Following on from the privilege of conducting a delightful interview with her earlier in the week, professorthrupiece.com was thrilled to be granted a further 20 minute audience on Tuesday with Threadbone Corporation CEO, CIO and President for Life, Mrs Amanda J Threadbone. The occasion for this double treat [at which engaging - and stylishly turned-out - companion Enrique de los Chicos Perdidos was also in attendance] was the re-publication by The Threadbone Press of Mrs Threadbone's delightful Memoir of her childhood: Down Greener Paths. Out this week in larger format and graced with 4 all new illustrations by the author [NB line drawings not decoupage [Pictures Editor]] this deluxe edition - available only from selected Threadstones Bookshops - is bound to find its way on to many a thinking person's Christmas Wishlist.
Keen to emphasise that the Memoir's title - coined when the book was first published in 1984 - was a reference to England's once verdant fields, forests, pastures, lanes and pathways and absolutely not "a concession to the moronic halfwits who glue themselves to the King's Highway - more often than not when I am trying urgently to get somewhere" - Mrs Threadbone is not, she insists a new age eco-warrior. Rather, "a nostalgist who knows how things used to be, could be still and should be again".
The book recollects "in comparative tranquility" the coming of age of a young woman "definitely in a hurry" but still open to "absolute immersion" in the joys of an idyllic childhood. "And not one jetting around the world shouting the odds at her older and betters lecturing them about lonely polar bears floating towards Miami", she adds somewhat acerbically. "Mine was a world of old men drinking warm beer, the sound of willow on leather, picturesque cottages with lazy smokey chimneys, cowslips, sheep pens, cottage gardens, trustworthy vicars, friendly policemen, bicycle outings, picnic hampers from Harrods, gypsy caravans, B roads, saluting RAC patrol men, afternoon teas, sun-dappled acres, church bells across the meadow, wild ponies, ancient styles, haystacks, friendly dogs, fresh farm eggs, unpasteurised milk, tinkers, travellers, wildflowers, windmills, dragonflies, canalboats, red telephone boxes, fresh laundry, dog roses, dipheria, polio, tetanus and immature sexual fumbling." [Enrique smiles a knowing smile at this point and offers lemonade.]
"This", explains Mrs Threadbone relaxing into her theme and draped elegantly across a Regency chaise longue that once saw service in the Palais des Délices Corporels, Verdun - "was a world so much nicer than the one we know now". "It may well have had its fair share of strange people", she continues "ones your mother warned not to show your knickers to even for thru'ppence and an Uncle Joe's Mintball; but such people were contained by the community and generally no threat to corporatism, capitalism and the conservative interest as we know it". Clearly having no truck with the modern protestor [or indeed the modern world], Mrs Threadbone is keen to tell anyone who will listen that the oft-quoted dictum of her Italian ancestor - Giuseppe Pezzopassante - remains truer today than it ever did *.
* Torniamo all'antico. Sarà un progresso [Let us return to the past. That will be progress].
"That is why it was such a joy to revisit Down Greener Paths", she adds whilst showing us to the door. "It allowed me to revisit the youth I had revisited in 1984. I hardly recognised the place but then again I was dealing with the downside of the late Mr Threadbone at the time of writing".
As we made our way down the long drive and finally exited via the high security gates, I was struck by the paradox that lies at the heart of Mrs Threadbone: was there ever a more thrusting, progressive and fearless innovator so out of step with the current mores, so invested the future yet so rooted in the past?