Wednesday 15 July 1987

Grandmother's Footsteps


We have been given a presentation copy of a newly published book. Called Grandmother's Footsteps, it is by Patricia Wardle, of Wylye. With it is a review, by S.S. Richardson, of Wylye, which we shall be including in this weekend's Wylye Valley Life magazine. The review reads as follows:

"This is the privately published autobiography of a remarkable lady, who has lived in Wylye for twenty years with her equally well-known husband Geoffrey Wardle, an escapee from Colditz, erstwhile manager of the Wilton Carpet Factory and, presently, an expert on church clocks.

There is a wealth of experience of life in strange, remote parts of the world in retirement in the Wylye Valley. These people should be encouraged by the example of Patricia Wardle to record their reminiscences because, never again, will English people live abroad in such gracious and challenging positions of responsibility.

Patricia was born in Malaya and spent her early childhood in idyllic surroundings in Soebang in Java, where her father was General Manager of the Anglo-Dutch plantations. Readers will share in Patricia's joyful return home to Java by P & O after long, dreary and unhappy boarding schools in England.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Patricia became Mrs Jim, as the wife of an officer in the Royal Navy. She was lucky to escape from Toulon with her husband during the Fall of France in 1940, and, post war she enjoyed bringing up her family in England and the active social life of a naval officer's wife in the Mediterranean and the Far East.

Alas! She was never able to return to the big house in Soebang which was destroyed in disturbances in Indonesia.

Patricia's story belongs to the Wylye Valley as much as to her grandchildren for whom it was originally published. Patricia writes well and with a fine sense of humour. She counts her blessings and does not dwell overlong upon her latter day disappointments in life and her pain and suffering which she carries patiently and with courage.

This is a book which will be enjoyed by many readers living in the Wylye Valley."

Grandmother's Footsteps, by Patricia Wardle.
Privately published, 1987.
Softback, 153 pages, 24 black and white photographs.