The Winterfood Diaries

The Winterfood Diaries

Wednesday, 2 January 1991

The End


‘When I Met You’ – David Bowie

E-mail from Ritcherd Winterfood-Joy to an old friend.

Hello, Maggie!

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to reply, I am SO bloody busy all the time, it seems.  But I don't want to neglect this, so please forgive me.

Literally just sitting here with a cup of Fortnum & Mason’s Assam leaf tea, listening to David Bowie (whom I still can’t believe is gone) and reading through your letters from 1990 (which I’ve been using as research on part of my now-completed 1984-1991 blog) and it occurs to me that even in a modern email you ‘sound’ just like my Maggie of old.

What have you been up to lately (if not the last six or seven years!)? Since our recent emails, I've been away producing a play about Elizabeth I in Germany, which was great (and finally afforded me the chance to use the German I learnt at university).  Whilst there, I found the best vegan café I've ever been to – well done, Kiel!  Now I'm back in the UK and the Yuletide was fine and quiet.  I don’t tend to get as ‘Christmassy’ as I used to.  I like to keep the spirit, but the trappings seem so fake and commercial to me as I get older.  Now I’m back at my desk, preparing to get back to work after a nice week off.  I’m currently trying to make headway on my next play (a version of HG Wells' The Time Machine) and all kinds of other work that I fell behind on before the break.  I’ve just had a show touring (I didn't write it, Dorrie, the woman I married and formed the company with did, but I directed and produced it) called YULETIDE TERRORS (three chilling tales for the season, in the style of those old BBC Ghost Stories For Christmas) and I've also been doing publicity and stuff on that, whilst working out the logistics of a potential tour of China for an entirely different show.  On top of which I'm trying to put together another book of short Doctor Who stories for charity (Red Cross or Children In Need, I reckon; still deciding; I want to help refugees and children).  It’s really just me dabbling, though I shouldn't do work I don't get paid for when it takes me away from my 'proper' work (the ‘day job’ of producing).  But it’s for charity and I want the experience of working with (ulp!) 70 brilliant writers on 270 pieces as I'm starting up a publishing imprint next year for weird and odd novels that everyone else has turned down.  Always working with the underdog, eh?  But then I was the underdog for a long time, wasn’t I?  Not that I'm much of an 'overdog' these days…

How are you doing?  I felt a sudden pang of genuinely missing you this morning.  It felt like an ache for an old friendship.  We always used to write and phone, didn’t we?  I hope you're well.

Did you get your laptop fixed?  I'm sure I need a new one, all the noise it makes...

I can see Magpies dancing about on the rooftops from my window.  It's a crispy-blue day out there after all the grumpy weather yesterday.

Are you well, Maggie?  I remember in about '98/'99 you told me you were ill; I hope that all sorted itself out.  I read about your arm a week or two ago; the glass incident.  Felt a terrible anger towards the bitch that did that to you.  I'm still fiercely loyal!  Ha-ha!

I guess I should tell you, in case I never did, that I was diagnosed with a small brain tumour ten years ago now; just before my acting/writing/directing/producing finally took off.  I'm okay and the medication has kept it at bay and it hasn't grown enough to cause me problems, but it could.  One day.  I doubt it though.  I won't let it.  I've managed a decade without any ill-effects, though the medication caused me a great many personal problems as I adjusted to it.  I'm all fine now, though.  I hope.  Don't know why I felt like telling you, but having looked through all these letters I realised that's how we used to be.  We may never be that again, but I just wanted to share with you, like we used to.  Not looking for sympathy - just wanted you to know.  And I do hope you're well.

(And yes, I do still see a lot of Johnny Badcock (now Goodcock) and Flash, both of whom have made something of themselves in ‘showbiz’)

Hasn't it been a shit year out in the world?  The Syrian refugees, Trump being elected in the US, and the bloody Brexit fiasco.  And Bowie, of course.  Still, I've been relatively successful and happy - a new play premiere (my adaptation of JANE EYRE, which tours the UK and Australia for most of next year, plus German and US productions of my Marilyn Monroe play, the play published by Samuel French and short stories in 5 different books [which still amazes me]) and I just saw myself acknowledged in another Doctor Who book, which came as a surprise.  But I wish I was living in a better time...  Things look bloody grim for the years ahead...


I'd better crack on with 'living the dream' (ha-ha!)

(and that's after I've been to see the new Star Wars film again; this time in 3D!)

lots of love,

Ritcherd x
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