Friday, 3 May 2013


OK I can take a hint. Very flattered in fact and grateful for your kind wishes. Going for tests for my foolish heart........Alas wandering leg has signed up for Rio Olympics but look on the bright side. Soggy lung is showing a fine crop of watercress.
So its back to business............

I really did know a Tory Grandee  called Lady Guinevere who was given the fairy tale role of turning a grocer's daughter called Thatcher into a lady.
Another pal, John Julius, the Earl of Norwich, corroborates..His mother the  bewitching Lady Diana Cooper was brought up as the daughter of the Duke of Rutland. The truth was  she was fathered by the Hon Harry Cust, a neighbour in Lincolnshire who it might be said put the rut in Rutland.In my forthcoming book "Lusty Ladies"I list the other aristocrats Cust cuckolded.
Ever ecumenical he also bedded Margaret Thatcher's maternal grandmother, one of his servants. As JJ cheerfully admitted to me in an interview. "That would make us first cousins"
I couldn't resist a secret smile when I was told of Guinevere's role.
I am surprised that in the recent acreage surrounding her name so little was made of her defining bloodline. Her father the small town grocer was also an Alderman, which meant he was qualified to stand in as God.Her father if he deigned to think of it all would assume superiority.
You had to work as a reporter on a North country newspaper to appreciate the power wielded by that frightening creation of our Saxon past. The myth was that councillors became aldermen after many years in that lowly role but that was not always the case. Many were the sons and grandsons of aldermen. Some were honourable and wise men who cared for the people they had represented for a lifetime. Some were venal, Droite de Seigneur was alive and well in the Northen towns in which I worked. They signed off budgets of many millions, the decided where factories and housing estates were built, which land could be made available for purchase and what could be built on it.
One I knew in Chester began life as the chief clerk in a Territorial Army office. He retired the owner of enviable suits, breathtaking cars and a home to dream on. Somehow he became part of the army, a Lt Colonel in the army without once having heard a shot fired in anger, though he frequently shot pheasants with the Duke of Westminster. The City owed him much.  In fairness the regeneration of Chester was down to him. He called in the planners,fixed the finance and fired the population, The architect who took on the work told me a year later that the Carloginian ceilings which wre Chetser's pride were at the point of no return. The last I heard from the alderman from his reurement retireentvilla. " You never did catch me," he said.
The power those monoliths wielded was breathtaking. The St Leger racing classic
s is civic owned.The race, the course, the staff, even the boookys pitches ,finances were controlled by a diminutive railway boiler cleaner, Alderman Albert Cammidge, chairmanof the Racecourse Committee. Every year he hosted a dinner for the great and the good of racing at the Guidhall, an 18th century gem.
One year the guest of honour was the Queen. Alderman Cammidge took her into dinner , settled her into her chair.
As the waitresses brought the main course round the Alderman prffered a serving bowl with the words; " Have some cabbage Queen, it'll settle thi' stomach after all that bussin about "