Naomi is a name of some antiquity and the first person I knew called Naomi was already in her old age when I met her. Naomi Mitchison, née Haldane came from a set of distinguished forebears in academia and went on to carve a name for herself. The name means pleasant, presumably warm.
Naomi was a writer, poet, short story writer and novelist, a political activist and a gardener. She and her husband had bought a country house in Carradale in Kintyre before the second world war. They entertained here together and then, after his death, she stayed on.
I visited on many occasions and enjoyed her warm hospitality. There were also other interesting guests, walks on the shore and in the forest and bonfires designed, ineffectually, to keep down the scrub. I was showered by champagne at her 100th birthday party. I followed the procession a few months later when we scattered her ashes around the beloved garden.
A long life well-lived as you may read for yourself in her volumes of autobiography. Small Talk, Memories of an Edwardian Childhood and You May Well Ask, come to mind. Type Naomi Mitchison into google today and although she comes up first, her great-granddaughter of the same name is tripping at her heels. The scientific tradition is in safe hands and continues.
Bella’s Betrothal is on special offer till April 28th. for 99p you can find out what happened when Bella did not stay off that horse:
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