Philobiblon: The bottom-pinchers' parade

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The bottom-pinchers' parade

I can't resist a little on Monica's experience at Flower Gardens, the hostel for female munitions workers.

"One day, a woman in the catering department, whom I cultivated because she so often let fall useful information, said to me: 'Listen. If you want to see where most of the trouble in this place starts, go and look at the Bottom Pinchers' Parade on a Saturday night.'
'The what?' I said, aghast.
So she explained to me that the noble sport of Bottom Pinching (introduced, it was said, into this blameless country by the wicked Americans) was Scoreswick's most popular outdoor game.
Its focal point was the churchyard en route to town. Here, especially on Saturday evenings when the girls walk down to Scoreswick to the pictures, the soldiers would lie in ambush among the graves. And, as they passed by, giggling and squawking according to the manner of their kind, the men would pussy-foot after them and then, suddenly and unexpectedly, nip their behinds.
When the welkin had ceased to ring with their laughter and screeches, it was customary for pinched and pinchers to join forces and proceed arm-in-arm to spend the evening in the town.
'Come along with me one night and watch them at it,' my informant suggested. 'It'll open your eyes to quite a lot of things.'
In the end I allowed myself to be persuaded. She was perfectly right. It did." (p. 157-8)

Finally, I did a quick web-check on Monica and found she seems to have written one more book, about nuns. Otherwise she mostly appears on quote sites, most commonly for: "The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn't, matters not a jot. The possibility is always there."

Speaking as a night-owl - ugghhh!


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