Saturday, 17 December 2016
Broccoli and Bloody-Mindedness
She was born prematurely and was not a wanted child, in army barracks in the year of 1931.
She had cerebral palsy, yet she had a mind that was sharp and she had what was described as "a sense of fun."
Her childhood was chaotic and tinged with rage, some naughtiness and a few escapades and narrow scrapes.
Somehow, and it has to be said, the odds were somewhat stacked against her, Antonia was able to attend university and after leaving university she took up a career as a teacher in London.
She discovered sex and found that she quite like it and, after a few exciting and exhilarating years she, perhaps unexpectedly, got married to Hugo.
This brought about adventures of their own, as Hugo took her off to live in the African country of Nigeria.
Some time later they move to South Africa where Antonia discovers apartheid and realises that she hates it, which brings her suppressed rebellious nature to the surface.
She decides that she will make her way into Black zones that are normally forbidden to white people.
How does she do this? By the simple expedient of selling coffins ad teaching black students.
The South African authorities find her attitudes if not in breach of the apartheid regulations, certainly somewhat disturbing so they "invite" the family to return to the UK.
Domestic tasks were beyond her -due to three small children- and she eventually suffers from a breakdown in her physical health, with resultant chronic back pain.
Eventually Hugo leaves her and things get a little chaotic.
She finds that teaching is now too physically demanding and so she takes the decision to retrain as a psychotherapist, which results in more years of work that she found utterly fascinating and rewarding, in the main.
In later years she has campaigned for the re-legalisation of cannabis for medical use and when asked recently by her doctor how she had survived so long she responded with the improtal line: "Broccoli and bloody-mindedness!"
The book is illustrated with photographs and it is an autobiography that really shoulds be bought as a Christmas present for those who like autobiographies about real people.
It is published by Matador at £7.99 and is available for purchase here >>> https://goo.gl/AzQ0XD but od use the express delivery option if you ant it before Christmas.