Sunday, 23 March 2014

Two Fat Ladies, Ruby Wax and the 22 Doctors in the Village

For me, it was so sad that aged 66, Clarissa Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmerelda Dickson Wright died last week. Her last name was given to her in memory of her Fathers favourite pig – I had a momentary thought, oh what a wonderful idea... It’s said she had a dreadful childhood, a childhood that was characterised by domestic abuse and a father who was alcoholic. He was also surgeon to the Queen and the Royal Family.

She was called to the bar and was the youngest female barrister ever, but many of us remember her best as half of the very successful TV programme Two Fat Ladies. It was one of my favourites. Riding around the countryside on a motorbike and side car, Clarissa and her screen partner, Jennifer Patterson were irrepressibly and completely antipathetic in terms of political correctness. Clarissa was deliciously her own woman and accepted that life had its ups and downs. She made and lost a fortune due to her own choices and excesses. Who’s Who list her recreations as ‘hunting, shooting, fishing, food, rugby and men’. Enough said, RIP Clarissa.

Tuesday saw my stage debut with Ruby Wax. We were both sharing a stage at the START Mental Health is Everyone’s Business conference. In the splendour of Peel Hall at the University of Salford, the day was spent exploring mental health issues and what we all can do to maintain our own mental health and well-being. It was a great conference, albeit I was running on pure adrenaline due to a cold and cough. Ruby was full on and passionate about sharing her experiences of depression and how she uses mindfulness to keep her in a good place as far as her mental health and well-being is concerned.

My mental health and well-being is considerably enhanced by leaving Greater Manchester behind on a Friday and arriving at the House in Scotland. Last Friday it was good to arrive and to take a stroll down to the Anchor Hotel, where Sharon and Robert were on hand to offer a complimentary glass of wine to celebrate the re-opening of bars following being flooded in January this year. It was the perfect prelude to episode six of Student Nurses; Bedpans and Bandages (ITV, 20.00 Friday nights).

And yesterday I had the pleasure of sharing a glass of wine or two with Paddy. Paddy is the oldest person in the village, a lady in her nighties, and a lady with a distinct tinkle in her eyes. We were both at a house warming party – the average age was 60+. Now Paddy has lived in the village for over 40 years. When she first arrived there was a staggering 21 doctors living in the village and its surroundings. These days there are only 4 doctors (and one professor – me).

I'm not sure how many fashion designers there are in the village, but last week also saw the tragic death of L’Wren Scot. She died in New York, apparently ending her own life. L’Wren was someone who fiercely defended the goodness of her childhood upbringing. She was brought up by adoptive Mormon parents in Utah. She had been in a relationship with the Roiling Stone front man Mick Jagger for 13 years. Losing someone to suicide is in my experience, a hugely difficult thing to understand, especially for those who were close to the person. RIP L’Wren.