I Owe It All To Ena Sharples

One of my friends was so inspired by Betty Boothroyd, first female Speaker of the House of Commons, that she named her daughter after the British politician.

My teenage niece, a distant relation of Nurse Edith Cavell is considering a career in nursing motivated by the sacrifice of the World War I medic.

My muse is fictional. A fearsome old battle axe in a hair net who trod the cobbles of Weatherfield striking fear into Elsie Tanner’s party shoes.  If you are familiar with the soap opera Coronation Street you will know that I am talking about the acid tongued Ena Sharples. I owe everything to Ena for she was the first person I ever saw drinking beer. Ena drank Milk Stout and she poured it with relish into the glass as she sat in the snug of the Rovers’ Return and gossiped with her friend Minnie Caldwell.  Seeing her do that is one of my earliest recollections.  In pre-colour TV days the contrast of the mahogany hued body and the white head of the beer was stark and made it stand out from the muddy shades of grey that dominated the screen.   Remembering that scene when I was older I realised it was not just the beer that was so vivid in the monochrome tableau of my memory it was that they were in a pub and the pub is where people assemble for a good time.

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