Winifred Vere Hodgson was born in 1901 in Edgbaston, Birmingham, where her widowed mother ran the family home as a boarding house. Vere, named after an uncle who was the marine biologist on Captain Scott’s ship, read History at Birmingham University, taught first at the Poggio Imperiale, the former Summer Palace of the grand dukes of Tuscany which had been turned into a ‘rather select girls’ school’ (Mussolini’s daughter was a pupil), and later on at a school in Folkestone. From the early 1930s she helped to run a local charity in Notting Hill Gate. Vere kept a diary from girlhood onwards and in 1976 edited her 1940-45 diaries for publication as Few Eggs and No Oranges. After her retirement she went to live in the village of Church Stretton in Shropshire, where she died in 1979.