At 17 Ponckle met and fell in love with well-known jazz pianist and arranger Ken Moule, who renamed her ‘Ponckle’ and asked her to marry him. He also recorded a song in her honour, Son of Ponckle, in 1956. Ponckle kept her new name for the rest of her life, eventually changing it by deed poll. This choice of an unusual name was to signal the beginning of a very unusual life, in which Ken would only go on to play a small part.

Marrying Ken allowed Ponckle to move out of the family home in Chingford and into a basement flat in Hampstead, which Ponckle decorated in her unusual style, mixing up antiques with gipsy fabrics and Middle Eastern knick-knacks. Through her new husband, Ponckle moved into the London jazz scene of the 1950s, meeting such luminaries as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. She became close friends with Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine, with whom her husband worked as an arranger.

However, even this stimulating environment was not enough for Ponckle, and she sought new adventures of her own by joining the Katherine Dunham Dance Company as a stylist. This job took her to Paris, where she settled for a few years, her constant restlessness eventually leading to divorce from Ken Moule. Ponckle travelled around France and Europe with the Company, gaining a passion for good food, foreign lands and exotic lovers.

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