Do I ever wish I was sitting in what was once our little garden in Nazareth, under a small oak tree, reading a book in total peace, as I used to do in 1947 when I lived with my two old ladies of Nazareth for a brief period of my life?
I was sixteen then, full of zest and vigour, and in total harmony with my environment – despite the Spartan existence we had to endure as the accommodation and facilities were minimal and as nature deemed them.
The serenity that prevailed was so strong that discomfort turned into an alignment with the elements around us, and seemed intrinsic to nature’s indelible inner strength. But the real joy I experienced was in the comfort of the two old ladies who were indirectly responsible for the future structure and development of my own life with their actions and words of wisdom, despite their being totally innumerate, unable to read or write, but having the gift of premonitions inherent in their genes.
I loved them beyond anything I could have ever imagined and remember them to this day, as if the passage of time has not mattered in the least.
I wrote a book, which Quartet published in 2004, as a tribute to them, entitled The Old Ladies of Nazareth. This little book has had a magical effect on everyone I know who read it and remains the best thing I have ever written and treasured.
The book is still available and will no doubt be appreciated, so long as people and nature intertwine.