“So Mary Phelps made the blueprint for one of the most successful items of clothing ever invented. She called her maid to bring her two hankies, some ribbon and a needle and thread …and voila! The over-the-shoulder boulder holder was born.”
Gemma Aldridge (email@example.com)
It is an ‘In the bleak midwinter’ kind of Sunday in our corner of the Shire. The chill factor is up, the pathways are paved with ice and the rooftops are laced with lingering snow.
Olde Upton on Severn may be known for its literary association with Henry Fielding’s bawdy 18th century romp ‘The History of Tom Jones’ (a scene is set in The White Lion Hotel – ‘a house of exceedingly good repute’) but today there is more of a Dickensian film-set feel about the place.
It is, therefore, somewhat ironic that the annual Frost Fair and Wassailing at Clive’s Fruit Farm has been postponed until next week, due to icy conditions!
I’ve just returned from a brisk trek into town, to pick up the papers, my usual ‘Sunday Observer’ with a copy of the ‘Sunday Mirror’ tucked inside – discretely hidden from public view. Pure snobbery I know, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone!
I even felt the need to justify this deviation, from my normal Sunday reading habits, with the lady in the shop. Well, actually it was more an opportunity to exercise parental bragging rights. Because today, daughter number two, journalistic Gem, a graduate of the local Hanley Castle High School*, made her debut in the Mirror.
After two years making her mark as senior features writer at the weekly ‘Love It’ magazine, from a small office tucked above ‘Starbucks’ in old Holborn, she has been lured away to dizzier heights, the 22nd floor of 1 Canada Square – Canary Wharf.
It is a great career move and quite a nostalgic occasion for me. Sadly, I’m old enough to remember the ‘Sunday Mirror’ when it was under the ‘Sunday Pictorial’ banner (prior to re-branding 1963) and it was our Sabbath day paper of choice, during much of my youth.
Andy and his wife Flo were created by cartoonist Reg Smythe in 1957 to help boost ‘Mirror’ readership figures in the north. Smythe’s cartoon strip about the somewhat dysfunctional, bickering, but ultimately loving couple, was based around his own parents, and their working-class life up in Hartlepool.
Although Smythe died in 1998, and despite turning 55 last year, Andy continues to be a ‘Mirror’ ever present, and long may he continue.
My old Mum, who used to knock off ‘the Mirror’ crossword as part of her daily routine would have been so proud to see her granddaughter’s by-line above today’s centre-page spread,‘100 Years of The Bra’ – ‘from 2 hankies and a ribbon to Katy’s cupcakes…’
It’s an altogether uplifting centenary celebration and just my cup of tea – a 36D cup that would be!
And as is if the sight of everyone from Marilyn, through Raquel Welch, Madonna, and Eva Herzigova, to Kelly Brook, bursting out of their lacy, racy bras were not enough, to raise my somnolent Sunday spirits, there’s even a decent length report on yesterday’s East Midlands derby – ‘Chris Bliss – Cohen strikes after tough week at Forest’ – but more of the Championship ‘match of the day’ in a post to follow…
I seem to remember a 70’s advertising slogan, ‘If you really want to know look in The Mirror’. I guess I’ll be taking them up on that from here on in – well at least on a Sunday!
It features in ‘Right Ho Jeeves’, as Market Snodsbury Grammar School – attended by Bertie Wooster. There is an accurately drawn description of the old school hall (now a library). ‘Plum’ had an aunt who was wife to the vicar at Hanley Castle Church – just 60 metres from the school.
A more recent alumnus of ‘HCHS’ is celebrated author David Mitchell whose novel ‘Cloud Atlas’ was short-listed for the 2004 Booker Prize, now a recently released movie starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant.
Life in, 1982, Hanley Castle, provided the inspiration and setting for his follow-up novel ‘Black Swan Green’ – ‘the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire.’