Friday 12 August 2022

The Good Servant by Fern Britton

I wasn’t sure what to expect of this book, which is completely different from Fern’s Cornish based books. This is the story of Marion Crawford, nicknamed Crawfie, who became Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret’s governess from when they were very young until Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip. Fern has researched her subject thoroughly - check the bibliography at the back of the book - and it is a fascinating part of history that most of us, of a certain age, are familiar with. But there is an added twist to this story - once Crawfie retired, this dutiful woman, who devoted most of her life to the royal family, sold the story of their lives in her book, The Little Princesses. Trying to keep to the facts as much as possible, but mixing with fiction where necessary, Fern explores why Crawfie might have done this and how the royal family could have instantly banished her, resulting in Crawfie’s isolation and misery. The other interesting character in all this was Sir Alan ‘Tommy’ Lascelles, who was assistant private secretary to King George V, King Edward VIII, and private secretary to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. He and Crawfie met at least once, and Fern creates a mutual friendship between these two: Marion who always put the royal family first - she even postponed her marriage for over ten years - yet was destroyed by her book. Tommy, on the other hand, was perhaps stronger and certainly wilier and while he had little of Marion’s respect for the family, he survived untouched. This is an interesting take on a sad, true story, which deserves to be written about. Well done, Fern, for bringing it to our attention. It’d make a great film…… Watch out The Crown… And on a personal note, I received the first proofs for my novel cover. I went into a complete tailspin I was so excited, and nervous, because it’s so important to get the cover right. A long talk to the designer later, and we’re both happy. This journey has really started!

Monday 1 August 2022


This was actually taken on our last trip away, at the Treffry viaduct near St Austell, in a valley riddled with wonderful mining heritage. But that's another story for a different day.

I set off for the Lizard thinking I'd be away a few days, as usual, but M helped take an elderly neighbour to the dentist, shopping etc on the Monday, and then on Tuesday they very kindly took us to lunch as a thank you. We went to the most southerly cafe at Lizard Point and sat outside, overlooking the sparkling sea, while the sun shone, the food was lovely and a good time was had by all. But by the time we got back it was getting late and we had to walk the dogs, I was knackered and the day whistled away - so much for getting any work done.

The next day I felt a bit weird in the morning, as if I was going down with a Lurgy. M looked at me, fed me a crumpet and Lemsip and suggested gently that I should go back to bed for a bit. Two hours later, I'd slept the morning away - and I never do that! I slept for the next two days on and off, in between staggering out to walk Lainy in the graveyard. I would add that this is 5 minutes down the road, and I can let her off, so while feeling rubbish it meant she could chase rabbits for half an hour and I could collapse on the bench provided before taking her back.

Having lived on my own for the last twelve years, it was a real joy to be looked after when poorly. Cups of tea and plates of toast arrived at regular intervals, or a little ramekin dish of ice cream. My washing was done. The little, important, things make all the difference when you're feeling rubbish.

So I am very grateful to have had such a good nurse. My friends upstairs rang to see how I was and when I was coming back, as Joe was watering my plants for me, and I received a lovely welcome when I did get back, as well as a bunch of sweet peas from their garden.

So while it can be confusing living in two places at once, it's very lovely to be so appreciated.

I now have to try and catch up on everything here, and get my head back into work mode....