Tilly, The Laughing Housewife teased us with a pun the other day:
I’ve planted a riding whip.
I’m hoping for a nice crop.
It was the second mention of a whip in recent days, so I decided it was a sign.
A sign to tell you a little story…..
I tease Brian that I knew him since he was wearing short trousers & knee socks. Not quite, but he was in his final year at school when we met at a newly formed Musical & Dramatic Society. We encouraged young school leavers to join, it gave them an interest, a way to mix and interact with adults of a wide variety of ages, to discover new talents and most important – kept them off the streets.
You may not have met Brian before, but you have certainly heard of him. He was the young man who conferred the title Grannymar on me way back in my late twenties. It was a joke to begin with, but everyone in the society latched on to using it, so it stuck. With time it became very much part of me.
Was he being disrespectful? Not a bit. With four brothers & a younger sister, I was well used to the nicknames they had for me!
Brian, now a retired Legal Eagle, spends his time between his homes in Dublin and Spain. All down the years he kept in touch, even if it was a post card from some exotic far flung shore.
One particular post card stands out. A very young Elly (just learning to read), ran to discover what caused the letterbox to rattle. She lived in hope that it might be another letter from her Nana, or a surprise from one of her relations far away.
On this particular occasion it was a Post Card addressed to Grannymar, at my address.
“It’s from Brian!” I was informed.
“It says: I am now an im pe cu nious Barrister. What is im•pe•cu•nious?” asked Elly.
“It means he has no money!” I said.
“Huh! Impecunious…. on Holiday in Ibiza?” Threw back miss Elly. *
Anyways…… the card was placed on the counter and off she went to play.
Right. Where was I? Oh yes, back to the Whip!.
I had a call from Brian the other morning while I was pottering around the house. He was walking back to his Dublin home after leaving his car in for a service. You see the world around you from a different perspective when on two feet, instead of behind the wheel.
Although it was a road he knew well and travelled almost daily when at home, he noticed something outside a house that made him think of me, So he phoned. I’ll keep you guessing for the moment, as it might provide an opportunity for a blog post at a future date.
I did ask if he had taken a photo, but no, he was more interested in sharing what he found, than taking pixtures!
“Anyway, I wouldn’t really like to without permission.” Says he.
“Then you should do what I do, and knock on the door and ask permission. You never know you might be invited in for tea and curranty cake. It might even lead to inspiration for your next novel.” I suggested.
“Did I ever tell you I did that at Bram Stoker’s house?”
Apparently not, so I emailed a link to the piece I wrote about Bram Stoker’s house.
Later that day he replied to my mail:
Excellent… but one could expect no more. Russian jewels bit amazing… imagine us giving a loan to Russia at that time… when some people did not have their breakfast.. should we not remind them of that now?!
I remember when we needed the bull whip for Kiss Me Kate – you told us you walked into Callaghan’s, then in Dame St and said to the men there:
I have a problem and wonder if any of you gentlemen could help me?
I need a whip!
The rest is history – we got the whip – beautiful worked in plaited leather and it was there for all the rehearsals and the show – essential for rehearsal to get familiarity with its use.
You have not lost your touch.
So there you go. I was a brazen hussy back then.
Callaghan’s, then in Dame St in Dublin were Theatrical Outfitters. I managed to talk my way out of the shop, with as we say in Dublin: the lend of a loan of a bull whip, for the duration of rehearsals and the Show run, without having to pay a rental fee!
Do you think I have changed?
The moral of the story is: if you want something, just ask. The worst that anyone can say is NO! It does help if you ask nicely!
I spent quite some time trying to find a video clip of the Finale Act 1 of Kiss me Kate, to let you see the bull whip in action, but alas, I could not find a descent version.
* In our house the ‘no biscuits rule’ was set in place as soon as we thought of booking a holiday. Well, we all need to save our pocket money for our holidays. Right? ‘No biscuits’ actually applied to bought biscuits/cookies and sweets. I still filled the tins with home made cake and cookies.
I actually got away with that one…. For YEARS!