A Wartime Diary
By Joan Wyndham
* 'A latter-day Pepys in camiknickers
On my way to the studio there was an air-raid. I ran into the brick shelter in the middle of the road. There were poor little Leonard and Agnes sitting on their suitcases, having lost their all. Luckily Leonard had been wearing his best trousers at the time. Madame Arcana was there too wearing a gold brocade toque and a blanket. It was bloody cold and I wanted to pee badly, but couldn't. Leonard wouldn't give me his seat as he believes in the equality of the sexes, so I sat on the floor...'
August 1939. As a teenage Catholic virgin, Joan Wyndham spent her days trying to remain pure and unsullied and her nights trying to stay alive. Huddled in the air-raid shelter, she wrote secretly and obsessively about the strange yet exhilarating times she was living through, sure that this was ' the happiest time of my life'.
Since 1945 Joan Wyndham has led a rich and varied life, including opening Oxford's first espresso bar, running a hippie restaurant in Portobello Road, and cooking at major pop festivals. Married and with two daughters, she lives in London.
- Other details
- Publication date:
01 Nov 2001
- Page count:
Fresh, exuberant, wonderfully funny — VAL HENNESSY
A marvellous book -- so funny, and moving, and its immediacy is extraordinary! Joan Wyndham is a marvellous writer, one of those rare people with perfect pitch — SELINA HASTINGS
No one, except Anthony Powell, has managed to create so exactly the atmosphere of London in the forties — THE TIMES
A latter-day Pepys in camiknickers — (tbc)