The years passed by, but in 1995, aged 50, I left my job in English-language teaching, and then worked for Trinity as an examiner. With Trinity, I worked in Italy, Spain and across the UK. I also took off for a trip to Barrow, in Alaska. This freedom and movement fired up my writing, and the poems started to flow again.
By 2001, I had enough poems for publication. Alan Ross – the best of editors ( as good as Diana!) in London – very generously took five poems of mine for the last two editions of London Magazine, before he died on February 14th 2001 of a heart attack. I feel that the cheque that he sent to me was one of the last he wrote. He had been a mentor to me – by post – as he helped me along with my poems, editing and refining them. I had been sending them to him for over thirty years until I was finally accepted.
Shortly after this, my first slim volume of poems The Appropriate Country was published by Waterloo Press, with the careful encouragement of my marvellous editor, Simon Jenner.
I still had Diana’s address and was determined to write to her – and send her a copy.