Tag Archives: Kiss me Kate

Road Rage

Ella was vocal. Very vocal!

She ranted at a long line of slow heavy rush hour traffic.

Cyclists and motorbike riders were not spared the rough edge of her tongue either.

Cars changing lanes without indicating, or any drivers who dared to cut into the small space in front of her windscreen were treated to a long stream from her litany of language more suitable to the gutter, than the front seat of an upmarket Mercedes-Benz A-Class with a twin-turbo V8 engine.

Perhaps if she had been ready to leave at the pre arranged time, things might have been better.

Ella WAS NEVER ON TIME. You might say she liked to make an entrance. Arriving at a theatre or concert hall with everyone milling around, would mean she would go un-noticed. Arrive late and the whole place was aware of her entry and walk right through the auditorium to take her seat in the middle of the second row!

This behaviour went on for years.

Holey Buckets! She ranted with more passion and conviction than Kate, singing I Hate Men from Kiss Me, Kate

Her husband Ralf, was by comparison, a dormouse.

His great passion in life was his car. This time, the A-Class Merc. Ralf washed and lovingly caressed it with a chamois until dry, each evening before driving it into the spacious garage to rest overnight. Some friends teased that it was clean enough to sit in the middle of the living room floor!

Ralf loved his Ella. He must have. Listening to her broken record on repeat ranting, on a daily basis for thirty five years, warranted more than sainthood.

He was dressed and ready, in fact Ralf had been ready for the previous two hours.

A leisurely breakfast was enjoyed, the daily newspaper read and the crossword completed. The beloved car stood to attention in the driveway. The windows and lights all gleamed like crystal, even under the bonnet had a little run over with a duster.

Now as he finished another cup of coffee he heard the size two footfall on the stairs. Involuntarily he tensed. The ranting (at him) began before the door to the room opened. He half wished he had given in to the sudden childish whim to hide behind the window drapes. He didn’t.

They were ready for off.

“I wonder if Ella remembered the marathon was on today?” thought Ralf. He was sure she had forgotten that half the roads in the centre of the city would be closed for the duration. They were not going into the city as such, but needed to drive through it in order to reach their final destination. Never worry, he had a plan.

Traffic was heavy on the motor way and always slowed down as it approached the city. He had planned to take a circular route and avoid the closed off area. Of course, this was all planned a few hours earlier as he read the newspaper and saw the route the marathon would take. Ella was busy upstairs with girly stuff – hair, make-up, and which of her fifty pairs of shoes to wear. They had not spoken since Ralf had taken the breakfast tray up to her a few hours earlier. Ella liked breakfast in bed. Ralf liked that too. It meant a calm quiet start to his day as he sat to eat alone at the kitchen table.

“You are in the wrong lane!” bellowed Ella. “You should be over there, in that one.” The ranting had begun, and it continued. The higher the rant the slower the traffic moved, until it finally slid to a halt. Nowhere to go.

At this stage Ralf was behind an articulated lorry, in the rear view mirror he could see a wall of lorries approaching. One stopped behind him, and another two drew up along each side, They were completely surrounded. Ella did not like being closed in, she was claustrophobic at the best of times, the ranting reached a crescendo.

Ralf flipped.

This outing was not his idea of fun, he would have much preferred to potter about at home for the day. He switched off the engine – they were going nowhere. They could not, even if they wanted to.

Slowly, calmly and silently, Ralf opened the driver’s door and got out. He put the keys in his pocket, closed the door and turned without a backward glance and walked away.

He had had enough!

Road Rage was suggested by Padmini, who I am sure is a perfect passenger and would never rant while her husband was driving. She has re appeared from the shadows to rejoin us, despite being busy with family commitments and other pursuits. I look forward to reading what she and all the other active member have to say on the LBC topic, for this week.

A bull whip Part two

Right class; who remembers A bull whip?


bull whip from Wikipedia

Ach, come on now, sure it was only five days ago. There might be some excuse for me right now, sure aren’t I getting on a bit….. and drugged to the gills, so you can expect me to get a fact or three wrong. Right?

No way. Not with a legal eagle for a toyboy. He keeps me on my toes.

He swears on all dem big hard bukes. You know the ones….. Every TV drama about the law from Perry Mason, to Rumpole of the Bailey, The Good Wife or Kavanagh Q.C. have a wall of leather bound legal books behind a ginormous desk!

I bet my toyboy eats them for breakfast.

So where did I go wrong?

First off:

Brian reminds me that he joined the musical society after he left school, through a couple of lads who were already members at the time. He began by making some posters for a Talent Competition to raise funds… then he was asked to man the sweet shop at the intervals and slowly he became more involved. he remembers coming to see me at home, prior to Viva Mexico which was a production before Kiss Me Kate.


I did go to Callaghans for the whip, but they were not theatrical outfitters as I stated in my earlier post. They were saddle harness and horse-clothing makers, at 13 to 16 Dame Street, Dublin. That was why asking for and having the whip free of charge for the duration, made such an impression on Brian. I know I should have given the memory corner of my brain a big stir before submitting my homework to print, so with knuckles well rapped, 😉 I did a little research and found this humorous poster:

Callaghan & Co

Callaghans Poster from Wikipedia

P.J. Bourke, were theatrical costumiers, in Dame Street, Dublin, (1906-1994). They were in-laws of Eamonn Andrews – Presenter of This is your life (Uk Version). He married Grace Bourke, who lived with her family on the same Avenue where I grew up.

While looking for a photo of Bourkes, I found this interesting article from May 1993.

Gings, another theatrical costumier, was to be found on the other side of the street and I found a picture of Gings in Dame Street Click on the link to see it.

So I got there eventually, sorry it took so long.

A bull whip

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…..

Meet Brian

Meet Brian

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?!

He continued:

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.

Plaited bull whip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plaited bull whip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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!