Ol’ Rocking Chair Don’t Got Me… Yet

Greetings from locked-down Ireland and first, an apology. I’ve been nagging people to sign up for my mailing list but it now appears that the link isn’t working, so anyone who signed up recently still doesn’t appear on the list. I’m very sorry. I’ll investigate.

The new isolation rules in Ireland are causing some confusion. It is recommended that the over-70s cocoon themselves but as I live alone and need to fend for myself as far as possible, I decided to use my common sense. I am, anyway, a darned sight fitter than many younger than me.

Yesterday I set off for the supermarket, stepping out briskly and hoping that a bit of lipstick and a smile would help me to pass for 69. At the supermarket a member of staff came along the queue asking if anyone was over 70. I thought ‘uh-oh, am I about to get arrested for non-compliance?’ and looked busily at my feet. A man in the queue owned to being 83.

‘In that case, sir,’ said Supermarket Clerk, ‘if you’d like to follow me, you have priority. No need to queue. Please come straight in.’

That’ll larn me.

I’m professionally and personally accustomed to solitude and silence but the current crisis has brought about a few changes in even my life. I’ve cured an aching shoulder by giving up handbags. Instead of hauling around a no doubt germ-ridden bag full of rocks and what feels like a full set of Encyclopaedia Britannica, I’m now using a small cross-body purse just big enough for a bit of cash and my keys. I’m also eating some interesting food combinations, predicated on what needs consuming first. And I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into using an app called Zoom, which makes it possible for me and my family across the water to see each other and chat. All good. One person I know who is relishing isolation is my autistic granddaughter. No noisy school playground, no social obligations, just long hours entertaining herself. She has never been happier.

As promised I have a little bonus for you, in case you have time on your well-washed hands. An exclusive interview with the Duchess of Windsor which you can read here, A Word from Wally

Yes, yes, I know she’s been dead more than thirty years but I’m a novelist. I have artistic licence.

Next up, thanks for the suggestion, Emma: some emergency store cupboard recipes from Lizzie Partridge.



  1. Elizabeth Tyrrell on March 30, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    I thought that Gone With the Windsors was one of your many materpieces.
    Thank you for A Word from Wally- if only there could be more!

  2. Helen Evans on March 30, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    I loved that book too. This interview brought back the fantastic characters who made it such a funny and delightful read.

  3. Val Dunn on April 1, 2020 at 11:43 am

    A word from Wally was brilliant , really cheered me up on a bit of a boring day . Am about to re-read At Sea as I know I’ll be laughing out loud within a very short time . Looking forward to your next email.

  4. Helen on April 1, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    Have tried to join twice, but so far nothing!

  5. Francesca Yeomans on April 5, 2020 at 5:12 am

    Wallis such a fabulous role model of a woman; so glad I bumbled onto your pages from who knows where; the randomness of internet generally annoys me, leaves me feeling as if I’ve spent an hour with an egg whisk in my head, but a worthwhile sojourn in life’s cul de sac this morning, to hear Wallis again. Thank you.

  6. Laura Daly on April 9, 2020 at 8:13 am

    Huge fan of yours just down the road in Dublin. Loved and I mean loved all of your books. So delighted with A Word From Wally. Will read it on my lunch break in my silent office. Take care and Thanks.

Leave a Comment