Life with Jonathan, while he was still at UEA, had been turbulent. I was relieved when he finally moved to London, and I could now work hard for my Finals and concentrate on my own needs, friends – and creativity. I had been sharing with dear friends ( Vivien and Anthony Lovell) in student ‘digs’ in College Road, Norwich, but decided to move back to a room at 33, Unthank Road to concentrate on my studies.
Colin , Jonathan’s brother, had moved in to JR’s attic flat here. Colin was studying for an an M.A. at UEA, and we were already good friends. He was to guide me, with great kindness, through my Finals, providing a timetable for me ( for revising), and humour and support at all times. We would meet every night for a beer at our local pub, at the end of the day, to discuss my progress. I liked and appreciated the routine he provided. He had become a true and loyal friend.
My relationship with his brother had deteriorated to such a point that Jonathan once threw a copy of Angus Wilson’s The Wrong Set at me. Things were becoming farcical between us. We were very ill-matched. Once, Jonathan accused me of being too ‘below stairs’ for him, and said that he doubted that my family had ever had ‘servants’ I laughed at all this absurdity, and years later, when reading my family tree, I noted, a bit guiltily, that in the 1881 Census it stated that my great- grandparents had employed two ‘live-in’ domestics: ‘Bessie’, a ‘general domestic servant’, and ‘Ellen’, a nursemaid, at their home at 6, Oxford Road, Hornsey, in North London. I know that Jonathan was being playful and was joking around when he spoke in this way. And I realise now that he was just trying to detach himself from me, and to point out, quite rightly, the huge social and intellectual gulf between us.
By now, and much to the huge dismay of several members of the English Faculty, the glorious academic and writer , Lorna Sage, and Jonathan were enamoured of each other. Formerly deadly enemies, they were now an ‘item’; and I could never hope to compete with Lorna’s beauty and brilliance. All I could do was to wish them both well.
But Jonathan and I remained friends. And we continued to meet in London and to be fond of one another until our son, Alexander James, was born in 1973.
I also met his family: beautiful mother, Monica, a kind and compassionate left-winger; his taciturn father, Peter, a rural Dean of the Church of England, and three brothers – Colin, William and Dominic.