Ordinary Life

Out early on Saturday to just nip in under the wire to see this before it finished. For those who are unaware – Beryl Cook, she of the slightly naughty paintings, is the uncrowned Queen of Plymouth. Much of the inspiration for her work came from the people and pubs of the city. I wouldn’t claim to be her biggest fan, I’ll be honest but we wanted to have a look. At the moment, Plymouth Museum is closed as a massive refurbishment is underway which will (hopefully) be complete for the Mayflower 2020 Celebrations. This is where we all go and stand by some steps and pretend that this is where the Pilgrim Fathers set off from. (Do not even get me started on Francis Drake and bowling on the Hoe) I love it all really. Anyway the new history centre will, rather startlingly, be called “The Box”. (I know – I know) I rather liked the title “Plymouth History Centre” myself but no-one asked me.

So we had a wander around the Guildhall looking at the exhibition. The first thing I thought was that these cartoony pictures were much more difficult to produce than I had maybe given her credit for. The second was how lovely and affectionate they were. Cook was very strong on family – she had a long and happy marriage – lots of her paintings’ figures have her family’s faces. She was also the defender of the “ordinary” and the straight talking. Her work is full of fishermen and drunks and drunk fishermen. The women are round and raucous. They laugh a lot. People are cheeky and crude – unapologetically so. She said that she was most impressed by seeing people just being completely themselves – no airs, no graces and with no time for what other people thought of them. I left with a new found respect for Beryl Cook’s work and also for the people she painted – although personally I could do without all the nipples.

Speaking of straight talking, Aged Parent has been offering unsolicited advice to her friend who has a new beau. (I’m not sure she has actually met him yet but we have great hopes for this one)

Aged Parent – When you meet ******** will you be wearing those socks?

Friend – Well I thought I might

Aged Parent – I wouldn’t if I were you. A lady of your size – it leaves marks on your legs.

Friend – I though I might wear the white blouse. 

Aged Parent – Good idea, but with your v neck, that way he won’t see the buttons gaping.

I sometimes think I am too much of a delicate flower for this world. Either that, or I am adopted.



  1. September 12, 2017 / 7:51 am

    Now I am convinced that Aged Parent’s Friend must have been one of Beryl’s models! I vividly remember the first time I stood at the Mayflower Steps (even if they’re not exactly in the right place) I was so overcome by the thought of that tiny boat and those brave families setting out to find freedom to worship God in their own way in the New World. I wept. Now I look at what is happening across the Atlantic, and I want to weep for different reasons.

    • lesleyps91
      September 12, 2017 / 7:55 pm

      Yes, we have a huge plaque on a wall at the harbour with all the names of those who left. It’s very moving to see the families

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