Tuesday, 17 April 2012
15/4/12 Titanic Day. In church today I suddenly started thinking about Lord Astor and his Airedale terrier, Kitty. I heard Jeanette Winterson's pieces about the Titanic on R4 last week, and towards the end she mentioned that Astor's pregnant teenage wife, confined to the lifeboat out on the freezing sea, saw her husband standing alone on the deck, and their terrier Kitty running up and down. It really upset me to hear this and I cried a lot. I never thought about the kennels on board. How ghastly! Apparently there were 12 dogs, but no cats, thank God. Two Pomeranians survived because their owners were first class passengers and were allowed to stuff them into their Astrakan coats and slip them unseen into the life boats. I have spent this afternoon trying to make some drawings, exactly as it appears in my mind, but it’s difficult as you have all the complications of the ship’s railing etc. I want something abstract but powerful, to convey the horrid comedy of the whole thing.