Constance Spry

 r.Constance Spry

r.Constance Spry

I first heard of Constance Spry as a very young thing when I made fudge for King Alfred’s Kitchen , a tea shop unwillingy run by Penelope Betjemam at her husband’s insistence in Wantage.She  always had this big pink book in her kitchen and  I see now from my own copy that I bought it in 1966 when I was 21……My  daughter Kitty knew the book well and when she started to work at St John’s she told the chefs there what a good cookery book it was  but they were highly disappointed when she bought it in for them to see for  they had understood it to be the Constant Surprise cookery book.

My copy

My copy

Penelope was a wonderful cook, her chubby hands with their wrists encircled with Indian silver bracelets , could tame a horse , whip up an apple  meringue a,  disembowl a chicken and busily type  up her travel notes with a wagger pagger bagger at her side to catch all the  mistakes in the typing .Anyway.. To get back to Connie … when I had an allotment with a high wall I decided to grow the rose that was named after her  in memory of all these happy times and she did indeed climb the wall but I found her to be a harsh thorny thing and although she produced huge blooms , the smell  seemed to me to be  like lavatory cleaner and so I would not grow her again. On the other hand .. there will always be room in a garden of mine  for Penelope…….



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