Norma's roots

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Early Days

Early travel may have whetted Norma’s appetite. Part of her childhood was spent in Portugal.

With her parents, she sailed on the Queen Mary’s last peacetime voyage before WW2 from New York to Southampton. [See left picture]


Norma is the only pre war passenger to appear in the documentary ‘Floating Palaces’ , aired on USA’s Discovery channel. The following year her family sent her  back to North America to avoid the wartime perils. In 1943, after returning to UK as a teenager, she wrote a vivid account of the trip home on the Portuguese ship ‘Serpa Pinto’ and the subsequent flight from Lisbon to Bristol, delayed by the loss of film actor Leslie Howard on the same route. Retracing the voyage via Bermuda and the Azores, recently, has proved fascinating. 


Picture right is Norma in her original career  as a Home Service Adviser with NW Gas Board, ground breaking stuff, long before the days of celebrity chefs.

The first fifteen years of her married life were spent in West Africa where her only son was born. ‘Bush whacking’ for days at a time in a ten ton lorry [see left], laden with up to £100,000 in shillings for produce buying was a further adventure, often dogged by malaria and dengue fever.



The Scottish Connection

Of the Grieve family, Norma has had close ties to Scotland all her life. She trained initially in Home Economics in Edinburgh and maintains a base at her great grandmother’s cottage in a village on the north east coast, where she recently compered the annual Fish Festival.

She was also the first woman judge on the panel of the Edinburgh Cartoon Festival. [See pic left]. She was on the judging panel with Sir Anthony Wheeler, then president of Royal Scottish Academy and Timothy Clifford Esq, then Director-General  National Galleries of Scotland.’

Last modified: 09/08/12