Claire Rayner died yesterday. She was a remarkable woman: a fantastic campaigner for the NHS, a brilliant voice of common sense and also a woman of good humour and love. I’m of such an age, that she has always seemed to be in my life.
The tributes call her an agony aunt and that seems to me a rather limited description of her talents. My abiding memory of Claire will always be a book she wrote for children. The Body Book. An engaging work about how the body works. Digestion. The skeleton. The brain. She covered everything. And tucked away, because it’s as natural as anything, a few pages talking about sex. And, as I recall, it was a brilliantly simple description of bonking. Of course, it was intriguing to the average six year old, but it was neither taboo or dirty thanks to Claire Rayner’s direct and natural style.
I don’t have copy to hand, so I apologise if I have the quotation wrong. But she called straight sex “a special baby making hug.” That strikes me as a rather lovely way of putting it. Farewell Claire Rayner.