Tuesday, 25 June 2013


At some stage during the upheavals of moving from Earls Court to Gloucester Road to Cornwall Gardens, I consulted a solicitor about divorcing Eve, an emotionally unpleasant procedure which was now obviously essential if Maribel and I were to get married. 
  All Eve and I had to do, he told me, was agree about the access to, and upkeep of, Nicolas and Matthew and the ownership of possessions. If we could do this on amicable terms the whole thing would be very simple and cost a minimal amount. 
 I wrote to her suggesting she keep the house and all its contents and that I would guarantee regular payments for the boys till they were eighteen as well as send her extra funds when I could afford it. It meant that I would virtually lose everything I had ever worked for but peace of mind was more important to me than belongings and, unlike her, I was capable of starting from scratch again.  
 Eve answered by return gratefully agreeing to everything and the solicitor took over. But a while later he called to advise me that, having sent Eve a document for her to sign agreeing to everything we had discussed, he had received a letter from Major Bill’s solicitors stating that they were acting on behalf of his daughter and that the terms suggested were quite unacceptable. This meant that the divorce proceedings and the costs would escalate.  
 Eve had yet again been unable to keep her father from meddling in her life and, though he had always regarded my writing as a fickle and precarious pass time without a future, someone had obviously pointed out that authors often sold the film rights of their books for a fortune and could become very rich. If this should happen he thought she should have at least 50% of anything I earned. 
  'What we unfortunately must do now,' my solicitor said, 'is reply, categorically stating that your wife went to America without prior notice, deserting you and her children, and that you believe her to be incapable of looking after your sons due to her excessive consumption of alcohol.' 
 I really did not want to do this, but it was pointed out that if I didn’t fire a warning shot across the enemy’s bows, I might be torpedoed first and sink into the sea of disaster.
  An unpleasant letter was therefore despatched and, by return, Major Bill immediately climbed down. The case went to court where the judge stated that he thought  I was extremely civilized in my attitudes, granted a decree nisi,  maintenance only to be paid till the children were seventeen and the amount reduced considerably from what I had been ready to pay. The decree absolute came in due course.

 On June 23rd, a sunny Monday, Maribel and I were married.
 We had planned a simple little celebration after the registry office nuptials, then a three day honeymoon by the sea somewhere on the East Coast. But it didn’t quite turn out that way. 
 Just before lunch Maribel and I presented ourselves at the Kensington Town Hall along with five of our closest friends, sealed our union without fuss, then went back to the flat for a previously prepared cold buffet, not expecting more than twenty five or so guests, but half Louisa Aranda’s Spanish ballet company showed up with two guitarists and the wedding breakfast turned into a very noisy  Andalusian fiesta. The troupe danced the Sevillana, endlessly, clapped their hands, stamped their feet and sang loudly with a vengeance.
 As evening drew near I anxiously looked at the clock having planned to drive my young bride to a far away hotel before nightfall. But darkness fell and at midnight two police officers banged on the door as someone had complained about the disturbance. We closed the windows, the officers had a couple of drinks and dawn broke before the last partygoer left.          
  The next day we drove to Orford on the Suffolk coast where we had oysters for dinner and stayed the night. On our way back we visited Cambridge which pleased Maribel immensely, for I later heard her tell people that we had spent an academic honeymoon in ‘Orford and Cambridge’.   

The married couple


Saturday, 15 June 2013


At ten o’clock one Saturday morning in February 1975, I received a phone call from Jack Martin, the American gossip columnist to whom I had spilled the beans about George C.Scott and Trish Van De Vere in Nerja four years earlier. I had kept in contact with him but not seen him since, though we were neighbours, for he lived in Cornwall Gardens, one of the most agreeable squares in London just across Gloucester Road from us. 
 He was in a panic.                            
 He had been offered a very lucrative post on the National Enquirer which would mean him living in New York. It was a career move he could not refuse, but he had to leave within a week and was unlikely to come back to London. Would I be interested in taking over the long lease of his flat at the very economical rental he was paying and look after his furniture, paintings and antiques until he could arrange for their transportation to the States? All this in one distressed breath. 
 'Probably' I said, 'But could Maribel and I see the flat before committing ourselves ?'
 'Come round and have coffee, now.'
  Number 34 Cornwall Gardens was a four storeyed Georgian Terraced house with columned entrance and steps up to a yellow painted front door. 
 We rang the bell.
 The door opened, we walked into a black and white tiled hallway, climbed the stone staircase with wrought iron balustrade and found Jack waiting for us on the first floor landing. He ushered us into what can best be described as a museum. A vast living room was dominated by three tall arched windows opening onto a small balcony which overlooked the garden square with its multitude of plane trees, elms, beeches and abundance of bushes. The ceiling was high, the polished parquet floor covered with Persian rugs, the walls dove grey hung carefully with prints, watercolours, oil paintings, and a giant Victorian mirror above the fireplace. There were several sofas, a satinwood inlaid mahogany sideboard, a number of Queen Anne style chairs, a pedestal desk, a Georgian games table, a plethora of porcelain figures, silverware, clocks, ceramics, a doll’s house, it was a repository of valuable antiques. Andy Warhol’s large portrait of Mao Tse-tung stood on an easel in one corner. 
 The rest of the flat consisted of a dining area with small open plan kitchen, a bathroom, separate lavatory and bedroom, also furnished with antiques, with a corner window looking out onto a church. 
 'How much is the Warhol worth ?' I asked. 
 'Millions. It’s my most treasured possession. I know Andy,.' Jack said. 
 'And you’re ready to trust us with all this ?' 
 'I can’t think of anyone better. You wrote a book on antiques after all.'  
 'It was a Bluffer’s guide,' I reminded him. 
 'Everything is insured anyway,' he said, then informed us that Twiggy, and her husband Michael Whitney were moving in within a few days for three weeks. It had originally been arranged that they would stay for a year or so, but they too were unexpectedly going to the States, which explained the panic. Twiggy would contact us before leaving and hand over the keys. He had just one favour to ask. Would I supervise the removal men when they came to collect all his furniture. 'I’ll leave you a list of what has to go, more or less everything except fixtures and fittings and the double bed which Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero slept in when I lent them the flat.' 
  We discussed the rent and other , which added up to less than we were paying, shook hands on the deal and went home, stunned that we had had the luck to be offered such a luxurious apartment for next to nothing. 
  The next three weeks were spent dreaming about the flat. We walked round Cornwall Gardens several times and stood looking up at the first floor of No 34 not believing that we would soon be living there ourselves.. Then Twiggy rang and we went round.
 The actress-model, whom I had seen so often in fashion magazines, on television and in the film of "The Boy Friend" was smaller than expected, beautiful rather than glamorous and more delicate than on screen. She talked excitedly about a show on Broadway she was going to rehearse and, after several drinks, handed us the keys. She and Michael were leaving early the next morning. 
  With a certain amount of diplomacy, and a good deal of patience, we waited till the following afternoon before rushing to take possession in case their departure had been delayed. We then found it a quite extraordinary experience moving into someone else’s apartment knowing we were at liberty to open every cupboard, every drawer, change the furniture round and use what had never been ours. When surrounded by objects of great value it is also a little worrying, so Maribel and I spent the first few days putting every piece of pottery, porcelain and glassware that might get broken safely away, and changed Mao Tse-tung’s position so that he was not staring disapprovingly at us while we sat back on the sofa watching television.
  During the first week of June, Jack Martin’s removal people came to pack up and take away his possessions. For several days Maribel and I watched as the flat was first filled with empty tea chests and mountains of newspaper, then slowly but surely gutted. When they had finished and gone, we found ourselves standing in what seemed like a small, dusty, empty ballroom with nowhere to sit down. So we went out to buy a new sofa and other essential, collected all our worldly goods from the Gloucester Road flat and happily settled down to a new way of life. 

Andy Warhol's Mao
Flat  in Cornwall Gardens

Saturday, 8 June 2013


On a Monday morning in March 1973 I dutifully turned up at the Mayfair offices of the American advertising agency which was thankfully giving me full time employment as a copywriter. 
 I had not worn a shirt with cuffs or a tie for over twelve years and the only suit I possessed looked rather tired so, having re-equipped my wardrobe, I set forth, scrubbed and hair-trimmed like a new boy on his first day at school.  
 I was welcomed by a senior director who hailed from Philadelphia - a dyed in the wool ad-man unbearably seeped in the glories of the company’s successes. He showed me to what would be my own office with the use of a secretary from the typing pool. Because I was French I was to work on the “Isola 2000 “ account, a new ski resort in the Alpes Maritime, and the Blue Band Margarine account because I had written a book on luxury foods. 
 After my first day of swatting up on skiing terms and attending a creative meeting to discuss carbohydrates, saturated fats, calories and cholesterol,  I was overwhelmed by a deep depression realizing how much I was going to dislike the job, but then overcame it  by thinking of the money which soon enabled Maribel and I to move from our inadequate Earl’s Court bed sitter to a larger, brighter flat in Gloucester Road, Kensington.
 Maribel, unable to get a work permit, but not wanting to be dependent on me, cleverly got herself a position selling tickets at the box office of the Collegiate Theatre in Bloomsbury through a Madrid theatrical  friend who was directing the mime artist Lindsay Kemp in a new show based on Jean Genet’s “Lady of the Flowers". 
  When I had finished work I joined her at the theatre which took me back to the days of “The Aimless” reminding me that I had lost possible opportunities in that world by moving to Spain. Fired again by the 'smell of the greasepaint and roar of the crowd' I started on a three act play during office hours, finding this more rewarding than praising the joys of slalom-discipline and the benefits of hydrogenated soya oil.  
  Meanwhile, Maribel's stint in the “Flowers” box office led her to meeting another Spanish stage director who was rehearsing a flamenco dance production at the Victoria Palace Theatre. As his English was negligible, he could not make himself understood by the electricians, so asked her to help him translate the lighting plots - the colour changes during a performance that have to be cued exactly to the music.    
 Maribel was quite confident that she could sort things out and, without hesitation, took over and, on the afternoon of the dress rehearsal, I slipped away from my agency desk to sit in the back of the stalls, intrigued to see how she had got on. 
 Overture, curtain up, Louisa Aranda, the star appeared resplendent in a pink spot when it should have been pale blue,  José Antonio, her partner,  made his entrance bathed in sickly green when it should have been amber, the twenty flamenco dancers had to compete with a thunder and lightning storm and, for several minutes the orchestra found themselves playing in total obscurity. She remained surprisingly calm while everyone else went into a blind panic but, in time, everything was put right for the opening night.  

    At the end of April  `The Innocence Has Gone, Daddy´ was published in hardback by Cassells and was well received by the press as :
     ‘a controversial novel that explores the taboos of incest
      and deals frankly and sensitively with a harrowing experience
      rarely touched upon even in today’s free thinking society.’

  It was instantly banned in South Africa, which was considered a plus, then published in the States and in paperback in both the UK and US.  
 The book’s appearance enhanced my status at the agency and, in July, I was sent to Isola 2000 to dream up an advertising campaign for the following year. With all expenses paid it was a good opportunity to take Maribel with me to meet my parents on the coast. 
 After spending a few days in the deserted sun-dried winter resort  trying to imagine the chalets and slopes covered with snow, we went down to Cagnes to stay in the big white house.    
 My mother thought Maribel very young and warned me that I was risking her infidelity when I was in my dotage, but she was pleased that I would have a nurse to look after me when I was gaga. Eddy also thought her very young but much preferred her to Eve whom he had always found too reserved.  Maman, aged 96, still obsessed with sex, immediately leaned forward in her wheel chair to feel Maribel’s breasts and congratulated me on having found someone better endowed than ‘your last wife.’ 
  On our return to England I finished my play and sent it off to a number of managements. One surprising impresario decided to produce it, but before that a change of residence and marriage were to dominate our lives...

“Lady of the Flowers" dancer : Luisa Aranda

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


Dear family, friends and other lovely readers,

My Dad would email me regularly about all sorts of little things and send me his latest posts that I would then upload onto this blog.
I haven't been strong enough to look at my inbox in the last couple of weeks, but I have three remaining posts from him. The last three he wrote and they are wonderful.

I would still like to share these with you, so I will be posting them after this for you to read if interested.

A couple of years ago, my Dad wrote his biography for his own and our amusement, this biography has been serialised here in this blog by him.
I will try and find it together with Matthew my brother and carry on his blog. I am sure it won't be as funny and I am not sure how I will edit it yet, but I'll do my best to  do it and post the rest of his life, for him and for us.

For those who don't know the details, my father came to visit me in London the 2nd of May 2013 for a long weekend.
 I had, like always many plans for him that involved a lot of talking from my behalf ( poor thing, such a good listener), walking (he always complained how much I made him walk), dinner parties with all my house mates and friends, a theatre show or two, exhibitions and lots of quality time by the sofa catching up with everything.

On Thursday the 2nd he arrived, we spend the rest of the day catching up with his latest news on Nerja town, our house, my brothers and complaining about Ollie ( his cat), which he has lived with for the last 12 years, he loved her but she also drove him mad as she would never leave him alone following him everywhere and would like to sit on top of him at any opportunity.
On Friday we had our friend Belinda over for lunch in our garden, it was a surprisingly beautiful sunny day for London and we made the most of being outdoors. In the evening we met a group of my friends and Ash my boyfriend and we all went to the theatre and a late dinner.
 On Saturday we had Ash's mum, Libby over for lunch and we all spent another lovely day catching up, having a BBQ and just laughing and joking all day.
On Sunday he started to feel a little weak and cold and developed a fever. I started worrying so we went to the doctors for the first time, nothing seemed alarming so they sent us home with the usual rest.

By Tuesday he had deteriorated to such an extent we had to call an ambulance and they took him into St Thomas hospital.
The rest of the week is still a blur as we just kept having worse and worse news and it is still a nightmare to remember.

My brothers Matthew, Nicolas and Leon all flew into London, from Spain, LA and Northern Ireland.

On Saturday the 18th of May our very loved Daddy died at 10.15 p.m. Aged 82.
All my brothers, Ash and I were there by his bed, played his favourite Jazz songs and we wished him a very good journey and to see him again one day.
It was BEAUTIFUL and so so sad, but we are all so GRATEFUL to have been there with him, by his side all along.

He was, IS, the best person I have ever met, the best Daddy in the world and I will love him and miss him forever.
I am so proud of him and I only wish every day to be more like him, i'll work on that for the rest of my life. I know my brothers Nicolas, Matthew and Leon feel the same.


I will now start sharing the next three posts. THANK YOU for reading!
With lots of love,


Drew aged 5
Drew aged 80 with grandson Toby