Tuesday 3 August 2010

Happy Birthday,Dame Phyllis!

Except most people know this lady simply as P D James [full name Phyllis Dorothy James White] This brilliant woman is 90 today.

p d james

I have loved her books for years, especially the Adam Dalgliesh novels – so many set in London and East Anglia  [my two favourite places in the world, I think] and the TV adaptations with Roy Marsden have been excellent.

pd james

An interview in today’s ‘Globe and Mail’ [here] includes this passage

[She] puts her hand palm down on the table and asks me to do the same. “You can try to hold back time, but you can’t do anything about your hands,” she says. “Compare them, my dear. An old hand and a young one. There’s nothing you can do about it.” … Look at what her hands have accomplished in nine decades: held children and great-grandchildren, signed important political documents, written 20 books that have given readers countless hours in faraway worlds where murderers never prevail. She has led an exemplary life of public service, private sacrifice, intellectual achievement. If there were a hand Olympics, hers would win gold.

The article doesn’t specify the ‘public service and private sacrifice’ – but this Dame takes her work in the House of Lords very seriously. She is a committed Christian [and supporter of the Prayer Book Society!] – and nursed her invalid husband till his early death, then worked hard [in the criminal justice system and the health service] to support and raise her young children.

I admire and respect her – and I think she writes cracking books!


  1. Totally agree. I've long been a reader of her books.

  2. As you say her books are "cracking"! She is also gracious and modest.Have you read her autobiography "Time to be in Earnest"?

  3. Wow! Happy Birthday to Dame Phyllis. I'll check to see if I can find some of her books.
    She's right about hands. I remember old dish soap commercials when I was a kid. I wondered, "Why do ladies care if their hands looks young or old?" I still don't care about that but I always notice hands. If I know you, I know exactly what your hands look like. I must think about this more. Thanks for a great post, Angela!


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