This is an account of being brought up a household established by two bohemians of their age. Hetta and William met as fellow students at the ‘liar’s school’, an induction course for new recruits to the BBC Foreign Service during World War 2. He was an established poet and literary critic, an academic whose career had been blighted in the UK. She was an orphaned South African, an aspiring sculptor, and a member of the Communist Party.
Their marriage was to last over 40 years. Soon after the end of the war they took their two sons with them to Peking, where the civil war was resuming, and the Chinese Communist Party was to establish the new People’s Republic. Oddly enough, their open marriage worked very well in the expatriate community. On their return to England William was able to resume an academic career in the north of England. Hetta stayed in London. The vicissitudes of their relationship made for an interesting life for the boys, who where sometimes being looked after by childless relations, sometimes roughing it on their own in the huge house that their parents had bought in Hampstead during the war. It was a life of privilege as well as neglect, but never dull.