portrait of my Mother was Painted By her Grandson, Alexander (my Nephew) – In the Year that She Died, aged 95

Mum painting Alexander115

He Caught her Pose Exactly


Posted in Family Stories and History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment