Saturday Morning Thoughts of Margaret Atwood, Sheep, Henry Cooper and Lady Penelope

I can’t help it, every time I see a photo of Margaret Atwood these days I think of a sheep. She would be a true wolf in sheep’s clothing I think. Certainly not someone I should like to cross swords with. She intimidates me even from the dusty ink of today’s Guardian front page. Not that I like to cross swords anyway. I got my bronze in fencing and then gave up. It was so hot behind the mask, in the padded jacket with the melamine cereal bowls to protect my chest.
I liked the elegance of fencing, the footwork, the terms, the feel of the foil in my hand, but I realised early on I did not have the killer instinct.
Nicola Adams has been single handedly responsible for a take up in women’s boxing of more than 70%. It must get hot in that protective headgear too. Her smiling face is such a contrast with the images of Henry Cooper I carry in my head: his eyes slits in a bruised mass, his nose issuing blood. But of course that was the whole masculine trip of it I suppose, and why he got the work advertising Fabergé’s Brut.

I worked as a Saturday girl in Boots when I was at school. For eighteen months I was on the men’s counter selling razors, after shave and so on. The number of boys and men who took Henry’s advice and splashed themselves liberally with the testers of Brut made our eyes water. We got our revenge demonstrating how the new razors worked, ejecting the blades so they flew into the air like missiles in an episode of that programme with the puppets whose name I can’t remember. Lady Penelope was in it, and she had a chauffeur called Parker. Planes flew out of mountains to protect the world from more menacing puppets.
I didn’t watch it much, so I am hazy on the details. If I have a second cup of coffee, the name may just come back to me.


12 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Thoughts of Margaret Atwood, Sheep, Henry Cooper and Lady Penelope

  1. Thunderbirds. How can you forget Thunderbirds? Maybe it was a boy thing. I love the lines about “melamine cereal bowls” and “to protect the world from more menacing puppets”.

      • I had one fencing lesson when I was in the Scouts. A few of us were taken into town. However, after all that, the requisite qualified person wasn’t there so all they would let us new people do was lunge at gloves against the wall. It wasn’t a thrilling night. I don’t even remember any protective equipment, but then I guess fighting against the wall was probably as safe as it gets.

        • So long as the button remained on the end of your foil you were probably fine! I seem to remember an episode of the Avengers where Emma Peel was involved in a fencing bout that was less than friendly. She was one of my childhood heroines, so that may have influenced my choice of sport…

    • I don’t think I was ever really into puppets once I started school. I watched Andy Pandy, and I loved Rag, Tag and Bobtail. I think they were puppets. Richard Baker always made me think of the hedgehog one.

  2. I liked Virgil. My mother, bless her, had a thing for the *dad* !! How weird is that! 🙂

    With you on the lack of aggressive streak Isobel. I hate to watch fighting of any sort and can’t understand anyone wanting to hurt anyone else so the whole ethos of women boxers is beyond me. :-/

    • Boxing is supposed to a be an excellent sport for all round fitness I understand. But I should be too scared I suspect!
      I had forgotten Virgil. Not sure to amek of your mum’s attraction… 🙂

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