I think my first memory is probably of having the above photo taken. How old was I? Three, maybe? It was very exciting because the photographer came to our house. Some of the pictures were just of me, some of my big brother and some of both of us. I can remember clearly what it felt like to stand up and hold on to the back of that chair, which had a fawn, slightly slippery cover. The dress was what my mother called my Coronation dress, because it was white, with red, white and blue smocking and also little tufts of these colours. The Coronation was in 1953 and I was born in 1950, so this figures. My mother persisted in putting bows in my hair for some years, but I always hated them. They kept falling out and anyway I thought I looked silly. I was very shy and a lot of things made me feel silly.
Of course, we had the chairs till I was about ten, and the photos were there as a reminder of the day. So maybe that's the real reason for the memory.
But I don’t remember the one below being taken. I look about two, do you think? The age when it's socially acceptable to be short and plump.
Another early memory, though I have no idea how old I was: I was crouching down in the bedroom I shared with my brother and suddenly realised that I didn’t know the word for what I was doing. I asked him, the fount of all knowledge – two years and eight months older. “That’s crouching,” he said. And that was another word added to my vocabulary.
I’ve been told of the time when I carried an opened newspaper while toddling past an electric fire with radiant bars. My mother had to wrap me up in a rug to put the flames out. I wasn't permanently injured, but still, you’d think I’d remember that. But no. Strange thing, memory.