IN 1977 Margaret Wood took a job as companion to the then 90-year-old artist Georgia O’Keeffe. For the next five years Wood made O’Keeffe’s meals and helped entertain guests who travelled to Ghost Ranch, O’Keeffe’s home in New Mexico (Joni Mitchell turned up one night; O’Keeffe liked Mitchell but not her music).

Every evening Wood would accompany the artist on a walk on the “dry, soft, red earth” of the desert. “We would look in the sky for ravens and listen for coyotes,” Wood recalled in Andrew McGibbon’s impressionistic, if rather slight documentary I Was Georgia O’Keeffe’s Five-Year Companion on Radio 4 last Monday afternoon. “It was a beautiful walk in the quiet stillness of the New Mexico evening.”

At its best the programme was all quiet stillness too, though sometimes it felt like the makers didn’t think that was enough. They would often shoehorn in songs that weren’t really relevant just to gee up the ambience (the Bee Gees’ Staying Alive most notably).

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Still, there was something about this half-hour sound portrait. It was more of an atmosphere than a documentary. Perhaps because there wasn’t much to say. Wood’s relationship with O’Keeffe was very much governed by the older woman, but it doesn’t appear that Wood found the situation difficult. They rubbed along agreeably. even when O’Keeffe called her “little girl” or “Mary,” the name of the artist’s previous companion.

After five years Wood moved on and three years later O’Keeffe died at the age of 98, ending one of the great stories of 20th-century art. This programme was a footnote to that story, but a sweet one. A little moment in time at the end of one life and in the early stages of another. It was enough just to spend some time in their company.

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