Harbury Green, Phone Boxes, Oxford Station, Christ Church Meadow, and ‘The British Restaurant’…
On December 7th, 1968 the night Stella thought was her last on earth before her major operation the next day – she was convinced she wouldn’t survive – she met Scott, guitarist with Narnia’s Children. She watched him perform on stage at the gig her best friend Vix has dragged her to. Vix was determined to give her friend one last happy, wonderful, magical night before she died.
Vix succeeded beyond her wildest hope.
Stella’s Diary Extracts:
Here’s a flavour of what to expect from Stella‘s diary…
On January 3rd, 1969 I’d made a solo trip to the phone box
I told no one. I wasn’t even sure I’d be brave enough to make the call. I certainly didn’t want Vix or Mum telling me gently that I was wasting my time.
I was sure they’d be able to hear my heart thudding at the end of the road as I closed the telephone box door behind me, piled my stash of sixpence and shillings on the shelf above the phone directory, and wiped my sweaty palms down my baggy black trousers…
Anyway, Scott and I talked. And laughed. And talked some more. About everything. Except Renza. Neither of us mentioned Renza…
We arranged to meet in Oxford on January 6th – when he said Narnia’s Children had their first couple of gig-free days since New Year, so he’d be around…
From Leighton Buzzard to Oxford Station
(Broke musician takes potential girlfriend on a dream date)
Scott and I met in Oxford today, January 6th. 1969
It was bitterly cold and the remaining Christmas snow had frozen solid. I didn’t notice the cold.
He met me from the early-afternoon Harbury Green train at Oxford railway station and was wearing a black coat over his sweater and jeans. I was in my fun fur, a pink velvet smock dress, and – by necessity – the baggy black Biba trousers tucked into my long pink boots.
We didn’t touch and we didn’t speak. We simply looked and looked and then smiled at each other. We were surrounded by noise and bustle, but no one else in the world existed.
I thought we were exactly like a 1960s version of Brief Encounter.
We walked away from the station, through Oxford, not looking at the glorious golden-stone architecture; oblivious to the cold, north-easterly wind, unaware of the shoppers or tourists or of anything but each other.
We stopped on Magdalen Bridge and watched the turgid grey river slowly wend its way beneath us towards the stark beauty of Christ Church Meadow.
We carried on and reached The Plain, Oxford’s famous roundabout, linking all the main city routes, with the gothic folly in the middle.
The British Restaurant
Stella and Scott decided they needed a warm drink later, and she suggested where to go.
Walking along into the narrow, scrubby gap between two long-established shops and untidy gravel path, heading towards the long rather dilapidated building, Scott followed Stella.
‘It used to be The British Restuarant in the war – they had them in every town – you know, government-funded, providing basic hot cooked meals, so that everyone got something decent to eat while rationing was on…the council took it over a few years back. It’s the cheapest place in Oxford. And the warmest.’
It was. Inside we were surrounded by other people, mostly old-age pensioners who’d also come in from the cold and who beamed at us kindly and whispered ‘ah bless…’ ‘love ’em…’ and ‘ooh look – hippies.’
Trying not to laugh, we queued at the counter and bought dark brown tea in thick white china cups and toasted currant buns. The transistor radio on the counter was playing The Foundations’ Build Me Up Buttercup’.
The Foundations. Build me up Buttercup. YouTube
More is revealed in Only One Woman co-written by Christina Jones and Jane Risdon
Listen to Jane’s fab interview on The Global The Authors Show and discover even more about Stella and Renza
The Authors Show podcast on Channel 6
The interview with Jane Risdon is aired 24/7 now and later in archives which can be accessed by following links to The Authors Show and to channel 6. Scroll to Jane Risdon and Only One Woman and you can hear the 15-minute interview any time. Jane also reads a chapter from Renza’s Diary July 1968.
Find out more about Only One Woman/Buy Only One Woman
Reviews from guys, gals, and musicians…
Reviewed in the United Kingdom. Verified Purchase.
Writing and blending the perspective of two voices is not an easy thing to do. In my mind, the only authors to pull this off (for me) are the husband and wife team, Nikki French.
…Jones and Risdon intertwine their protagonists with effortless charm, and I felt myself drawn to both characters quite unbiasedly. An additional pleasure was being transported through time back to the sixties- (and as all great writers do) they pulled off the ‘moment’ of the generation beautifully. I was truly part of the scene and felt the vibe and flavour of the swinging sixties voraciously throughout this stunning novel.
A definite five-star read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom. Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed “Only One Woman” by Jane Risdon and Christina Jones, particularly because it takes me back to the Swinging Sixties and my teenage days of bopping to the music of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Bee Gees, and all the other great groups of that time on the disco scene.
The book is cleverly co-written in diary form, the two central characters, Renza and Stella, each telling their stories about how they fall in love with the same guy. He’s called Scott, who happens to be drop-dead gorgeous and a guitarist in a pop group, Narnia’s Children. With both women from very different backgrounds and changes of locations, including Jersey and Germany, the story moves on apace and I found it impossible to favour either woman when it came to Scott’s ultimate choice. As the story builds, I just had to keep reading to find out. I enjoyed relating to the writers’ reminiscences of life for young women back then – from the foods we used to eat, to the fashions we wore, from family life to being at work.
Throughout the book, I found myself feeling very sorry for both storytellers, who, in effect, were being strung along by a selfish, crazy, mixed-up male struggling to make a choice between the two women in his life. But clearly, the story well illustrated the joys and pain of young romance in those bittersweet days of “free love”.
I would highly recommend this book as a trip down memory lane for women who were in their teens in the Sixties, and like me, followers of fashion, pop music, and eligible bachelors!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom. Verified Purchase
A lovely novel of the late 60s ..takes me back to those days of groups and me being an ex-drummer…very good description of gigs and the travelling involved, as well as the groupies
Reviewed in the United Kingdom. The Sixties are still a bit of a blur for me. That means I was there. And I have a lot of broken hearts to prove it – all mine. I was shot down so many times in those ten or so years that it’s a wonder I’m still here. All of which means I know something of the problems and the heartache that Only One Woman’s main protagonists Renza and Stella went through. But it wasn’t Scott I was after. Definitely not, believe me. It was Patricia and Hazel and Marie and Ann and Sybil and Melanie and… I can’t go on.
The two girls in Only One Woman tell of their crush on Scott in a way that can only mean that the authors of this wonderfully nostalgic and loving look at the Sixties were rapt witnesses to those amazing years. The people, the songs, the music, the styles – and most of all the attitudes. In one sense it didn’t matter too much to me which of these two girls ended up with Scott because far more important than that was the way that these two authors got right into the hearts of the lovestruck Renza and Stella.
Ah, the authors. First, Christina Jones. Apart from a scintillating career in writing which began when she was a mere child, she has done so many odd jobs – as well as odd jobs – that her life experience cannot be doubted. (Possibly the only work she didn’t do was captaining a North Sea oil rig, although I’m open to correction on that). And her co-author in this labour of love they have written is the incomparable Jane Risdon. Jane has been closely involved in so many fascinating experiences that she needs a separate wardrobe for all the T-shirts she has to vouch for it. Rock, Thrash Metal, Pop, R&B, Chinese Opera as well as movies, television, and radio worldwide. And now writing, which amazingly she only got into five years ago. Stunning. Both stunning people.
Thanks for reading and listening to Only One Woman – I hope you will come back again.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE.