David Parkin wrestles with a sex symbol

FAREWELL then Raquel Welch.

The actress and sex symbol died this week aged 82.

I have to say when I watched the film One Million Years BC, I was more interested in the dinosaurs rather than Raquel in her iconic deerskin bikini.

But that’s me. Give me a copy of National Geographic over Playboy every time.

Raquel Welch, playing a cave woman, only had three lines in the film but featured prominently on the film’s publicity photos and a best selling poster with the New York Times calling the photo “a marvellous breathing monument to womankind”.

She even won the backing of some feminists with the academic Camille Paglia declaring that she represented “the indelible image of a woman as queen of nature, a lioness, fierce, passionate and dangerously physical”, who stood for “the pagan ideals of sensuality and glamour that contemporary feminism has prudishly edited out of its vision of female power”.

I suppose you could say that.

My memories of Raquel Welch involve Morecambe and Wise and Yorkshire cricket.

Well, I’ve always been a bit odd.

When she appeared on Michael Parkinson’s popular BBC chat show in the 1970s he asked her about becoming a sex symbol and she told him that she was completely unaware of being “pretty, pretty” until “the equipment arrived” when she was a teenager.

Morecambe and Wise were the next guests welcomed into the studio by Parkinson.

Eric took his seat, took his pipe out of his mouth and said to the host: “I was 15 when my equipment arrived. I was 40 when it left. I’m 45 now and I think it’s coming back again!”

Brilliant ad libs by a master of comedy.

And then there was the time that Raquel Welch visited Yorkshire for the marriage of her son to the daughter of Yorkshire and England bowling legend Fiery Fred Trueman.

That is true – you couldn’t make a partnership like that up.

I was doing work experience at the Yorkshire Evening Post and reporters covering the nuptials returned to the office with tales of this rather bizarre union of Hollywood and Tyke royalty.

Asked by the Yorkshire Post what she thought on her first visit to the county, the buxom sex symbol responded: “It’s like a poem.”

I never did find out which piece of verse she was referring to.

It is still odd to think that Raquel Welch’s son Damon married Rebecca Trueman, the daughter of Freddie Trueman, the Yorkshire and England cricketer and self-proclaimed “finest fast bowler that ever drew breath”.

At the blessing ceremony in the Yorkshire Dales, she upset the Trueman family by upstaging the bride with her revealing dress and flamboyant late entrance with a posse of bodyguards.

Trueman’s mother Ethel told her she looked like a trollop and Enid, the cricketer’s ex-wife, complained that Welch had “ruined” her daughter’s wedding.

“Her boobs were showing and her skirt was up her bum,” she said.

Trueman was less critical and described her as “a little smasher”.

The couple separated 15 months later when Rebecca walked out of their plush Los Angeles apartment and returned to Yorkshire. “It did not last as long as one of my run-ups,” commented Freddie.


IT’s been a strange week.

I took the dog to the vet for his annual check up.

Having last taken him 12 months ago, I had forgotten that this Romanian rescue dog does not like his medical check ups.

To be honest he doesn’t like the surgery, full stop.

So as soon as we turned into the driveway of the veterinary practice, he was digging his paws into the paving and refusing to budge.

I gave him a tug on the lead but that just prompted him to start leaping up like a bucking bronco which he has worked out will enable him to escape his harness.

When it happened for the fourth time, I picked him up, carried him over the threshold into the reception area of the vet and put him down next to the desk where I apologised for being 10 minutes late.

As the dog tried to make a bolt for the open door when a visitor arrived, a line of cat owners with their pets sitting quietly in baskets, stared at me like I was the world’s most incompetent pet owner.

Another wrestling match ensued to get him on the scales to be weighed before I carried him into the examination room.

By this point I was really feeling like a useless owner until the vet managed to prick herself with the syringe she was supposed to be injecting the dog with.

It didn’t make me feel any better, but it did remind me of a scene from one of the Doctor films in which overbearing medical colossus James Robertson Justice – who played the beautifully named Sir Lancelot Spratt – is accidentally  injected in his behind.

It’s funny, the kind of memories that can cheer you up.


AFTER last week’s comments about John Cleese and mention of his appearance at the Yorkshire International Business Convention, a message arrived from Mike Firth, the founder of the event.

“John Cleese at YIBC was bizarre,” remembers Mike.

“He was also difficult at the evening dinner at Harewood House.

“I asked him to say a few words – he stood up and recited four words (which I can`t remember) – then made an early exit.

“However the evening was saved by my memorable rendition of the blues classic  ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ accompanied on guitar by Dave Stewart.

I’m sure those that were there have never forgotten it.


AN article on the Yorkshire Live news website this week featured a visit by a reporter to the place proclaimed to be the region’s “coldest village”.

Topcliffe in North Yorkshire has been known to record some of the coldest temperatures in England, leading to it being dubbed “Yorkshire’s coldest village”.

Temperatures in the small hamlet got down to below -7C as the country was hit by freezing conditions and wintry weather at the start of last year, making it the coldest in England, according to figures provided by the Press Association.

But residents of Yorkshire’s “coldest village” proclaim to love their freezing community and say it feels like home, according to Yorkshire Live.

What struck me was a photograph that accompanied the article featuring a resident of Topcliffe standing at his front door.

There was a sign in the window next to the front door.

It said: “No cold callers.”

Have a great weekend.


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