Francesca Cruice Goodall (I never acquired a middle name -my parents couldn’t think of one)
5′ 7” – eyes of indeterminate colour.
28th February 1973 – Hout Bay / Cape Town – South Africa
Currently living but apparently not resident in the DC metropolitan area (read Suburban Bethesda, Maryland)
Dream identity – the Madonna crossed with Ian Hislop
An Inkling Grows
Life started off rather well in a house in Hout Bay with a pool and various ineffective people to take care of me. My first Christmas was spent in a basket, on a raft, floating on a lagoon with my parents and two puppeteers. I think we were there to complete my mother’s final art school project which involved setting her creation alight and allowing it to drift off, as just a flaming memory across the waters. The puppeteers were more restrained and are now rather famous. Their life sized horses star in the The War Horse which has held London captive for several years and moves to NY in March 2011. I cannot wait.
We left South Africa when I was nearly two, to go and sit in the miserable Tuscan cold. A passing hunter saw me sitting, filthy and freezing upon a step and pronounced the words “Porca Miseria”, a favourite Tuscan expression amongst the older generation, which literally means “Swinish Misery”. My parents were inclined to agree and decided London might be better and went to live in a house on the Thames – which promptly flooded – leaving my father boating children to and from school. They then moved to the country side and lived in a house with no formal heating but lashings of charm. Guests would go outside to keep warm and say so, quite openly, before my over attentive ears. I was five and wildly hurt and went off, wounded, to tell my mother. The boiler finally gave up entirely. It was in an outhouse and I think, that for some reason, a firework hit it. With the fog from the channel creeping in and not enough duffel coats to keep warm, my parents finally decided it was too much.
When I was nine, we moved to the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels between Nice and Cannes) to look after a yachting enterprise. The bay was not so angelic. The Mafia was rife, pizzerias regularly caught fire, and one night a restaurant owner drew a gun from a briefcase and shot down one of his extortioners. I made friends with a little girl who lived in a penthouse of one of the amazing sail like condos that surrounded the harbour. Her father – a Cockney without any of the charm of Michael Caine – had us watched through binoculars by his body guard. I had somehow heard that people like that kept aligators in the loo and was highly curious when I was invited to play. We lived on a sailing boat called JT. It was owned by somone who had defaulted on his mooring fees so it was padlocked to the jetty. At night, my brother and I would escape the heat, climb through the hatch of our cabin, and and paddle across the harbour suitably terrified of the Gendarmes with their red striped trousers and dobermans on choker collars. Mr Moulinex (the US equivalent of Mr Cuisinart) had an enormous wallowing monster of a gin palace, at the entrace to the harbour and we would fantasize about living on a boat as big and vulgar as that.
More anon… have to pick up Alice in Wonderland from a playdate.