Mildred and Mavis Ride Again

Two Slightly Dotty Ladies

Firstly I really ought to introduce us.  I should have written about us on the previous page but I forgot entirely.  Anyway, my name is Mavis and I live deep in the heart of southern England, quite close to Stonehenge, with my friend Mildred.  We are retired from the education industry both as teachers and managers.  Today you find us busy in several quite different activities; but what brings us together is Mildred’s love of knitting and my passion for baking.  The picture here is of a cake that a lovely young lady showed me how to bake last year.  I must say that it was absolutely scrumptious and did not last very long!  Mildred, who is a greedy piggy at times had three slices in one afternoon!  Then she could not eat her supper of course.  Sometimes I think she is more like a small boy than a grown woman!

We are very fortunate indeed to live here in the depths of possibly the greenest county in the whole of England.  Many people think that England is all grey and rainy - but we have our beauty spots too and when the sun shines here I can think of no place on Earth that could be better.  If you have read about us previously you will know that we are both fanatical members of the local knitting club.  Competitive knitting is not for the faint hearted and can involve early mornings and very later afternoons.  All knitting competitions end with tea at 4pm.  But often those teas do go on and Mrs Shackleton-Ponsworthy, she is one of the East Grinsted Ponsworthy's apparently, provides us with a jaw achingly tempting selection of sandwiches.  Mostly salmon or cucumber laid between vast doorstep slices of bread.  The Ponsworthys had a very famous ancestor who became infamous in Jaipur in 1835 after a serious uprising by the locals.  Major Algernon Ponsworthy single-handedly undertook to serve one hundred breakfasts to hungry British officers who were involved in the negotiations to bring about peace.  Unfortunately ninety eight officers contracted food poisoning and two had a bad dose of ..ahem.. for several days afterwards.  Ponsworthy, who was in the then embryonic Army Catering Corps became a hero to his men who have continued his fine traditions ever since.  As I was saying, I must apologise but I do find it very easy to digress, Mrs S-P, when not firing her menu choices at us is truly one of the finest knitters in our part of the country.  Even Lady Dent-Uhre our self-elected President grudgingly acknowledges that when it comes to bed socks and childrens' ponchos she is peerless.

Mildred is a tour de force as a knitter.  I call her "The Big Knit".  She spends every evening honing her skills with her trusty friend, our chicken, Henrietta close at hand.  Henrietta loves to pick over Mildred's wool which really rather annoys her.  She threatens her with the pot, but Henrietta knows full well that Mildred's threats are so much hot air and so continues to frustrate the old soul.  When it comes to producing anything with wool I have to concede that Mildred is a champ.  She learned her art from a dotty old aunt, all of Mildred's family fit neatly and accurately under the "dotty" heading, starting when she was just six years old.  Since then she has knitted countless hundreds of jumpers, scarves and socks.  Rather naughtily she once knitted a  disruptive boy in her class at school some woolly fotball shorts and made him wear them.  She nearly got the sack for that and he spent the entire match scratching!!

As for me.  I trained as a teacher at Miss Philpott's Teacher Training College many years ago.  Miss Phil (only one "L" girls) pott was long dead when I went there.  Founded in 1926 it trained "naice young gals" to teach the important things in life.  Rather like the three ladies in this clip shown in the first minute or two.
After graduating I then headed off to the bright lights of a rather exclusive ladies academy in the Far North of Scotland.  Thurso was our nearest town and that was about twenty miles away.  Founded by Roman Catholic nuns who had fled Edinburgh after poor Mary Queen of Scots had discovered that decapitiation is too rigorous a cure for a headache, Our Lady of the Immaculate Chantie (a rude expression meaning "chamber pot") was nothing if not spartan training for the daughters of the lairds of the glens.  Cold baths.  No blankets on the beds and only watery porridge for breakfast - and that was just the staff!  Our days were long and arduous with unrelenting wind that found every little hole in the aged, decrepit architecture.  Like a thousand banshees we would huddle together vainly trying to keep warm.  Imagine my surprise then when I discoverd that Miss Bannockburn, the formidable proprieter of this poor excuse for an academic institution lived in positive splendour behind her heavy oak study door!  Warm and dry, with only the finest foods sent up from Fortnum and Mason in London.  She made Roald Dahl's Miss Trunchbull appear to be a pussy cat!
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