I have yet to introduce you to Mother Phyllis, my mother-in-law, – and none of those jokes if you don’t mind – who rates a leading place in the cast of Joes Wine Bar.
She deserves a position well above the lights, for it was thanks to her and her generosity, that we were able to buy it. It was her character that very much played a part in the family atmosphere of the place and which, in turn, led to its success.
Phyllis was fun and brave and tough. A spirited, no-nonsense, ‘let‘s have some fun,’ ‘grabber-of-life,’ kind of a person. Very good to be around.
She was also extremely gifted. Gifted by being, when young, the guardian of the largest bosoms in Weston super Mare. (It’s far too late now to quibble.)
And it was to these two that she turned to to provide the buoyancy she needed to serve her country – which she did with honour and vigour – for they enabled her to became a member of the British Water Polo Team.
Being part of the national team gave her the chance to leave Somerset and see what lay over the rainbow.
One of these matches took her to London, where good looking fellas seemed everywhere. Then – oh Lordy – the thunderbolt – her eyes fell on a most handsome and debonair young man.
She was smitten and he was smit. He never stood a chance. Stanley, for such was his name, was grabbed and husbanded – and he at a tender 20.
He became her best friend, her ally, her guide and her constant companion. Theirs was a sure and happy love and she would refer to him as her ‘beloved Stanley’ throughout her life.
Stanley was a chef. He’d worked on Atlantic liners, but marrying Phyllis put an end to that. So they found a run down café in the London area and renamed it after a brand of cigarettes, a tradition that lasted with all their restaurants, and started to turn it around.
They were doing very nicely when major international events muscled in on their empire building. Mr. Hitler decided to chance his luck in attempting to change the ownership of some countries in Europe.
So started the Second World War.
Stanley’s job as a chef and small business owner meant his was became one of those with a reserved occupation. Some say this was a cushy deal but it was not the case for Stanley for he also became a special constable and a fire fighter. He became part of that band of very brave men who faced the fires of the Blitz.
Mother Phyllis preferred not to talk of this time, except to mention two incidents. The first was of her being chased down a London street by a phosphorous bomb and, on a happier note, the manner in which she and Stanley celebrated VE day deep in the waters of one of the fountains (appropriately) in Trafalgar Square during which she says, she taught him how to swim.
C 2010 J Hepworth Snorban UK Ltd