I was born near Manchester in the north of England, where I grew up and joined a local newspaper at the age of 17. I graduated to the Daily Mail in London where I spent 10 years doing many editorial jobs, including a spell as New York correspondent. Then followed a further 10 years in London with The Sunday Times as a reporter, feature-writer and foreign correspondent. My 15 minutes of fame came with the demise of Now! magazine which suddenly become Then! on the very morning I joined (it folded). Next came a brief period as features editor of the Mail on Sunday and several years freelancing from the South of France. My articles have appeared in most British national newspapers as well as The New York Times and Reader's Digest.
As readers of our book Memories of Eden* will know, I was born into a Jewish Iraqi family in Baghdad. We left Iraq and spent many years travelling: to India, Palestine, Cyprus, the new state of Israel—and, finally, to London in 1964. I took various travel-related jobs before marrying Tony in 1972, then four years later I opened my own travel agency with his help. Several years later we woke up and realised there had to be a better way to spend our days. And so an idea was born . . . After all, he came from an Italian family background, I spoke some languages (though not Italian), we were both well-travelled. What if we sold our apartment, sold the agency, he quit his job and we said goodbye to London and set off on a new adventure. Somewhere, shall we say, like Tuscany?
*Memories of Eden: A Journey through Jewish Baghdad, published by Forum Books in the UK in February 2008. Available from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. For a bit more about it, and how it came to pass, take a look here.