Jim Bailey, son of millionaire mining magnate Abe Bailey, achieved renown as a WW2 hero, author and proprietor of DRUM magazine. In 1950, Barbara, then a girl of 12, met the dashing 23-year old Jim at his sister's house in Illovo. That night she wrote in her diary: I have met the most beautiful person and I am going to marry him. This is the marriage charted here, in diary entries spanning 50 years. Barbara's story is funny, whimsical and sad in turn. We get to know Barbara intimately, along with her eccentric family (she is artist Beezy and restaurateur Prospero's mother) and her wide coterie of famous and fabulous friends. The cast includes such luminaries as Yehudi Menuhin, Bruce Chatwin, the Oppenheimers, Orson Welles, Helen Suzman, Thomas Packenhan, James Fox, Linda Chalker and Dame Margot Fonteyn. Barbara chronicles the course of her first marriage, to Jeremy Taylor, and her subsequent liaison with her true love, Jim. Jim Baily, who was not above attending SAAN board meetings in his bare feet, was probably one of the only true South African eccentrics. Their life together was not only full of music and laughter and hunting parties; it also contained profound sadness.Their son Bundy was killed in a car crash, and Barbara writes movingly about losing a child.
The diary ends with her nursing Jim as he lay dying.