George Sand has always been a very romantic figure in my imagination. Ever since I was at my boarding school in Ealing, when Mother Mary Dominic swore me to secrecy not to let the other nuns know that I knew, she divulged that Chopin’s lover, that very wicked woman, had actually been a pupil at the school.
Oh the shame of it. A woman who wore trousers, a woman who had extramarital relationships, a woman who wrote trashy novels – all these attributes were the product of the English canonesses at Neuilly.
I think MM Dominic was secretly proud. And I kept her secret within the school for many years. But I was always fascinated by the character and the woman.
So now, as soon as we arrived in Valldemosa where she spent several celibate months with Chopin, we had to make the little pilgrimage to the monastery where they lived.
This cell is a place of pilgrimage for many Chopin lovers – and especially those with a Polish background. I haven’t heard so much Polish spoken in weeks!