Ann Lindsay was brought up in a remote rural area of Aberdeenshire in the North East of Scotland, rigorously educated in the Scottish tradition and then, aged a tender 18, found herself jettisoned into the hot houses of Haute Couture in Paris and London.
She trained in the school dedicated to the world of Haute Couture, Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, before crossing the Channel to work in London for the Royal couturier, Hardy Amies.
A couple of years later, realisation dawned that success as a truly great fashion designer was quite beyond her talents. The swinging 60s was replacing the elegance of the Haute Couture catwalk. Her interest in the fashion industry was waning, so she made what she imagined was the wise and truly sensible decision to become a secretary.
In her lunch hour she hurried up to a nearby college to enrol, but within the entrance hall was diverted by a sub editor from the Daily Mirror who persuaded her she might be better to try a course in journalism. She promptly signed up, time being limited and returning to work late after lunch viewed as a heinous crime. After completing a baptism of clattering typewriters and shorthand, she survived her first interview, extracting interesting quotes from bewildered kitchen staff at the Savoy about how they found cooking on sewer gas ( possibly true?). She then boomeranged back into the world of clothes, working as a fashion journalist in London.
Diverting into general feature writing, she covered anything from ancient methods of catching eels to the drama of domestic trivia, was sent off to pen many political profiles, and dreamt up several series of ‘making something from nothing’ for women’s magazines, otherwise referred to as ‘the knit your own Royal family’ publications. She searched out walks for kids all round Scotland, ate her way round dozens of cafes and restaurants, and penned her opinions. She gently extracted heartrending tales from folk who spent their childhoods in orphanages, as well as refugees from over 20 countries who arrived with almost nothing. She taught herself to identify plants by wandering around her garden matching up illustrations from a gardening encyclopedia, and then with the over confidence of the newly impassioned, wrote a book about gardening. She gathered lesser known Scottish traditions, drifting into organising a ‘Scottish ‘wedding extravaganza’ in the USA accompanied by such items as 20 giant boxes of dried heather hand picked by her press ganged family from an anonymous glen; and sourced many kilos of red deer antlers for decorations, their awkward shapes packed successfully into wooden boxes constructed by a wholesale coffin maker.
She has much indulged her curiosity about Scotland’s ruins and secret places. All this has resulted in some quick thinking when straying into private land, many hours of cold numb fingers and toes, a plethora of articles and several books.
She reckons a couple of the greatest modern day bonuses are Wellington boots with thermal socks, with lipstick a close second. Her motto might be ‘never do anything domestic which a machine can do for you’, possibly an on going challenge, viewing her kitchen.
She has brought up three sons, lives in Perthshire, Scotland and still writes, her attention all too easily straying when she glimpses her garden and unruly pets, both of which will definitely be under control next year, or the year after.... perhaps.