WILBUR SMITH WHEN THE LION FEEDSIf you are of a certain age and South African, chances are you would have been exposed to Wilbur Smith. He had been to school and university with my dad , so we regarded him as a family member – albeit very exotic. I read his first book When the Lion Feeds as an 11 or 12 year old and yes,  I did go back and back to certain pages…” The dark triangle at the base of her legs”, “the badge of womanhood “and more puzzlingly, her melony breasts had me enthralled. More embarrassingly than any of the sex descriptions was the fact that I mispronounced the hero’s name as “Seen” Courtenay and not “Shawn”….

Then came Harold Robbins and Jackie Collins and of course, Judith Krantz and Princess Daisy. I had always thought goldfish were useless pets so this was  a real eye-opener! We had a tree house in our garden and this became the perfect place to read those illicit books. We also gained some knowledge from the Scope magazine which ran a long series of articles about Jack Kennedy and his many mistresses .My mother believed (and I think you were quite right mum) that Scope was common ) so we only accessed it at the Penny’s house where it lay in great piles , full of ladies with stars  instead of nipples.


In high school. at Epworth, we discovered the world of Mills and Boon. Such sexist claptrap but easy and entertaining to read. The plot was always the same- the tall ,dark handsome hero(saturnine was a word often used) and the feeble heroine who was always fluttering and gasping and pressing her fingers to her tremulous lips… Homework sessions became our time for acting out our version of a mills and Boon. Roughly scripted by Lyrr and myself, our two characters were Hercules Savage and Jasmine Pond.

Hercules Savage tapped his riding whip against his impeccably shod leather riding boots He pressed his masculine hardness up against her and she could(I think) feel it/him throbbing. Jasmine Pond had a pulse that throbbed at the base of her neck and she spoke in short gasps , not really sentences. Of course, they  hated one another at first because in all Mills and Boon stories , hatred is very close to love. She had a tiny waist and emerald eyes and her eyelashes were wet because she cried a lot. She was a drip and he was a bully. He had a thin mouth which twisted sardonically and strong brown fingers which gripped the top of her arms a lot. At some point in the story, she got caught in a storm and got very wet and had to wear his clothes and then , slowly hatred to love .and passion. And marriage.