Thursday 6th October 2011
The correspondence to Betty McNally features in The Wainwright Letters, edited by the veteran Lakes writer Hunter Davies.
They show a tender side to the former Blackburn Council accountant and Kendal Borough treasurer, who often came across as a curmudgeonly.
More than 340 letters to various people are reproduced in the book, including 44 written to Betty between 1965 and 1967, when their relationship first blossomed.
In an early letter, Wainwright, who was still married to his first wife Ruth at the time, wrote: “Yesterday was the most wonderful day ever, and although 24 hours have gone by since we kissed goodnight I am still utterly under the spell . . .”
And in another he declares: “The days I spend with you are the happiest I have ever known.
"They are, to me, like days on parole from prison; days in the sunshine after long confinement in the darkness . . .”
Wainwright, who died in 1991, also described in a letter to Betty how he cried while watching The Sound of Music at the cinema.
In October 1965, he wrote how he had felt ‘wretched’ and ‘desperately lonely’ bcause they were apart, adding: “I thought of you all day with such tenderness that I felt I was melting away . . .”
The Wainwright Letters includes correspondence from Wainwright’s early years in 1930s Blackburn to the days of his fame as the celebrated guide author in Kendal.
Link to full story here.
* The Wainwright Letters by Hunter Davies is published by Frances Lincoln and priced at £20.