When I was Duncan I knew Her Ladyship Annica Van Heusden. She is dying now. I just read Ekaterina's memories and have been thinking about her the last few days after hearing she was in hospital.
Annica made My Lady's wedding dress oh so many years ago. I remember going with My Lady to the fittings when Annica lived at Father Chris' in what could barely be described as a basement suite. I saw some of her legendary hand-stitching which, legend goes, was once marked down in a costume contest because the judge thought it was machine stitching. "Too perfect to be hand-stitched" or some nonsense.
We all thought she should have been a Laurel. We all begged her to go off-island as that was (perhaps still is) the "only way to become a peer". I wonder if any of us who told her that she should go ever bothered to write recommendations? Another in the long list of people I should have written to TRM's about. Only the first in a long line of people I have seen denied recognition because they choose not to travel.
I remember her wicked sense of humour. Sarcastic, dry and often insightful. She always seemed to me to be a very genuine laugher. When she laughed you knew she was happy to her core and it just bubbled out in a snort and a broad smile.
I always coveted her book Daily life in Holland 1566 which was the first time I saw a different kind of living history. A kind of living history that was about bringing the real past to life (in this case in the form of paintings) as opposed to a fancy-dress-camping-party. I always thought Annica was authentic but never an "Authenticity-Nazi". She was always willing to show anyone (even me) how to sew or share her knowledge. She was so proud of that book and it represented a huge financial investment for her back then but she actually let me borrow it for a short time. I will probably get a secondhand copy someday and always remember her when I look at it.
Duncan Macquarrie (now Edward)