A brush with mortality
When JG Ballard died, in April 2009, few people knew he had been planning a new work. The author of Crash and Empire of the Sun, celebrated for his bleak dystopian vision, had proposed a book co-written with his oncologist, Jonathan Waxman, to be called Conversations with my Physician: the Meaning, if Any, of Life.
The Sunday Times Magazine, 06.11.11
Jennie Withers: Let’s make a baby!
It’s strange that I’ve come to this. I always used to say, ‘I’d rather die than be one of those women pushing a pram around Sainsbury’s.’ The mundane and domestic terrified me. It’s only in the past two years that I’ve started to acknowledge that I’d like a family. I’ve been looking for a partner - more a soul mate, really - for ages. But the right person hasn’t come my way. Then, about six months ago - profoundly, peacefully but really clearly - a thought came to me: ‘I want a child.’
It made me cry. It felt as if it had come from such a true place. The idea that I could want a child and not have a partner was extraordinary.
The Observer Magazine, 02.07.06
Patricia O’Neill: Animal House
They call it, with some affection, Broadmoor. At least, that’s what they say in the family. To others, however, it is Broadlands, the stud farm belonging to the horse breeder and animal conservationist the Hon Patricia O’Neill.
She has 42 stray dogs who move in packs through her house, and a kitchen carpeted with yapping Pekingese. She also has a donkey, jackal, lynx, chimp, 200 parrots, 40 stud ponies, a cage shared by a tortoise, cockerel, monkey and rabbit, plus 19 rescued baboons - some living in a room with filing cabinets and books.
The Sunday Times Magazine, 19.09.99
Samantha Davies: ‘Sometimes I sail naked’
When you see Samantha Davies pottering about in a teeny pink bikini on her pink sailing boat, Roxy, and spritzing her cabin with perfume, it’s difficult to imagine her facing waves the size of houses, 80-mile-an-hour winds and nights without a second’s sleep. It’s hard to think of her sailing solo among icebergs, killer whales and vicious storms. Or being stuck, as she once was, with no wind, in thick fog and in the path of an oncoming ship - seconds from death, had she not turned on her engine.
But that’s how life is for Sam, a 33-year-old Cambridge University engineering graduate who once wanted to be a ballerina, still loves to dress in girlie clothes onshore and wears three tiny diamond ear studs and a belly ring.
YOU Magazine, 22.06.08
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