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I met my first wife when I was 21 and she was sixteen.  It had been love at first sight for me.  I cannot speak for her.  We married three years later.  The seven year itch ended in divorce, and I married Tania, who had been a good friend to both of us; she’d even been present at our wedding!
After the initial pain we kept in touch, as Adrienne – more familiarly ‘Wren’ – went on in life.  Initially living with a guitarist on a non seaworthy trawler in drydock at Bristol, she then moved on to Wales with a solicitor who eventually gave her a child in 1993.  They lived in a house with no mains electricity and no mains water.  For reasons not relevant here, the father of her child ceased practising law, and eventually Wren flew the nest and married again to a thoroughly wonderful Welshman.
Wren was creative, a great hostess, she had run her own successful restaurant in the late seventies and early eighties.  She had wide ranging artistic talents, in printmaking and ceramic sculpture.  She was a great singer, with a catholic taste in music ranging from Purcell to the Pogues.  She was generous and inclusive, and it was a privilege that many enjoyed to feel the love that she readily gave to people all around her.  She loved The Archers, she loved nature and detested the ecological disaster of civilisation, she loved animals.  She was no conformist: she always made up her own mind.  She loved cooking for other people, always rustling up something magical for uninvited guests.  She had a sense of the mystic about her; a pagan, almost Wiccan approach.  Not long ago she began a formal study of herbal medicine.  She loved sex, drugs and rock and roll.
It was a green funeral, and she was buried by friends in the Pembrokeshire countryside on Thursday 12th February 2009.  She was 52.  She was buried in a wicker coffin, decorated with flowers, without religious ceremony.  It was said that no religion was broad enough for her.  Afterwards we met in a pub – one of her favourite places – and there was singing, laughter and a few tears.  Many of us felt angry;  she had died too soon.  And she had been a major contributor to that herself.  Those of us who would have liked to have influenced her regretted that we had not persuaded her to take better care of herself.  Many of her heroes had died young too, including Dylan Thomas who had lived down the road.  Our anger was not directed against any ‘Deus ex machina’ who had taken her from us, but at Wren herself for seeking to numb her oversensitivity to the business of life by excessive use of alcohol, and in her earlier years, drugs.  And anger at ourselves for failing to win her from her self-destructive lifestyle by loving her as well as she loved others.
She would have grown old disgracefully if she had grown old at all.  But many of us know that she hoped she’d die before she got old.  And so she did.  My thoughts are with her son, her husband, her sister, with her many friends who will miss her.  And to some extent, with those who never met her, but whose lives would have gained a little from having done so.  They, like us, have no opportunity to share in the light she could bring to a moment of our lives.


  1. There are persona such as Wren in our lives, if we’re lucky. The space they leave after them is vast but to have known them at all was treasure beyond the dreams of avarice.

  2. This is a beautiful remembrance. ~ninais

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