Memoir writing for The Telegraph about family, loss, and retrieving an amateur oil painting of my great-aunt

My mother and grandfather near Lustleigh, UK, in the late 1970s.

“I hoisted myself up onto the granite and turned around slowly until I found them. It was probably the last time I will ever see them there. They were waving, and I waved back. It is an image I can hold in my mind.”

I was recently given the green light by The Telegraph (UK) to write for them about a rather unusual family holiday I took with my parents in 2022. We reunited after two years apart to travel together to Dartmoor, where some of my mother’s family still live, to retrieve an amateur oil painting of my great-aunt that was on the cusp of being thrown on a bonfire.

It was a thought-provoking trip that prompted a lot of personal reflection around holding onto family, holding onto objects, and coming to terms with grief and loss. As a piece of writing, I’m quite proud of it: it commemorates part of my family and also details a somewhat curious and frequently entertaining travel experience.

Dartmoor, 2022.

The print version of the article was published in the March 18 edition of The Telegraph and is also available online here.

As for further images that help illustrate the story, you can find a handful below. Dartmoor is wonderfully scenic – and my great-aunt’s portrait is very heavy!

‘Hanging out’ with my great-aunt.
Rocks at Haytor, Dartmoor.
Dartmoor countryside.
With my mother in Dartmoor, 2022.
A segment of the article.