Subscribe to my feed...

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Valerie, please...

From Alan Bennett's Writing Home:

As a boy, I sometimes went out on the bike delivering orders to customers, one of whom was a Mrs. Fletcher. Mrs. Fletcher had a daughter, Valerie, who went away to school then to London, where she got a job with a publishing firm. She did well in the firm, becoming assistant to one of the directors, whom, though he was much older than she was, she eventually married. The firm was Faber and Faber, and the director was T.S. Eliot....

A few years later, when my dad had sold the shop but we were still living in Leeds, my mother came in one day and said , "I ran into Mrs. Fletcher down the road. She wasn't with Mr. Fletcher; she was with another feller - tall, elderly, very refined looking. She introduced me, and we passed the the time of day." And it wasn't until some time later that I realised that , without it being one of the most momentous encounters in western literature, my mother had met T.S. Eliot. I tried to explain to her the significance of the great poet, but without much success, The Waste Land not figuring very largely in Mam's scheme of things.

"The thing is," I said finally, "he won the Nobel Prize."

"Well," she said, with that unerring grasp of inessentials which is the prerogative of mothers, "I'm not surprised. It was a beautiful overcoat."

It never could work out....

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

click here to hear our regular Bobcasts!!

Subscribe to The Robert Swipe Show

© 2006 Swipe Enterprises


  1. Yeah. Anyway, seeing as you only come round mine to complain about the sidebar these days, I thought I'd better tell you that The Little Miss Princesster is now The Konichister.

  2. "seeing as you only come round mine to complain about the sidebar these days"

    You mean there's something more interesting to complain about than the sidebar???

    I'm over there......

  3. Excellent Robert. You have inspired me to dig out my Henry Miller story.

  4. Your dad had a shop in Leeds. We never had shop when I was a lad! Faber and Faber. Used to love their poetry books.

  5. No, Alan Bennett's Dad did.

    Mine was always in the Pub.

    (He didn't own it, btw - although if he'd had shares....)

  6. "unerring grasp of inessentials"


  7. This begs the question what did your mother think the Nobel Prize was. I'm pertty sure mine wouldn't have had a clue