Before my ‘escapade’ in Belgium, I had left 63, Hilldrop Crescent and moved to 8, Danbury Road in Islington, where I was to share the house with my friends, Snoo Wilson, the playwright, and the journalist, Ann McFerran.
However, I was sad to leave Anne Rees-Mogg’s lovely home; and I would miss her company very much. My lovely room had such a peaceful atmosphere, and the house had become a sanctuary for me. I wrote this in my diary at the time:
‘I’m finding it difficult to break the news to Anne that I’m leaving. She has been a marvellous landlady – kind and generous- and I love this bed-sitter with its original 1880s fireplace and shutters, warm armchairs and polished pine floors’.
I had begun a series of poems called Calendonian Road Tales’, and a novella called ‘Mappa Mundi’ ( never completed), and had read my way through everything written by Jean Rhys and Iris Murdoch, while living here. We had even survived a burglary, when my fellow house-mate, Raja, an Indian guy, and I had been burgled while we were asleep. My purse had been stolen.. Luckily, Anne was spared, because she had been awake and the lights were on upstairs. However, I was pretty shaken by this.
The autumn in London, before I went to Belgium, had been very beautiful. I described this time: ‘London – wet, brilliant light. Dustman’s strike – slush and slutty paper everywhere. A curious, black shine in the gutters. Drinking tea in Anne’s garden, with the illustrator, Zena Flax’.
And, also, this had been a place that Jonathan often visited and liked. And where he had quoted Shakespeare’s Sonnets to me, and brought me red carnations.