This is an image that was scanned into my computer and modified in PhotoStudio with a Sphere effect, which views the subject as if the observer were standing at the foot of a towering cliff looking upwards. It was taken from a pencil sketch I made on a day’s outing with Fiona Johnson to Hampstead Heath with a visit to Kenwood House viewing the paintings and then the cafeteria for refreshments.
Fiona is a very good friend that I’ve known for many years, more than forty in fact. We’ve had some enjoyable days out from time to time with visits to places of interest such as Kew Gardens and various cultural indoor events, including theatre and music venues. Although I’ve not actually seen her for quite some years now, we’ve kept in touch occasionally by card and phone and more recently by email.
Originally named Fiona Caswell, she was married to John Johnson in the early 1970s and was Rafael Borzym’s partner from the mid 1990s. John and Raf have both been very good, long-standing friends of mine since I met them in 1967.
Fiona and John had a songwriting partnership, with Fiona providing most of the lyrics and some musical arrangement to John’s compositions and they produced some very good songs together which have been professionally recorded.
I believe John has some of the songs on his website at www.starsongs.co.uk.
In her style of writing, Fiona can spin an ingeniously humorous turn of phrase without ever straying into the realms of impropriety. She could write the rhyming couplets for Rupert Bear or Beatrix Potter’s Flopsy Bunnies without turning a hair.
Sadly Raf was very ill for some time and passed away a few years back. Born in Poland he moved to this country while quite young speaking both Polish and English fluently, although his mother said he spoke Polish with an English accent, while I thought he spoke English with a quaint Slavonic lilt.
Fiona and Raf had an interest in antique dealing for a while, although Raf’s most recent professional venture was travelling down the motorway at a dreadfully indecent hour to set up stall selling cameras. Although laid-back, Raf was knowledgeable and perceptive and revealed a particularly individual stance with both the written and spoken word. He also had an artistic talent and a quirky sense of humour, both of which he could put together effectively in cartoon form.
Before becoming self-employed, Fiona was a clerical worker involved with financial calculations for various business concerns. She was resident in South London and Croydon during the 1970s, moving to North London in the mid 1980s, and is now based in the Midlands.
Beneath the main featured image shown at the top of this page, I’ve included a slideshow containing four photos. Left to right, they are: ‘Sunshine Street Smile’, a section of a photo taken at Fiona’s Street Party in Hazelmere Road, North London, 1996 – ‘Misty in Kew’, a close-up view from the next photo along captioned, ‘Fiona Queues Amidst the Giant Rhubarb’ – and the title of the fourth view is, ‘In the shade of the Giant Redwood [Sequoi], a tree native to western North America. But Kew will plant and grow anything from anywhere. It’s like a botanical zoo, which is fortunate for all of those among us who’ve never visited exotic climes and wish to see the real McCoy in person.
Dave Draper, June 2014