Tuesday 28 April 2009

A Memory of 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'

It just happens to be the 80th anniversary of the publication in Florence, Italy of D.H.Lawrence's novel 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'.
Also, it's the 49th anniversary of it's publication in England by Penguin Books. Of course, almost as soon as it hit the bookshelves it was banned - but not before I got my hands on a book that 'you would not want your children or servants to read.'
Talking of anniversaries it is interesting to note that Margaret Thatcher became the first woman Prime Minister 30 years ago.
And what has that got to do with 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'?
Well, Margaret Thatcher was elected as the MP for Finchley in 1959 by which time I had moved from there to Orpington, Kent. About the same time that I became a butcher's delivery boy for Mr. Evans in his shop in Lock's Bottom. Right up the road was an area known as the Farnborough Park Estate - a sort of millionaire's row - and the choicest place for deliveries.
It was also where Margaret Thatcher lived - and I was her butcher boy.
Much has been written about Margaret Thatcher - but the woman I knew took time to talk to me. She asked me, once, what I intended to do when I left school and when I told her that I was thinking of going into the legal profession she offered me encouragement.
The publication of 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' did disturb her and one day, out of the blue, she asked me if I had read it - or, realising that I was a schoolboy, just some of the pages. I told her, politely, that I had read the whole book. The result was that she found the book morally corrupting and I didn't but she did say that I had the makings of a good lawyer.
So when I saw a TV programme called 'The Long Walk To Finchley' and heard the character playing Margaret Thatcher come out with four letter words - I turned over because I knew that Margaret Thatcher would never have come out with expletives like that. Besides 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' had not been published at the time the playwright would have the viewer believe she said them. In 1959 those words had not entered the vocabulary.
My view of 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' has not changed.
I have no recall of the Thatcher years so I cannot judge - but I just remember a housewife and mother who made an impact on my young life.


Jo Walpole said...

That's a brilliant story. I love things like that. Thanks.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Margaret Thatcher's butcher boy. I know there's a story in that.