What follows is a short story from Rosemary’s past. After talking with her, I have taken our discussion and turned it into a series of small stories highlighting the incredible life that she has led. Direct quotes from our discussion are highlighted in quotation marks. All else is a retelling written by yours truly.
And so Australia was over. It was in total around three years, yet when they left Rosemary and Bill had no idea if they would ever come back to the UK to live. Such is the life they lived. Unsure and everchanging.
The journey was to start in Australia and end in England, but that didn’t mean Rosemary and Bill couldn’t have a little fun along the way. The worries of modern flights, the strict rules, the direct-ten-hour-hauls, weren’t a thing back when Rosemary and Bill were flying. Back then on a single ticket you could stop off in various places, staying for a few days, and getting back on a different flight to your destination. All you had to do was find the flight that was going to the place you wanted to stop and you could go there.
In fact, they had already done this plenty of times, enjoying holidays in mainland Europe on the way back from Iran. Well this time the first stop was Singapore and a night’s stay in the Raffles, the fanciest hotel around. Remember, the company was paying for their journey back.
Truth be told, this cream coloured, Victorian style hotel that sort of curled around you as you entered wasn’t Rosemary’s cup of tea. But at the time it was the best hotel around. And with five children to look after, the less stress the better. Ease was important – especially when the company was paying for it. Plus, they were meeting friends in Singapore and the hotel served as a landmark. So while Rosemary looked after the kids and met with the wife of the couple, Bill was taken out by the husband to see Singapore. You couldn’t, after all, have five children running around wreaking havoc on the city, especially when you were catching the flight the next day.
The next morning they caught the next flight – on the same ticket – and this time stopped off in Bangkok and it was Rosemary’s turn to see the sights. But they had five kids so Bill couldn’t go with Rosemary, and Bill didn’t want Rosemary going off on her own. So Rosemary went with Stephen, her oldest child (who at the time was seven). They got in the taxi and Bill gave the driver instructions. And they never got out of the car. Rosemary clung to Stephen the whole time, terrified that they would get lost. After all, she thought, neither spoke the language. And she wasn’t used to travelling without Bill.
But all was fine. They also flooded one of the hotel rooms when one of Rosemary’s children turned the hot tap of the bath and the whole tap came off, shooting water everywhere. Luckily nobody was burned but Rosemary did feel bad for the people who came after them and had to clean up the mess. Meanwhile, they were given a different room.
After Bangkok was a trip to Tehran. It was their old stomping ground and it was lovely to see their old friends. Like Singapore and Bangkok, this was just a quick trip and it wasn’t long before they were back on their way to England, but not before one final stop off in Switzerland.
They had left Australia in the summer and arrived in England in the winter. It was, shall we say, a shock to the system. Rosemary was just glad they hadn’t forgotten their coats (see the previous entry into Rosemary’s Corner).
But they were back and little did they know for how long they would be living here. After marrying Bill, Rosemary had gotten used to a life on the move. Why would that change now?
Stay tuned for more stories from the life of Rosemary. Please note: these stories will not necessarily hold any chronological grounding. They are designed as snippets of understanding into the life of Rosemary and while some will hold chronology, others may not.