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Flavia's Typewriter

So that's my fathers Imperial typewriter. I think it is beautiful.

He used to write on weekends, because you never earn anything being a writer. He used to write in the mornings. I remember hearing the sound of keys tapping rather loudly. clap clap clap clap. He typed using only two fingers. 

Both my parents when they married the went to India to live there for a year. And then South Africa. And then Mauritius. I was almost born in Mauritius, but they came back from England when I was on the way, they thought the schooling would be better. 

He wrote two books on this typewriter. One of them was called An Island called Mauritius. They're factual travel books, a retelling of their times in Mauritius.

It does bring back his voice, his way of speaking. When I read the book i hear his voice. It's funny, I can instantly tell its his way of speaking. I remember when I was a teenager and used to take boyfriends home they'd always end up listening to him instead of speaking to me. He'd tell them all these stories about his days as a student in Oxford.  

He always felt like he was kind of unlucky with his writing. He never quite got the acclaim he was hoping for. When the first book was published it was during the war, and the printers ran out of paper whilst they were printing it. 

The last book he wrote was a fiction book, it was a novel, but it never actually got published. I remember him saying to me that he hadn't really read it the whole way through because he was sick of it by the time he finished.

The typewriter is on top of my wardrobe. It's called a portable typewriter, and has a hard case that sort of goes around it. And then it has a carrying handle. He took it all around the world with him, it's a well travelled typewriter. 

One of the stories my father absolutely loved telling was the story about my mother getting bitten by a snake in South Africa. They were going out for a walk in the bush, and she was bitten by a snake, one of the most deadliest snakes in South Africa. They were walking through the bush and my mother looked down at her leg and there was this snake wrapped around it. This was one of the stories my father would tell over and over again, but brilliantly. They had 30 minutes or an hour or something to get her the antivenin, otherwise she would have died. They managed to find a taxi to take them to the hospital. The taxi driver was apparently singing a song by Frank Sinatra on the radio called give me 5 minutes more! My father thinks it may've been to gear himself up or something.


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