impolitic

How much of Lesley’s life during the 1960s need I tell? During that time she created and maintained a home of great beauty, admired by all who came there, filled her studio and our house with oil paintings, and had several exhibitions. She drew fish with crayons onto specially devised waxy paper while snorkelling in the Seychelles. She painted shells and flowers, insects and chameleons, animals and plants, still lifes of abundant farm produce and the pods of Lowveld chestnut trees. She did a few portraits, but not many compositions of figures. Where before there had been men with drills, there was no ‘women hoeing’ or ‘children weeding’. Leaving the city, she had, it seems, abandoned the proletariat in favour of the decorative, the interior, the lush.

How much of her emotional life, how many of her friends, acquaintances and enemies, if there were any, need I dig out in order to report a rounded life? There were friendships with this and that neighbouring farmer’s wife, all subject to sudden change as the marriage or Anton’s mood swung to and fro, but there was no best friend like Terry at Clifton.

There were impotently expressed political opinions but no politics, for the Suppression of Communism Act had suppressed her Communism, and she found nothing agreeable in the political options available to her and other white women in Plaston. Instead there was a life, a home, and a partial resolution for the problems posed by us children. There were love and passion, but not, except intermittently, comfort and ease. There were, as always, art and beauty. There was certainly happiness, but it was intermingled with pain, both physical and mental.

__________

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