When I woke on the morning of my third birthday, there was a string going out of my bedroom door. I followed it through our house, then down the path to our garden shed, through the door and there, with a big bow on it was A BRIGHT RED TRIKE. I was very excited.
That was on our farm in New Zealand in a small town called Kaikoura. Lots of people visit it now to go whale watching. But when I lived there with my mum and my grandparents, the whales had moved away. My Dad was overseas in the Airforce because of the Second World War, so I didn’t see him until I was nearly three.
When I was twelve we moved to a farm that was close to the sea so my sister and I started riding waves and messing about in boats. Sometimes we visited a lighthouse far out on an island. I love islands, so I did think about becoming a lighthouse keeper but instead I trained as a teacher. My first class was tiny: 13 to 15 children aged five to eight at a school called Duvauchelles, which was also near the sea.
I first came to England in 1966 where I married David who was born in Tasmania. We returned to New Zealand but in 1974 we decided to travel again with our two children, Joss and Kate.
We intended returning to New Zealand but when THE LIGHT HOUSE KEEPER’S LUNCH was published in 1977 we drifted into staying in England. Except for holidays we’ve never gone home again. Learn more about me and my work.