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Monday, April 7, 2014

Fourpenny all-off

To the hairdresser's today, and not before time. My reluctance to have my hair cut I'm quite sure stems from my very first experience, when I suppose I was three or four. The only barber in Lostwithiel, in Cornwall, was Mr Green, who had a shop on the Parade, and charged fourpence for a child - he called it 'a fourpenny all-off', and you can just imagine from that what sort of a haircut it was. The first time my Dad took me to him, he removed the hair simply by pulling it out at the roots - well, he was holding scissors, but that's what it felt like, and I bawled the place down - with reason. After that I had to be carried, kicking and screaming, to Mr Green - and could only be forced into the high chair by the promise that afterwards I would be taken round the corner to the front room of the Monmouth Hotel, where Dad, exhausted, would have a pint of bitter and I would talk to the parrot, who lived in a cage there and had a remarkable vocabulary of words, many of which when I reproduced them myself were not favourably received by polite society. No parrot, alas, next to Brompton's in Sydney, so I shall simply grit my teeth and think of happier things I might be doing. No reflection on Roger, who is a splendid hairdresser and has never been known to cause the slightest discomfort of any kind. Well, not often.

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