The Elkington family tree by Caroline
(click image for larger version)
Painting of Gaia and Hania by Caroline
Tim back at the controls of a Spitfire, late in 2011 (photo by Richard Paver, 2011)
I was born in a mill-house on an island in a tributary of the Thames at Padworth, Berkshire, in 1949. My father, John Francis Durham ('Tim') Elkington was born in 1920 and was an RAF pilot in the Battle of Britain. (The photo above shows him back in the air, at the controls of a 2-seater Spitfire, late in 2011, just before his 91st birthday.) Later in the war, he served in Russia, the Battle of the Atlantic and India. He stayed on with the RAF until 1975, when he retired as a Wing Commander and set up an art and picture-framing business. My mother, Patricia ('Pat') Elkington (née Adamson), was born in 1922 and met Tim at Castle Gogar, where her aunts lived, when he was commanding nearby RAF Turnhouse. They married in 1948. After stints overseas, they moved to the Cotswolds in 1959.
Elaine was born in Edinburgh in 1947. Her father, Dr George Stanley Waite, was born and raised in Barbados. He studied at McGill University, Canada, and Edinburgh University, Scotland, was a veteran of the WWII North African campaign (parted from his wife for six years), then served for many years as a GP in Mossley, Lancashire, before he and Margaret retired to Great Longstone in the Peak District. Elaine's mother, Margaret Thompson Waite (née Dunlop), was a nurse in Edinburgh when she met Stanley. In Mossley, she was a pillar of the community, as the doctor's wife, a JP and fund-raiser for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
Having met in 1968 and married in 1973, we have two daughters, Gaia (born 1977) and Hania (1979). Both went to St Paul's School for Girls, London; both got firsts at Edinburgh University; but otherwise they could be from different species.
Patcast: My mother, Pat, listening to a podcast interview I had just recorded of her, in 2007. Among other things I inherited from her are a passion for reading--and my writing. She also tells me that there was a strong thread of conservation activity in her side of the family, the Adamsons, which may account for my environmentalist epiphany in a field full of eels in the mid-1950s.
Writer’s block: Tim at a Battle of Britain signing session
Preparing for take-off: During WWII, when involved in shipping squadrons of Hurricanes to Russia
Circling Stones: Gaia, with attendant peacock
Hugged: Hania and I at the 20th birthday party for SustainAbility, in 2007