Jennie Henderson

Current location

Oxford, Oxfordshire, South East, England, United Kingdom

Personal recollection (General public)

Iris Murdoch

General Recollections and Thoughts

I met Iris Murdoch some time between 1995 and 1996 when I ran the private practice for Martin Burton the ENT surgeon. She had an appointment and came with her husband John Bayley.  Iris was frail and pale. I can’t remember what she said but she smiled as she shook my hand and was friendly. John Bayley was gentle and protective, and he did most of the talking. Iris seemed quiet and vulnerable. Suffering, though possibly not yet officially diagnosed, with Alzheimer’s.  They were both somewhat dishevelled, endearlingly disinterested in the trivial matter of their appearance.  I remember feeling enormously moved by this meeting, and excited, as I had always admired her. 

No-one in the waiting room seemed to notice them. Strange for me to see their ordinariness of what to me was two extraordinary people!

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