Two Poems for my Daughter

These poems were written for my daughter, Shiri,
on the death of her father, Wordsworth McAndrew, in 2008

Lines to a poet, wondering…

Among the many,
The many, many
Delicious definitions of love
That you so passionately researched
And recorded
For the entertainment of generations yet to come,

Did you ever discover any,
Did you register any
Of a father’s
For his child?

To Wordsworth – a lasting legacy

The daughter that you never chose to love,
The one, one day, you didn’t dare to meet,
Whose life you chose to leave a thing apart,
Whose joys and pain you didn’t care to share,

Can you imagine how she chose to mark
Your absence from the absence that she knew?
I do not think you can. Were you afraid
Of her disdain, of her dismissing you?

She went alone and bought a weeping tree
And planted it, because ‘that’s what they do’.

And I, who had not wept for you before,
Was overawed at the magnificence
Of such forgiving love as this for you.
And filled my eyes.  I’ve never loved her more.

The first poem refers a list of nearly 40 Stages of Love
which Wordsworth compiled from the East Indian tradition in Guyana,

beginning with the relatively mild Typee, through Chiranghi,
Chiranghi-bang-bang, Chiranghi-look-boop,
& Totilotipo,
to the dizzy heights of  Zeggeh-heh-saha

and Ezapootilingoof (“…typee till yo bajoodie!”)

Its title is a reference to one of his own poems, called “Lines to a Cartman, pushing.”

Videos for WWW

In May 2016,
on the 50th Anniversary of Guyana’s Independence in 1966,
The Guyana High Commission in London held an Exhibtion of Art and Literature
as part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations

On the opening night, I was invited to read from Wordsworth’s White Wife,
and talk about my life in Guyana.


A more informal event took place at “Book-Buster” – a Hastings Bookshop –
where my readings were interspersed with welcomes
each time the audience expanded…

Here is a video showing part of the occasion.

What’s it all about?

This evocative memoir tells the story of the relationship between
a young VSO from England and the man she married – 
Wordsworth McAndrew, Guyana’s celebrated folklorist,
 broadcaster, journalist and poet.

It includes extracts from the letters she wrote home to her parents,
as well as from Mac’s letters to her whenever they were apart.

The linking narrative expands on her memories of the lifestyle,
 the landscape, and the wider cultural & political scene
in a newly independent nation at the time.

It also exposes the mismatch between the resolutely optimistic
accounts of their life together that she gave her parents –
in an attempt to relieve their anxieties and overcome
their prejudice – and the reality.

This is now accessible on Amazon
for $9.99 US, or £8.77 Sterling

Amazon screenshot 20.01.21

Just click on the link !

In order to cut the online sale price of the book, especially
for overseas delivery, I sacrificed the few photos in colour,
though the black and white ones remain.

That’s why I’ve put the colour photos on a special page here,
so that you can still see them if you buy the book from Amazon

 On the other hand, I still have plenty of the original copies for sale,
with several colour illustrations, at £9.99 each
To buy one of these, simply email me at the address below:
and I will gladly post you a copy.
Postage rates within the UK or Overseas on application.

Colour Photos for WWW

In the edition, to keep the purchase price down,
the illustrations in colour were omitted, though the B & W ones remain.

For those who would like to see the colour photos
from my original edition,  here they are…

  *   *   *   *   *

From page 8:
Mac’s photo of me with the donkeys, Samantha and Adam
in the field beyond our garden at Adam’s Farm, in Graffham, Sussex.

donkeys cropped

And one of the little donkey cards that accompanied his occasional gifts to me:

p 10 - Donkey card - colour

From page 13:
One of the elegant old wooden mansions that made Georgetown so beautiful:

p 12 - GT Mansion

From page 13:
Some of the gorious scarlet names of the bright blue wooden Grorgetown buses :

From page 14:
Mac with John Criswick, outside his cottage in Arcadia:

p 17 - Mac & CQ at Arcadia

From page 14:
Some of the staff at B/S:  my boss, Miss Dolphin;  Eustce & Laurie;  Sheila & Mrs Singh:

From page 22:
Mac on the Kissing Bridge in the Botanic Gardens

From page 31:
Climbing for coconuts…

p 37 - Climbing for coconuts

From page 33:
Selling Fish & Bread at a Railway Station

p 38 - Fish & Bread

From page 33:
One of the children showing me some maggots from the 6 o’clock Bee…

p 50 - Maggots

From page 61:
Mac standing with the family outside the cottage where we stayed in Berbice

p 70 - WC Berbice family on steps

From page 106:
John Criswick’s Portrait of Mac in his Blue Dashiki

Mac in Blue 001

From page 223:
Shiri launching off down the steps of our back cottage flat.

p 243 - Shiri launching off down steps

From page 233:
The painting by Angold Thompson that I loved so much – Sabine’s farewell gift.



Hearing Aid Induction…

I have just acquired my first pair of hearing aids!

I had been warned that they might take some getting used to, as all circumambient noise would come in for magnification quite as much as the sounds I actually wanted to hear.  And that I would need to learn how to reprogram my brain to take account of this. What they didn’t tell me was that it would be like stuffing my ears with crumpled cellophane, so that every high-pitched microscopic movement in the vicinity would be amplified beyond belief.

Why is this?

Well, for these magical aids to be programmed to my individual hearing profile – and they cleverly were, on a little screen with adjustable graph lines bringing the curve of my new aids to parallel as closely as possible the outline curve of my own hearing – it was the higher frequencies that needed amplifying – and amplified they soon were!

The minute my new aids were in, and turned on, my lovely practitioner asked me what he sounded like.  Did I think he was shouting?  Well, no, it didn’t sound as if he was shouting, but it was as if his voice was coming from a box, in several dimensions, with more than one frequency at a time.  ‘Ah, that’s because you’re now aware of the higher frequencies that you have been missing all this while’, he reassured me, and passed me my cagoule.

This was the first real revelation – taking over and putting on my cagoule.  An ordinary, common or garden cagoule, made of proprietary polyurethane-coated nylon.  But suddenly it had taken on a life of its own.  It made a noise.  It made a noise just by existing, just by parts of itself moving against other parts of itself – and wearing it meant that each minute motion of the head or limbs set fabric sliding on fabric with a rasping rustling like rubbing sheets of tinfoil against the wire cage of a high fidelity microphone.

I left his surgery and walked down the corridor.  Revelation number two: with every step I took, as the jeans of one inner thigh chafed against its partner, this hitherto silent caress registered in my brain as the raucous scraping it must have secretly been all this while.  Outside the hospital, traffic noise sounded pretty much as usual, really – after all, the lower frequencies hadn’t needed much remedial attention – but on reaching my car, feeling in my pocket for the key (rustle scrapy rustle), and inserting it in the lock (high-pitched squeech) each strident scratch reminded me that life would be different from now on.  And once driving along, below the familiar engine noise and the mechanical sounds I had grown used to, were strange new rattles and creaks just outside the window.  Were they outside, or inside?  Were they in the structure of the window itself?  Was the car falling apart?

Once back in the relative silence of my home, I discovered that simply ‘breathing in’ could now be registered on the Richter scale, as I told my daughter in a mixture of excitement and consternation. “Don’t do it, then,” was her helpful response.

And then I found that casually brushing my hand past my hair – not even touching the little curvy coffee-coloured monsters behind my ears themselves, but just the hair above them – yes, the merest trace of fingertip to follicle – was transmitted to the brain as acid susurration.

Acid, yes – that reminds me.  The acid test.  One of the main reasons for signing up for these things in the first place was to enable me to operate more easily in group situations – at dinner parties, in lectures, at my tango class…  How would everything seem in my tango class?

Well, I went to the first post-aids class two days later – and yes, perhaps I could hear the instructions more clearly, but as latecomers scrabbled with their coats and bags, stashing away their sandwiches, fishing for their shoes, each whisper dominated the soundscape of my head, and well-nigh drowned out the voice of the teacher.

No point in getting angry with them, I told myself; they don’t know the effect they’re having on my battered ear-drums.  I’ll just have to get used to it…


The State, by Peter Kosminsky – Channel 4 TV, August 20th – 24th.

What an astounding production!  I didn’t expect to like this series about British recruits drawn to join IS in Syria, and I nearly didn’t watch it at all.  Perhaps I thought it would be heavily propagandist, presenting the young Muslims as hate-filled fanatics, and foment yet more prejudice against Muslims in general, regardless of the fact that those who choose to go and fight (or stay and commit acts of terror) are an extremely small minority.  Or that in contrast, it might serve to entice more young believers to leave their families and sacrifice their lives for a bitter cause. Continue reading

Missing Relatives

          “That looks like the couple…. 

                      …that live next door to you.”

As a teacher of English as a Foreign Language I designed scores of activities to enliven lessons with group interaction.  With a special interest integrating intonation into general language focus, I often incorporated graphic representation of the appropriate intonation patterns, as you will see when opening the link to this card game, which practises ‘defining’ relative clauses, using the pronoun ‘that’.  Teachers’ notes are included.

Missing Relatives

Eventually I intend to publish a collection of resources on various aspects of language teaching, of which this is a sample.

Lexical Tag Dominoes

      A:  “Lovely day, isn’t it!”    B:  “Isn’t it gorgeous!”

As a teacher of English as a Foreign Language I designed scores of activities to enliven lessons with group interaction.  With a special interest integrating intonation into general language focus, I often incorporated graphic representation of the appropriate intonation patterns, as you will see when opening the link to this card game, which practises typical interactions of spoken discourse starting with question tags.  Teachers’ notes are included.

Discourse Dominoes – tags

Eventually I intend to publish a collection of resources on various aspects of language teaching, of which this is a sample.



Wordsworth’s White Wife – Review 1

Review by Frank Birbal Singh,
Emeritus Professor of Post-Colonial Literature
at York University, Toronto, Canada.

“Rosie’s documentary zeal in meticulously cataloguing social, cultural, and political aspects of her experience in Guyana, with a sense of wide-eyed wonder, in spite of frustration and grief, is nothing less than exemplary in Wordsworth’s White Wife. ” Continue reading

Wordsworth’s White Wife – Review 2

Cultures on the Cusp in 1970s Guyana
– a review by Chris Cormack
in the Hastings Online Times  


A newly published book by author and Hastings resident, Rosie McAndrew, gives important insights into the nature of inter-racial relationships and an historically key period in the development of multi-culturalism, namely the 1960s/70s when old cultural props were de-stabilised and emerging nations were to develop a new cultural pride and identity,  writes Chris Cormack.

Rosie McAndrew’s memoir Wordsworth’s White Wife works on a number of planes; as a simple memoir of an extraordinary relationship with the odds set against it; as a historic memoir of two nations on the cusp, sixties’ Britain self-questioning of long held hierarchical and ethical codes of society and Guyana (formerly British Guiana) seeking its own new cultural identity after recent independence from Britain in a cultural ‘melting pot’ that reflected multi-racial Guyana. Given Rosie’s philological background (French and Spanish), it is also a fascinating exploration of linguistic melding and development, as creole language and culture is brought to prominence by a remarkable man for the cultural recognition that it undoubtedly deserves. Through the linguistic devices the reader is able to glean important insights into life and culture in 1970s Guyana. Continue reading

Wordsworth’s White Wife – Review 3

Review in the Hastings Independent by Christine Sanderson

When Wordsworth McAndrew died in 2008, he was hailed in his home country of Guyana as a ‘National Treasure’ and the voice of Guyanese folklore. But to Rosie McAndrew, who lives locally near to Ore village, he was her ex-husband and an influence that changed her life completely.

‘Mac’, as Rosie usually called him, was ten years older than her and already well-known in 1968 when the two first met. Both were attending courses at the BBC in London, his in connection with his job in broadcasting and hers to prepare her for Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) – in the same town, Georgetown, Guyana, working for Broadcasts for Schools (BS) her first real job as a young graduate. There was an instant attraction well before either knew much about the other. Continue reading