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The original Foxy Lady: My cousin Kathy comes home to the flat she shared with Jimi Hendrix

Julie Etchingham with her cousin Kathy, who returns to the flat she shared with her boyfriend Jimi Hendrix more than 40 years ago. Credit: ITV News

I remember the chords coming out of my then-teenage brother's bedroom.

The - Wind - cries - Mary. Drang, Drang, Drang.

I suspect a few of the other Etchingham boys in our extended family were playing a similar soundtrack.

It wasn't just because Jimi Hendrix was a guitar legend.

It was because there was a pretty cool family connection. Our second cousin Kathy (my Dad's cousin, whom none of us had actually met as kids) had been Jimi Hendrix's girlfriend, sharing a flat, his ascent to world fame, and his iconic place in the Sixties.

We'd heard the music, and seen some pictures. She looked pretty amazing.

Kathy Etchingham with Jimi in the flat that they shared in 1968. Credit: Alamy

Our paths have crossed briefly over the years, but this week came the chance to finally sit down with Kathy, now in her 70s, cheekbones as sharp as ever.

We met in the flat she shared with Hendrix, about to be opened to the public.

What a joy it was to talk. What a bizarre family reunion, albeit brief before she heads home to Australia, comparing family notes and then getting down to the real stuff.

The couple lived together at 23 Brook Street in Mayfair which is now opening as a museum. Credit: PA

Kathy met Hendrix just after he'd landed in London in 1968, at midnight in the Scotch Club - and it sounds as though he fell for her at first sight. But if she hadn't helped him cross the road on the way home, he might have been lost to history before he'd even got going.

We left together and we walked up towards Fortnum and Mason towards Piccadilly which in those days was two-way and Jimi stepped out in front of a taxi looking the other way - I got him by the back of his jacket just in time, the wing mirror went whoosh across his chest!

– Kathy Etchingham, former girlfriend of Jimi Hendrix
Hendrix and Kathy went to John Lewis to furnish their flat. Credit: ITV News

She talked about how they furnished the flat together, including not very rock'n'roll trips to John Lewis - how he was besotted with her, how they regularly had to replace the cones in the loud speakers when they blew time after time. He loved Coronation Street and watching David Frost. George Harrison was one of many famous names to come to visit.

And she talked about how she became an inspiration for some of his best loved songs.

Hendrix wrote his track 'The Wind Cries Mary' after a row with Kathy over her cooking. Credit: Barrie Wentzell, courtesy of Handel & Hendrix in London

She is the original Foxy Lady - and the woman behind The Wind Cries Mary (her middle name) - which he wrote after they had a row. About her lumpy mashed potatoes. She was having none of it, chucked the plate on the floor and marched out, legend or no legend.

It's so strange to come face to face with family in such extraordinary circumstances, but it does make you appreciate how strong those ties can suddenly feel out of the blue.

Kathy Etchingham revealed Hendrix's love of Coronation Street. Credit: ITV News

A little bit of news making in the family, a little peek into a woman who has a place in history. We had a real giggle, sitting on the end of the bed in the room they'd shared. It was great to see Kathy come home.

And there will probably be a few more Etchinghams watching News at Ten tonight as a result.