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Putting On A Front

Surely one of the unforeseen yet most beneficial effects of lockdown under CONTRIK-69 house arrest rules [as well, of course, as mass bankruptcy, mass unemployment and a universal loss of the will to live], is that people ordinarily too busy even to pass wind now have time to sort through their drawers, cupboards and attics in a desultory search for forgotten nicknacks, family heirlooms and accumulated generational garbage [aka "Precious family heirlooms"]. Often in boxes labelled "Mother's Things", "Grandad's pre-Care Home house clearance" and even "For Christ's Sake Don't Let The Children Open This", gems of all sorts are suddenly surfacing to a variety of widely differing reactions: surprise, embarrassment and "What the f**k did we keep this for" being chief amongst them.

Every now and then a genuine treasure is unearthed and, in an uncanny twist of good fortune allied to pigeon-shit-challenged assiduity, one such has been brought to our attention courtesy of avid follower Ivor Hoarde of Milborne St Andrew.

Recently, Mr Hoarde had been given clear instructions to clean out the family's over-filled loft by Maude, his wife of 53 years. Under no illusions that Maude had reached "snapping-point" ["There's a particularly prominent and ugly vein just under her right temple that starts to pulse about 10 seconds before lift-off and anyone who knows her recognises it's now or never"] Ivor jumped to it like a man 8 minutes late for a 10 minute slot with a Stringbonefellow's pole-oriented flexible friend. Emerging from the loft several hours later [a period of time Mr Hoarde thinks of - with some justification - as "the minimum cooling off period"] he presented the semi-mollified Mrs Hoarde with a broken sandwich toaster, four round-pin double-plugs, a plaster model of Blackpool Tower, a Pifco sun-ray lamp and a set of magazines dating from the early 1970s. Satisfied that none of the magazines were of the type likely to command Ivor's undivided attention, Mrs Hoarde retreated to the sitting room intent on a major cull.

Happily, not long into her perusal, she came across a copy of the Dorset Radio Times for April 1970. The magazine had been bought - and kept - for the simple reason that the Hoarde's had just rented their first colour television set from the Milborne St Andrew's branch of Dorset Radio Rentals. Agreement between the couple on what was, for its time, a major forward commitment had been reached on the grounds that Mr Hoarde wanted to watch the European Cup Final and Mrs Hoarde was a big fan of Edmund Hockpiece. [Alas, neither had exercised due diligence: the Cup Final was broadcast in black and white and Mr Hockpiece's programme was broadcast on the radio. Still, the television set was retained and quickly forgiven; Mr Hoarde not so much.]

Happily for the archives, said copy of the Dorset Radio Times is both rare and historically valuable, featuring as it does a short interview with Professor Thrupiece who was due to make a rare television appearance in conversation with popular presenter and Housewives' Choice [of last resort] Cliff Michelbone. The programme itself is, of course, long lost, the victim of Dorset Broadcasting Corporation culls more severe even than Mrs Hoarde's. Quite why Professor Thrupiece, featured on the cover, decided to wear the attire depicted remains a mystery though it has been suggested [a] that he had become close to fashion designer Norman Hartbonewell at the time and [b] that he was particularly "stretched on the work-front", though not, judging by the photograph quite so much on the Y-front. Perhaps on of our readers knows better?

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