Sunday, 1 December 2013

The extraordinary married life of a domestic goddess

No, not that one. I'm thinking of the marital career of the altogether more frightening household deity who presided over the TV kitchens of my childhood, the formidable Fanny Cradock. Widowed and pregnant at the age of 17, Fanny (who started life as Phyllis Nan Sortain Pechey), chalked up four marriages, two of them bigamous. On the occasion of her final marriage, to her monocled TV sidekick, Johnny, the marriage certificate apparently recorded her age as '55' in glorious disregard of the fact that her eldest son was, by then, a few months short of his fiftieth birthday.

Nigella's marriage to Charles Saatchi may have been odd, but if you want full-on surreal bonkers, it's Fanny and Johnny you need, at least according to Luke Honey in The Dabbler:
I turned to Time to Remember, a year in the life of- a monthly account of their Continental excursions. There’s a bizarre moment when Johnnie, at the wheel of “the Duchess” (their Bentley Flying Spur) is attacked by a huge flock of enraged owls. 
Did you just say 'attacked by a huge flock of enraged owls' Luke? I just need a copy of that book right now (preferably from Fantastic Fiction dot co dot uk).