This reticent lady rarely tells us of her most intriguing adventures until long after the time, which can make life difficult for a newspaper. As we all know, she is a devoted grandmother and, some weeks ago, took her grandson to see the Women's Synchronised Diving World Cup Final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park. "I chose this event because I know nothing about diving and cannot tell a pike from any other kind of fish," she explained, "but I can see if two people hit the water together."
After this illustrious competition she spotted a helter-skelter outside, some distance away, and asked her grandson if he would like a slide on it followed by a triple ice-cream with assorted syrups and toppings. We are offering a small prize for anyone who guesses at his answer (multiple choice - just 'Yes, please' or 'No, thank you' will do.) The courageous pair set out with Doc Barbara ruminating learnedly on the expression 'helter-skelter': "English is particularly rich in these," she observed, "think of 'easy-peasy', 'even stevens' and 'hugger-mugger', the last appearing in Hamlet, of course."
Her grandson's attention seemed to be focussed elsewhere and there will be another small prize for the most imaginative hunch as to what he was thinking. But ... as they started to climb the structure with determination and panache, four burly security officers appeared as if by magic and seized them. There is a happy ending as she soon convinced them that her intentions were entirely innocent. We think it is her wholesome, cheerful face, so reminiscent of a hockey-playing sixth-former despite her age, that carries her through life. We have yet to know what the boy made of this incident but he did enjoy his ice-cream.
Our sceptical colleague down the corridor had some very unpleasant remarks to make on this report. Putting down his cigar and taking his legs off the desk, (he models himself on Walter Matthau in "The Front Page" - somewhat hubristic as he works for "The Brynbuga Beagle") he told us in a nastily opinionated tone: "The object at Stratford is an eminent sculpture by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmore and is called the ArcelorMittel Orbit. It has cost a fortune and is a modern classic." He is such a know-all!
FROM THE LETTER PAGE OF "THE MONMOUTHSHIRE MOUTHPIECE"
We, the members of the Brynbuga W.U.G (Women's Undomesticated Group), wish to state our horror at the tone and content of our local reporter on "The Brynbuga Beagle". He cannot be correct that the object in the photograph has such an outlandish, unpronounceable and trumped-up name as "ArcelorMittel Orbit". We are so certain that Doc Barbara (whose character and doings are an inspiration to us all) is right and that it is a helter-skelter that we have hired a coach to take us all on an expedition on Saturday next to test her belief. We will form an orderly crocodile outside the structure and, armed with our small, individual Yoga mats, prepare to slide in formation down the helix.
The luxury charabanc will depart from W.U.G Hall at 5 a.m. on the dot and will arrive at Stratford-upon-Avon at approximately 9 a.m. (It is characteristic of our unpatriotic renegade that he omitted the last part of the place name, thus removing the recognisable reference to our renowned Bard, and referred to the Olympic Venue as merely Stratford. Will all participants please bring their W.U.G rugs, flasks and sandwiches as it could be a very long day.