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Feeling Bull-ish?

Avid reader and enthusiastic collector of all things Thrupiece Meriel Monsanto ["I confess I'm a bit of a fan"] has written to say that recent news of the availability of a Xmas Thrupiece jigsaw puzzle has stirred happy memories of the John Bull Magazine [East Dorset Edition] several of the covers of which feature on the fearsomely difficult new "Spot the Professor" double puzzle.

Ms Monsanto writes ...

Ms Monsanto's earliest and perhaps most treasured cover - the famous Professor Thrupiece at School portrait which was accompanied by an article detailing his early progress in the field of organic rocket-fuel. The teacher in the background is, claims Ms Monsanto, the comparatively photogenic Batcombe pharmacy assistant Di Asapamme and not Ms Bunsen - his actual chemistry teacher

"I first got into Professor Thrupiece - I might almost say he first got into me - when I was a young girl. He is about four years older than me and I was easily-led, following his youthful exploits with huge enthusiasm. What adventures he had and how I loved my [largely] vicarious journey alongside him. Of course interest in his work and achievement was already high and, as his discoveries took him further and further afield [both the USA and the USSR I believe, as well as Taunton] , I was able to keep up thanks largely to John Bull Magazine's regular coverage of the youthful tyro. It was no substitute for the occasional "encounter" with the real thing of course, but it was certainly better than the nothing I was otherwise having to put up with! The Professor was by no means as big in those days as he was to become, but for a young and wholly inexperienced girl, he was certainly big enough!! How he tickled my fancy - as we used to say in those unsophisticated days!

I have several editions of the Magazine still, including some with highly collectable Thrupiece covers. I particularly treasure 1951's Thrupiece at The Grammar School Batcombe (Dorset) together with the two Thrupiece at Cambridge University [late 1957/early1958] editions as well as the still later Thrupiece with Friend Amanda of 1965. How I would look forward to a little something of the Professor forcing its way into the narrow slit of my otherwise untroubled front box!

Several years ago a representative of Sotherbone's offered me a pretty penny for my collection but, like me and my mobility scooter, it's going nowhere fast. I am, however, happy to open up a small crack and share a glimpse of my hidden treasure with like-minded aficionados, so I enclose a number of professional shots of the covers which I had framed about 10 years ago and which now hang in my living room, bedroom [guess which one!] and my utility closet.

Three of Ms Monsanto's Thrupiece Covers. The first two feature Professor Thrupiece aged 17-18 in his Cambridge digs with two acquaintances and war-widowed landlady Alwys Uppfrit [LEFT] and [MIDDLE] earning vacation money as a bus conductor; the third [RIGHT] from 1965 depicts the Professor at ease with long-time friend Mrs Amanda J Threadbone whose marriage to the Professor's sometime schoolfriend - the almost famous Mr Threadbone later of mini-tractor fame - was already "hitting several barriers"..

Have any of your other readers, I wonder, a little piece of Thrupiece they are willing to share with fellow coverts? As the Professor memorably said to me on a warm June day in 1951 - "I'll show you mine if you show me yours". It was life changing!


Reading through Ms Monsanto's epistle there is, perhaps, an unintended ambiguity therein which might lead readers to reach certain - possibly unwarranted - conclusions. I feel it incumbent upon me to suggest that any unseemly constructions which may result in the reader's mind are theirs and theirs alone. is not responsible for and certainly does not sanction over-thinking on the part of its readership- intelligent as it knows them to be. Ms Monsanto is 76, hasn't been out a great deal lately and may be subject to occasional fantasies when the balance of her tablets is wrong.

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