The New Yorker: Ophelia Dahl's National Health Service
Partners in Health wants to rebuild entire countries' medical systems, and bring health care to some of the poorest people on earth.
In many ways, life in Great Missenden was idyllic, bucolic, sweet. The author Roald Dahl and the movie star Patricia Neal called their cottage there, in the rolling English countryside of Buckinghamshire, Gipsy House, because they’d parked a bright-blue caravan in the garden for their four children to play in, and because there was a freewheeling spirit to the place. A dozen people might show up for dinner on any given night; Neal would frequently be on her way to the United States to shoot a film; Dahl wrote his famous children’s books in a little hut—his “nest”—at the edge of the garden, surrounded by the roses and rhododendrons he liked to tend. “It was a very unmanufactured garden—very cobbled together, not unlike the house,” Ophelia Dahl, the second-youngest of the siblings, recalled recently. “I remember Dad in the garden all the time. In the summer, he’d be standing there in the evening with a whiskey-and-soda. I remember sipping it, and saying, ‘Oh, God, this is a horrible taste!’ He told me, ‘I don’t drink it for the taste. I drink it for the nice whizzly feeling it gives you.’ ”
There was a small orchard on the property, and Dahl taught Ophelia to drive there when she was only eleven years old. Like Dahl’s child hero in “Danny, the Champion of the World”—who lived with his widowed father in a Gypsy caravan, and started driving when he was nine—Ophelia was a brave and competent child, who soon took to driving around the village. “I often chose my friends for their moms, these warm, interesting moms, and I would drive over to these people’s houses, and, even if my friend wasn’t there, I’d stop in for a cup of tea and a chat.” The next day, she’d drive to another house, making her rounds.
Read the rest of the feature here: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/18/ophelia-dahls-national-he…