STRANGERS IN CHAOTUNG
by Winifred Tovey with sections and letters by Frank Tovey
Winnie Hill grew up in Bedford, living in her grandparents’ house like so many other children who had lost their fathers in the First World War.
The household routine, with a limited budget, no electricity, and no heating apart from the copper on Fridays; the discipline of schoolwork, and the duty of helping in her mother’s grocery store, were as restricting as they were comforting. But Winnie loved music and enjoyed the freedom of holidays on Uncle Charles’ farm, and this fired her imagination and widened her horizons.
As a young woman her interest in foreign lands was inspired through magic lantern illustrated talks, and she dreamed of going to Tibet. But she did not get to Tibet.
Instead, a whirlwind marriage to Frank in 1947 took her on a journey to work in the remote province of Yunnan in south west China.
The unique and fascinating story of the time that Winnie and Frank spent in China is told through their letters to relatives back home.
It is a story of courage and initiative, naivety and wisdom, of cheerfulness during difficult times, and of emotional strength when they had to separately flee China to escape the dangers of the communist rebellion.
When you’ve read this story you are sure to want to read Cor Blimey! Where ‘ave you come from?