Posted on Posted in The Writing Life

Last Saturday Mr Nina and I attended a Conservation training course in the lovely Hampshire Village of  Goodwood Clatford near Andover.  

We enjoyed out picnic lunch by the river in the warm sunshine looking out onto this view

The training course was being held in a very modern hall attached to St Peter’s Church and during the coffee break I peeked into the tiny ancient cemetry behind the church and saw this:

A quick search on the magical Internet revealed that Lucille d’Oyen Iremonger was indeed a writer – and a woman who enjoyed an extraordinary life.

Lucille was a novelist, journalist, politician and broadcaster who was highly regarded for her thoughtful examinations history, politics, and parapsycology. Born in Jamaica and a white french creole, Lucille received her M.A. at Oxford University (1939) with honors before travelling to Gilbert and Ellice Islands in the Western Pacific with her new husband Tom Iremonger who had joined the Colonial service, partly because of his love of sailing.

In her book It’s A Bigger Life (1948), Lucille later described the Western Pacific idyll before the Japanese invasion of the Second World War. In later life Tom Iremonger would state that nothing worried him because he was living on borrowed time. What he meant was that thanks to accompanying Lucille to Fiji to convalesce after an illness, he had escaped the fate of many of his friends in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, who had their heads cut off by the Japanese.

Lucille later became a very prominent member of Parliament.

Just think. A french white Creole woman who went to Oxford in the 1930s followed by the Colonial Service on islands in the South Pacific before the idyllic life there was destroyed. What a magical world that must have been for a  young couple in their 20s wealthy enough to enjoy it.

A bigger life indeed.

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