Sunday, 31 August 2014

Never forget where you've come here from ....

Good morning, my lovelies! I've heard that the heatwave will be back with a vengeance next week ... just in time for the children going back to school ... It's all change here again, Harry's going back to Salford tomorrow and moving into a house before starting his second year and Millie's going back to college this week. I've hung up my childminding hat and for the first time in 24 years, my day won't revolve around the school run.

At the bottom of my last post I briefly mentioned an appearance I made on Noel Edmond's Multicoloured Swap Shop ... best forgotten I think, but as with all memories it produced lots more ...

It was November 1977, I was 16, fresh out of school and I was working at our local shipbuilding company, as a trainee shorthand-typist. In a small town like ours, Swap Shop coming to visit was a BIG event! My Dad had arranged with a friend of his that she would take my younger sister and brother along with her children ... he suggested to me that I go along too to help, as there would probably be crowds.

I got in touch with my friend Anne and arranged to meet her at the football ground where it was being held. The lady collected us, I met my friend and promptly forgot about my siblings as I was carried away with the excitement of it all.

I was wearing my new coat ... my pride of joy ... bought from Grattan's catalogue on the never-never ... a bright blue blanket coat, designed by the great Lee Bender from Bus Stop ... I was a real bobby dazzler in that! It was very voluminous, as you can see from the picture (I was over the moon to find an image of the very coat on Google - thank you very much) had a tie neck and then a rather fetching matching scarf.  I do remember the wind used to blow up it and cause it to billow out, rather like a ship in full sail.  The bell sleeves were a tad draughty too.

Posed by models - not me haha 

I had lots of other clothes from Bus Stop as I ran the Grattan catalogue ... my friend Sharon ran Freeman's and we made sure we never paid the money in on the same week ... so we could borrow out of each others! We were paid every Thursday but never had any money left after the weekend so it came in very handy.

Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent ... I met my friend and we somehow ended up on stage with Patsy Gallant (From LA to New York, remember?) after she'd done her number ... we were chatting to Cheggers and gave him a peck on the cheek (swoon!) and were getting quite dirty looks from Patsy for hogging the stage.  Cheggers asked us what we were swapping and I had a David Cassidy LP and Anne a Donny Osmond one ... he asked what did we want to swap it for.  I said loudly into the microphone, "I'll swap it with Kath over there, for that Diana Ross LP". Kath was loathe to swap her sophisticated LP for my teenybopper one, but wanted to be on telly so joined us on the stage.  At this point Cheggers had his head in his hands as we weren't really meant to know each other, and we were on air when I was loud.  In voice as well as clothes.

We were quickly scuttled off the stage and to this day I have never seen a recording ... it was one of the editions of the programme that was mysteriously lost at the BBC. I wonder why. 

I was reunited with my sister and brother who were looking daggers at me;
  • for leaving them with strangers
  • for hogging the limelight on what was actually a children's programme
  • for wearing such an ostentatious garment 
  • for making a show of them
We went home and my Dad, never one to show a great deal of emotion, said "I was doing the hoovering, looked up and saw you and that daft Anne on the telly. Why weren't H & K with you?"

It was my fifteen minutes of fame ... I went out that night and everyone was pointing at me ... envious perhaps of my suave appearance on national tv ... or perhaps incredulous that I had dared wear that coat again.  I'll probably never know ... 

I'd love to know about your claim to fame, and hope you're having an amazing, multi-coloured weekend!

Love Claire xxx


  1. Oh Claire this has brought back so many memories - not just swap shop but Patsy Gallant and Grattan! I always remember getting my winter coats from there - nothing as extravagant as yours though! I vaguely remember sheets of Green Shield stamps as well - what was all that about?! Great post x Jane

  2. My claim to fame is meeting John Cleese just a few years back when he did talk at Bristol Zoo and afterwards meeting him at an evening reception and having a longer chat, and he signed a dvd to our son Robert
    Julie xxxxxxx

  3. what memories this blog has bought back , i was 17 in 1977 , Then i got married the next year just before my eighteenth birthday , Luckily we're still together now , we had an empire catalogue I can remember having a broderie anglaise gypsy skirt suit in yellow from there and i loved it , When i got rid of it a few years
    back i was amazed at how tiny the waist was , I can also remember a royal blue velvet dress too , My bridesmaids all wore ordinary maxi dresses as they were also fashionable then xxx

  4. My claims to fame are .... I once did a Whiskas commercial with my two cats Biggles and Einstein and a few years ago, I had a makeover on GMTV where I met Katie Melhua, Status Quo and Nigel Havers not to mention the Lorraine Kelly and Andrew Castle :-)

  5. I probably watched it at the time - to be fair back then I'd have wanted the Donny Osmond LP:)

  6. That gave me a chuckle. I was in Junior Cook of the year when I was 13, 30 years ago, I was on TV briefly and Mary Berry was a judge. I will have to try a dig out a photo of me not Mary! ;) xx

  7. Loved this post Claire! I remember Bus Stop and Lee Bender clothes, very trendy!
    My claim to fame wasnt as grand as yours, it was when Tony and I made the local press in Hoboken New Jersey when our wedding was covered as we were the first overseas couple to be married there.

  8. Hi Claire,

    I enjoyed reading claim to fame :-) Loved the fashion and record details! Unfortunately no claim to fame for me yet, but you'll never know what may happen in future!

    Happy week!

    Madelief x

  9. What great memories!! It was fun to read and share them with you! xx

  10. What fun, Claire! I was on a TV game show with with some of my high school classmates in the late 1960s in Kansas City, Missouri. The only question I had close to the right answer for my teammates rejected so we missed a point. Sigh :-) xx

  11. How very funny! I have never been famous but my mother in law was on telly every year without fail at the Harrods New Year Sale - she never queued, just turned up and elbowed her way in and always got on the news coverage but never hung around to wave - we would always watch the news expecting to see her and were never disapointed! she would hammer past the camera to buy the christmas puddings to put away for next year! that's all she ever bought - a money saving northerner she didn't have any interest in the other stuff just her puddings!

  12. still waiting for my fifteen minutes of fame!!!! lovely story and what a shame you don't have it on video/dvd - your children would love to see it i'm sure!! enjoy the

  13. That picture of Patsy is priceless! I remember catalogues, too.
    As for claims to fame, when I was working in Covent Garden in my late 20s, I was stopped in the street and asked if I'd like to go to an audition for a commercial. I asked what it was for and was told - Always. Oh, the glamour! I didn't go....

  14. He He......gotta love the 70`s eh ?! Beautiful photo on your blog banner by the way....XX

  15. I chuckled at this story, it's good to think back to your youth sometimes isn't it?


I love to hear what you think of my ramblings and value all your comments ... I will try and get back to you, but am sorry if I don't always manage this ... sometimes real life just gets in the way! Claire xxx