Jan Morris: She sensed she was ‘on the very finish of issues’. What a life it was … | Jan Morris

UUsually, within nine months of meeting someone, asking questions and writing about them in the newspaper, you can expect one or two experiences to be etched in your memory. But my recollection of my late February visit to Jan Morris’s home in northwestern Wales is not the case. Every moment is noticeable.

You might say, because my first trip there – walking through Snowdonia in the morning, a whirlwind to the sea in Criccieth – was almost the only trip I made in a whole year. But I do not believe so. As anyone who knows who went to visit home, or who opened any of his 40 books, Morris did just that. Having spent her entire life having wonderful journeys, journeys and adventures, she knew how to make others pray for them.

On Friday, their son Twm, a well-known Welsh poet who owns a small house across the street from his home, announced his death at the age of 94, with the appropriate words: “This morning at 11.40am Ysbyty Bryn Beryl, in Llyn, writer and traveler Jan Morris embarked on his epic voyage, leaving behind the seafront, his longtime friend, Elizabeth. ”

James (now Jan) Morris shakes hands with Edmund Hillary on a snowy slopeJames (now Jan) Morris thanks Edmund Hillary after a mountaineer arrived at the 195rest Everest convention. Photo: Getty Images

We met, I promise spring, part of Morris ’exciting story was always about the last trip. Elizabeth, who greeted him in her room, had been suffering from dementia for several years. Morris feared that his mind would fail, though there was little evidence of what he was saying. We are drinking tea and talking in the long living room, like a little train, a little bird flying by, biting its lip on the window from time to time as if we were about to enter. “Did you hear that bird chirping?” Morris asked. “It used to talk about death, didn’t it? We have them every day in different windows. ”

If he was wise, as he said, that he was “at the end of things”, he would not forget anything that led him to get there. And what a trip it took! Morris, 26, is the only journalist who accompanied Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on their Everest expedition in 1953, and published the article on Times on Coronation Day. At other times, he wrote about sitting on the Field Marshal Montgomery family boat on the Nile, and on the palazzo at the Grand Canal in Venice. He just kept the replica of the reporter’s obvious identity. Pointing to a photo of the 22,000ft Everest camp he arrived in, he said, “That wasn’t a bad news, was it?”

I would not use the word ‘sexual change’ for what happened to me; I interfered with each other. I’m everyone else now Jan Morris

When I returned from the same day in Wales, I filled in the gaps in Morris’s books that I had never read and, in closing, listened to the words I had. This included his long history of the British Empire, Pax Britannica, and Conundrum, a story that began with his understanding at the age of “three or four … that I was born with the wrong body, and should be a girl” and ended with several years of diet and rehabilitation surgery. men or women in Casablanca in 1972.

Of all the dangerous journeys he had ever made in his life, the trip seemed to be unpleasant for him when we met, even though he fixed what I said the other time. “I have to say I can’t use the word change, like ‘sex change,’ in my experience. I haven’t changed sex; I’ve intervened with each other. I’m a little bit different now.

One of the things they called her “at-one-ment” was that she and Elizabeth divorced, even though they continued to live together and live with their children. Afterwards, Jan and Elizabeth reaffirmed their commitment to a public service ceremony in Pwllheli in 2008, and were spotted by a couple who invited them to their home later.

The alliance will continue. When we met, Morris described how he had a small island on the Dwyfor River, which runs along his property. When the time came, their ashes were scattered together, and the place had a headstone – currently in a cupboard under the stairs – reading: “Here are two friends, at the end of one life”.

The idea of ​​eternal rest did not please Morris’ spirit. In one sense, he decided to compare himself to the death of 19th-century governor Jack Fisher; and in his best-known book, about the city of Trieste, he painted an eternity beneath his seaside house that sounded perfect. “Most of the time after that, I used to walk with my girlfriend on the shores of Dwyfor: but here and there you can find me in a boat under the Miramar walls, watching the night regimes.”

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