Palace dance partner lost her knickers

Terry Cringle

Terry Cringle

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There is a daily programme on Manx Radio called ‘Women Today’ and I was invited to take part in it with other guests and nostalgia was the theme.

We were asked to talk about the good old days in the Isle of Man as far as our experience was concerned. Just the thing for people with more past than future and I announced that I had a good story to tell.

But we ran out of air time and it remained untold.

Since then a huge number of listeners, well two or three perhaps, have been on to say they want to hear it.

I am now 85 and when I was a teenager life in the Isle of Man in the winter was deadly dull. But come the summer with thousands of visitors present everything came alive and for teenagers like me it was time to get out and about looking for girls from across the water looking for a holiday romance.

One of my stamping grounds was the Palace Ballroom on Douglas seafront where there was dancing every night to the quickstep and the waltz.

One evening there was a pretty girl in a summer frock sitting at the side of the dance floor. It was proper form for me to approach her, bow with hand extended, and ask: ‘May I have this dance please?’

She smiled her acceptance and stood up – and her knickers fell down around her ankles.

I stood back, appalled. But she was unconcerned. Calmly she stepped out of the knickers, stepped into my arms and swept me into heart of the dancing. The knickers were abandoned.

In those days girls did not wear the sort of knickers they do today. They were loose fitting and held up with elastic and when the elastic became worn it gave way.

But this was not unexpected and there was a procedure for it.

You left the knickers where they were and got as far away from the scene as possible.

We were doing the quickstep. I knew she had no knickers on and she knew I knew. We said nothing. When the music stopped she said, still smiling. ‘Wait for me. I need to go to the ladies.’ She returned in a few minutes. ‘All is well,’ she said.

I realised then it was part of the procedure for a girl to always carry a spare pair of knickers in her handbag.

We went on to a pleasant holiday friendship and nothing unseemly took place.

In time the Palace Ballroom was demolished and the contractor, Marty Downey, swore to me that they had found a pair of knickers in the rubble and did I want them.

I didn’t. But I should have done. I could have taken them with me when I took part in ‘Women Today’.

The Treasury has just sent me a welcome income tax rebate of £58.51 and the cheque was signed by Chief Financial Officer Sheila Lowe. I would like to thank her publicly.

I would also have liked to invite her out for a drink or two but £58.51 doesn’t go far in the bar these days.

This week’s crossword clue has come in from Frank Bond who excavated it from the Telegraph Big Book of Crosswords as follows: ‘Broadcast from TT races results (7).’

Andrew Brand, once on the staff of the Liverpool University Marine Biological Station at Port Erin, tells me he has just received a list of maritime jobs on offer which included: ‘Sailing on our US flagged container ships as Chief Steward stateside and international. Preparing three meals a day, keeping the galley clean, cocking for 11 to 13 crew depending on the ship.’

Let’s hope he doesn’t make a cook-up of the job.

Crossword: Scatter.

Andrew Kerr Phillips tells me he overheard the following Malapropism at Noble’s Hospital: : ‘I had an angiety attack.’

On the Mandate programme on Manx Radio the presenter, John Moss, referred to the Minister of Health and Social Care Mr Beecroft. Does Mrs B know about this?

MANXLISH. In the heat of a debate in Tynwald one of the Manxer members declared: ‘We have been led down the river.’ He did not mean we had been led up the garden path or sold down the river. He was talking Manxlish which is similar to Minglish in many ways.

There is more Manxlish to come,

NEW definitions: ‘Dopeler Effect.’ The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

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