Cooking, Gardening - two lifelong pleasures.  And an abiding curiosity about the lives of others.

Social history, the experiences of those who have lived through dramatic times, World War 11 in particular.


These are the things I write about, in a spirit of enquiry. 


Dearest Jane...

My Father's Life & Letters




Read More


Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye




Happy Food


2004, Parsley Publications


The Coldstreamer & The Canary


1995, Black Cat Press


An Idiot's Introduction to Gardening


1984, Parsley Publications


A Little Book of Old-Fashioned Nursery Recipes


1980, Parsley Publications


Dearest Jane... My Father's Life and Letters




As the eldest daughter of a prolific letter writer, Jane Torday received hundreds of letters from her father over the years. From irreverent advice and hilarious family anecdotes to moments of great poignancy, Roger Mortimer‘s missives are a touching and witty portrait of his life and relationships over the years.


Dearest Jane begins with Roger’s time as a young army officer in Egypt, and then as a POW in the Second World War, where his sense of humour endured despite the conditions. Jane accompanies her father’s letters with her own memories and anecdotes, as we meet familiar characters such as Nidnod, Lupin and Lumpy, and learn more about the extended family, friends and pets who leap from the pages of his letters.


This is an arresting and extraordinary record, not only of Roger Mortimer’s life but also of the history of an entire family between 1960 and 1991. Sparkling with the dry wit for which Mortimer’s letters are famous, and accompanied by an affectionate personal portrait, this book will delight both old and new readers.


The origins of ‘Dearest Jane – My Father’s Life and Letters’ lie in 'The Coldstreamer and The Canary', my tribute to my father following his death in 1991. A much more detailed account of his wartime experience with recollections from his closest friends, its 185 pages are distilled into two chapters of Dearest Jane. A limited edition, to obtain a copy please get in touch.






Please support your local bookshop and order your copy from them! To buy 'Dearest Jane...' from Jane's local book shop, click here.




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