Boisdale Life Magazine (Issue 18) - Page 48

Right: With Clare
Balding. Far right:
At Boisdale’s Cigar
Smoker of the Year
Awards with Arnold
Previous page:
In her robes at the
State opening of
Parliament in 2014
I was by a chlorinated pool
(Where Stan had almost lost his cool),
The pensive Jeanie now reclined
And gazed on the lagoon.
Her beaming smile, her joy declared
To hear how all about her shared ,
Her anniversary;
She tossed her shoes at Barkie’s feet
And nymph-like now, she ran to meet
The lilo-littered sea.
Presumptuous maid! Without a care
For pretty force and new-set hair
Or Barkie’s panic fright,
She sprang aloft, and poised on high,
She smiled one final fond good-bye
And disappeared from sight.
But now, in petticoats marooned
With hair bedraggled, skirts ballooned
She bobbed about serene;
One little step into the deep,
But this was mankind’s greatest leap,
O Chlorinated Jean!
The Daily Mirror recently identified 40
people Brits would like to come back
from the dead. While there were the
obvious ones, Princess Diana and Sir
Winston Churchill, I was proud to see
my mother on the list. If only...
Bruce Anderson on the life and
career of Jean Trumpington
owards the end of her
indomitable innings,
Jean Trumpington was seen
as a music-hall character: a female
pantomime dame. But there was so
much more to her. In part, her equally
indomitable cheerfulness was a cover
for stoicism. She had known tragedy.
Jean was brought up before the
war in comfortable upper-middle
class circumstances. It was the era of
private incomes, in which girls like
her were not expected to work. Then
came war. She spent part of it as a
land-girl, and claimed to have had
her bottom pinched by David Lloyd
George at harvest time. She helped to
reap a rather more important harvest
when she served at Bletchley Park
cracking naval codes.
After the War, she married a man of
considerable promise and intellectual
seriousness: Alan Barker was one of the
ablest school-masters of his generation.
By the time he was fifty, all the
glittering prizes of his profession
seemed open to him. Instead, he had
a terrible stroke. His wife shouldered
that burden of financing his care, and
her courage never faltered.
Jean made her mark in local
government, including as Mayor
of Cambridge, later serving as UK
Representative to the UN Commission
on the Status of Women. She was made
a Conservative peer in 1983, taking
her title from the nearby village of
Trumpington. That was so appropriate.
It sounds like a drum-roll, which was
the perfect accompaniment for her
stately progress, becoming one of the
most popular members of the Lords.
She was a reliable advocate for that
most uncommon quality, common
sense, and contemptuous of political
correctness. At a lunch, when a
priggish female journalist suggested
a male MP must be “sick” when he
admiringly described a female
colleague as “one of the chaps”, Jean
– removing a fag from the side of her
mouth – uttered a word that
reverberated around the room: “Balls.”
At the annual Christmas party for
the Tory Whips in the Lords, Jean
happened to be sitting on a settle
under which there were boxes of
Clamato for the Bloody Marys. One
of the younger Whips said: “Jean, can
I just come between your legs and...”
She interrupted. “Any time, ducky.”
Having risen to the heights of
Minister of State, Jean finished as an
ordinary Whip, which she relished.
She has now been promoted to the
Great Whips’ Office up above. In these
lesser regions, she will be much
missed, for she is irreplaceable.
Contributing editor Bruce Anderson is a
former political editor of The Spectator
that you knew, that she knew, just how
naughty she was being and just how
considered it was.”
I will end by remembering the day
my mother jumped into the pool on
sports day at the Leys School in
Cambridge, where my father was
headmaster – he was extremely angry!
A staff member penned the most
brilliant poem about the event. It hung
in her kitchen, and read as follows:

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