In my day it was about this time that folk looked forward to the coming year and resolved to try something new or stop doing something old. Even now I always start the year with great plans to tame my pet Banjo. Course, they are wild beasts with minds of their own so I don’t expect a high level of success.
In my day, goals were smaller and we had one particular year when it seemed like all the young ‘uns resolved to take up knitting.
I know you’re thinking; knitting? But it was a thing, a craze. And some people turned out to be a bit good at it.
In my year at school we had twins; Pearl and Jean. How they could knit. They’d make their needles sing.
They were what we call ‘rich kids’ because their Granddad had invented a sewing machine.
Before they took up knitting, they used to make little films with a Bell and Howell cine camera (Granddad paid for that). Their speciality was filming local news events like who’d been elected to the PCC or grown the biggest marrow. They showed them down the cinema in Regent Street. You’ll have heard of Pearl and Dean newsreel.
Anyway like I say, it turned out they were great knitters. Pearl was so good she even started making up her own stitches.
She’d put the needle in the back of the loop (sorry bit too technical). This produced columns and an uneven look.
To begin with the other knitters took the mick out of her. They gave her a rough old time with their constant ribbing. She got her own back by having the new stitch named after her and finding a new meaning for the word ribbing.
Granddad Singer also invented the first PJ’s for girls which was the kiss of death for the Nightie. You’ll have realised he was inspired to name them after the girls; P and J.
He wasn’t the only one inspired by them. Lionel Kevin Brooks a songwriter who lived up Tann Road made up a song about them.
When the girls grew up they moved away. Pearl became a professional diver in the Caribbean and Jean married a professional footballer called Earl Cross who played on the wing for Brentford.
Oh, the song, I nearly forgot. Like I say it was by L K Brooks and was called Pearl’s a Singer. He even added a verse about Earl the Winger. Happy New Year.