Saturday, 20 November 2010


When I was in the 6th form, I got German measles and was put into sick room. An old girl came back to the school for a visit and happened to come to see me in the infirmary. She offered me a cigarette which I promptly took, having never smoked before but I wanted to feel cool in front of her. After a few puffs, the Matron came into the room and I swiftly put the lit cigarette under my bed linen. Needless to say, smoke started to billow out and my sheet caught on fire. There was no way I could get out of this mess. Once I was better, I was rusticated for 3 weeks as an example of what could happen if anyone dared break the rules. My parents were not at all pleased!

When I left boarding school at the age of 18, I had my whole life ahead of me. Whether I took the right road or not, events certainly made my life interesting. I did a cultural course for "young ladies" as my parents wanted me to gain a bit of finesse as they felt I needed to saw off the edges of my hick life in a small town in the Midwest of America. There I met various girls who would change my life forever. One of them was the daughter of the Duke of Norfolk. She was hysterically funny and we got on like a house on fire. She was just about to start her "Debutante season" to meet eligible young men, worthy of her parents’ admiration. She invited me to a tea party which was the first of the events introducing young women to society. I went as her "American cousin" in order to validate my presence. From that tea party, I was invited to endless other parties which actually not only gave me a year of unadulterated fun but changed my life. I flew to house parties and dances in
Scotland and castles all around England. I danced with Prince Charles and the Queen in an eight some reel at one private party but completely botched it up because I had never done it before and made a complete fool of myself. At the same party, I sat next to Princess Anne, who was snogging an underage Etonian in the disco tent.

I met my future husband, Patrick in a roundabout way through all of this.

Not long after dating him, I moved in with my future husband in a flat in Knightsbridge for 6 months before we married. We shared this flat with Colin Blunstone of the Zombies and Duncan Browne who was a budding pop star.

I got married, and a year later gave birth to Finian when I was 22, followed by my daughter, Alexandra, when I was 27. My husband managed Duncan Browne, a pop singer (who is not very well known today but who has a cult following). Patrick also had his own music publishing company in the 70's.  Although I am ashamed to mention this, I must be honest and tell you that I fell in love with
Duncan from the day I met him when I was 19. However, I didn't have enough ego to feel I was worthy of him and so for the next 24 years, I suffered because I never stopped loving him. There will be more about Duncan later on in this story.

During my marriage, I met loads of pop singers and celebrities including Elton John, Brian Ferry, Morecombe and Wise, Cilla Black, Suzie Quatro, Elvis Costello, Sid Vicious, to name but a few. It was a fun time but rather superficial.

I got divorced in 1980 and since then my “ex” became the 6th baronet of Ampton when his brother died and Finian is now the heir to the 7th Baronetcy of Ampton. This is irrelevant to my life as it stands but I just thought I would mention it in case you are interested. I felt my life was at an end. But it was only the beginning.

The first person I had an affair with after the divorce was James Hunt, the World Champion Racing Driver. I know he is well known for his insatiable appetite for women, but at the time I needed some sort of ego boost after years of feeling empty and unattractive. He is now dead which I am so sad about, but at the time he was very much alive. It lasted about 4 months and to save embarrassment, I won’t go into some of the ridiculous situations we got into. But they were likened to a French farce! He was a kind and giggly little boy in an Adonis – like body who was a joy to be with at that time. Life was beginning to take a major turn for me.

I was living in the most fabulous 5-storey house in Kensington which is a Grade 1 listed house for historical reasons. I hired a nanny for the kids and had to work for the first time in my life as the breadwinner. This was not easy, I can assure you. I had to bluff my way into endless jobs in order to maintain the kids, food, and bills. This was the first time in my life that everything was up to me as well as the future of my children, who I loved more than anything else before. I say that, but if the truth be known, I made a lot of mistakes in the coming years.

When I was 32 years old, I was shocked to learn that I had Cervical Cancer which had spread to a dangerous level. Being an optimist, I carried on with my life as if nothing was wrong but to put my mind at rest, I immediately had a hysterectomy to solve the problem once and for all.

Once over the trauma, I went on holiday by myself to the South of France. My best friend was French and she invited me to her parents’ villa in La Garde Finetre, near St. Tropez. It was the best 2 weeks of my life up to that point. But little did I know it started something I would never wish upon anyone. A tax inspector from
Paris, who was also a cocaine dealer, came down to stay with us at my friends’ villa (her parents were away at the time) and he brought with him on his motorbike, 52 grammes of cocaine.

He was a glamorous type of chap, good looking and trendy. On the first night after dinner, he spread out cocaine on a mirror the size of a Picasso painting and for the first time in my life, I sniffed up about the equivalent of 1/4 gramme of cocaine into my nose just to save face and looking like a nerd. I felt absolutely fantastic for the first time in my life; Confident, a winner, cool, and full of energy. We then went to a nightclub in St. Tropez where we were joined by Bridget Bardot and Tony Fransiscus. They had been my idols since I was 14 years old and I could not believe that they were actually talking to us.

I felt like a million dollars. I had the darkest all-over tan, was thin, young and free without a problem in the world. I felt like I was part of the “jet set”, although, in fact, I wasn’t really. I was just a barnacle on the side of a ship. Then, after two idyllic weeks of partying, sunbathing, and snorting, I went home.

There is always a downside to feeling “Great” under the influence of cocaine. When you get back to real life, responsibilities, poverty and the end of a perfect holiday, one has to struggle on with natural adrenaline, which was hard to come by under my circumstances. I had totally forgotten about cocaine on my return.

Several months went by with the usual hard slog of trying to make ends meet. Then I rented out my basement flat to a charming young chap called Josh, who I thought was as pure as the driven snow. Months later I found out that he was a heroin addict and also sold cocaine to feed his habit. On first meeting him, I had no knowledge of his drug problem whatsoever; I did not drink alcohol and apart from my short stint on cocaine in the south of
France, was quite honestly very innocent in comparison with the rest of the people of my age living in London.

My children loved Josh and visa versa; he glowed in the presence of my kids. They would draw pictures, talk about airplanes, make up funny stories and basically have a great time. He was such a lovely, kind guy and obviously adored children, especially mine.

I was still struggling with the lack of money to make ends meet as a single parent and had tried several jobs to pay for the upkeep of my family, but things were not working out. A bailiff would come to my door on a regular basis to demand items of value to pay off bills. But nothing was really worth anything. He was an ex policeman and because he felt sorry for me, became a friend rather than an enemy. He would come over regularly to take possession of anything that would help pay for the debts but ended up just having a cup of tea and a chat.

One day, the subject of cocaine came up whilst I was having a cup of coffee with Josh in my kitchen. At that time, I still didn’t know about his serious drug problem. I told him about the great time I’d had in the South of France and that for the first and supposedly last time, had tried cocaine. He said that he knew a few people who were public school educated and very discreet, who could provide me with cocaine to sell to a few elite celebrities. He said they would help me to pay the bills which were obviously becoming a very serious problem. I would never have to leave my house to sell the retched stuff on the streets like a common drug dealer. At the time, I was so desperate for money to live on, and had no luck with trying to bluff my way into legitimate jobs, that I simply could not think of another way to survive. My husband was not giving me any money for the children, and quite honestly felt I had no other choice. Subsequently, after I was introduced to these dodgy people, I wish I had never agreed. It was to be the biggest mistake of my life.

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