I'm not one to be much impressed by fame and celebrity - not of course that I'm in the habit of hobnobbing with the rich and famous. But I did meet and speak to someone rather lovely last week. When I was thinking about writing this blog post it brought back another celebrity encounter from quite a few years back that I thought I'd share with you first.
I was having a spa day at Henlow Grange. In those days they sat everyone together around large tables for lunch and when me and my Australian companion, Melanie, turned up for lunch they sat us down with none other than the footballer George Best - probably one of the first "celebrity" footballers. Now I admit to being just a little star struck but my friend, whom I'd just met that day had no idea who he was. She merrily started chatting, introduced herself and asked his name, to which he modestly replied "I'm George, lovely to meet you". He stayed and chatted to us through lunch and I can honestly say that he was polite, interested, charming and the perfect gentleman, not at all what the papers would have had us believe at the time. But the funny part was Melanie had no idea and didn't recognise him at all, and he certainly didn't let on... you should have heard her squeal when I told her after he left!
Last Tuesday when I was stewarding at the exhibition there was a little bit of a buzz as we noticed Una Stubbs wandering around. She is probably best known these days for her role as Mrs Hudson in Sherlock but those of you of a similar age to me will remember her for so much more. Originally a dancer she has been a presence on British TV and stage for several decades
As I said, I wouldn't normally be impressed and probably would have left the poor lady to look around the show uninterrupted but given that it was a textile show... and I did have stitched work exhibited... I just had to tell her that it was her book "In Stitches" that really got me started in embroidery.
It was published in 1984, which was probably when I bought it, and really is the most delightful, quirky and personal book about embroidery. You have to love someone who encourages you to unpick the "Porche" logo from your man's sweater and re-embroider "Cortina". Self taught, Una Stubbs became an accomplished needlewoman, producing the most exquisite pieces of work.
I longed to be able to make a little whitework and drawn thread brooch cushion like the one featured in the book but alas my skills and patience do not extend that far. However, I did used to make several of her card designs for friends and family and as I said, that was what started my interest in embroidery... thirty years ago!
So I spoke to Una Stubbs and told her all this and she was delightful. She thanked me and told me she doesn't stitch any more because she can't see to thread the needle. She complimented us on the exhibition and then carried on looking around. And it felt really good to meet her and be able to thank her too.
Have you had any good celebrity encounters?