The British Library

Nerida’s Story

My Australian mother, Wendy, came to the UK on her first and last trip overseas. She had mental health issues, and a terminal disease. She never made it home, she died in Baildon, and is buried in Gassington, in the Yorkshire Dales that she loved seeing before her death. She was 44 years old. I have now met Mavis, my mother’s pen friend, who’s home she died in, 1986. We had no contact for 31 years. We found we could love each other freely, and gave our hearts to each other. Mavis is 78 now. She gave me so much about the time my mother died, in my absence. I was 20. I hope to meet her son, Michael, this week in London, and he wants to meet me too.

My mother’s body is now infused in this land, and my tears met the rich soil on the river flats she lies. She was wrapped in soft mohair blankets, as she was lowered into the ground all those years ago, in her final resting place.

She migrated to the UK as a consequence of her death here, after 6 weeks of gentle travels in London and The Dales. To revisit her here, from my home, Australia, is like a coming home.

With love to the UK,


-Nerida, Australia

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