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Article: Berengaria

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    Berengaria

    21 Comments by Harry Nicholson Published on 3rd October 2018 02:55 PM
    I've just written a piece as homework for Egton Bridge Writers' Group. Theme: a visit to the hairdresser's. It is nautical, and mostly true.

    Berengaria.

    I peer through the window. The barber’s shop in York Road looks not too busy this Friday morning.
    ‘Excuse please’ -- that’s a voice at my elbow. ‘Which is best way back to dock?’ He’s Danish – I recognise the accent – probably a seaman. Platinum blond hair and thin beard.
    Directions are easy from here. ‘Turn right and straight down Church Street. All the way to the bottom, then turn left at The Shades pub. It’s a great spot for a beer.’
    ‘Thank you. I was there last night. Have headache today. Now I get lost doing shopping. You are seafarer, like me?’ says the Dane. He’s probably noticed my bridge coat; I should really have it cleaned since I spilled Guinness down the front. The Dane seems a decent sort.
    ‘Yes. Just enjoying a spot of leave after a long sweat in Calcutta.’
    He nods. ‘I like town. This West Hartlepool. I understand people. They speak like Dansk. In London, I can never tell what they say.’ He wanders off, and I think, ‘A pity – he’d be a good shipmate.’
    There are just two customers in the barber's. Heads are deep in papers, picking out horses. Acrid Woodbine smoke drifts around. From my rickety chair I admire the three barber thrones. They are stainless steel and white porcelain. Massive and imperious things with hydraulic mechanism; a bit out of place in this gritty town. On the porcelain base is the word, ‘Berengaria’, in ornate script. I’ve seen that name somewhere.
    The barber runs a lighted taper around the back of a chap’s scrawny neck. He's ordered a short-back-and-sides with a singe. I wrinkle my nose at the odour. The barber then rubs pomade into the fellow’s scalp; it’s fruity and ripe. Yuk!
    Soon, I settle into the capacious black leather embrace of a gorgeous chair. It feels like I'm in the arms of an Antwerp madame.
    ‘You’ve got a healthy tan, sir. Been to foreign parts?’
    ‘Yes, Liverpool to Calcutta and back, and sundry cess-pits in between.’
    The barber prattles on -- as they do. I get bored hearing about his week in Scarborough. ‘Tell me about Berengaria and how you came by this handsome chair.
    ‘Glad you like it, sir. You’ll have noticed we have three in a row. All from Cunard’s RMS Berengaria. The old boss bid for them when she was scrapped at Jarrow, back in 1939.'
    I enjoy the sensation of the warm electric clippers on the back of my neck. Just a gentle purr. So different to the blunt, hair-ripping-out, hand-operated clippers Dad used to torture me with. 'She was a three funnel liner, wasn’t she?'
    'That’s right, and about fifty-thousand tons. German. Began life in 1913 as the Imperator for Hamburg-Amerika Line. Four-thousand passengers and a thousand crew. Never ventured out of Hamburg 1914-1918. The Allies gave her to Cunard when the bloody affair was done. Renamed Berengaria.’
    'And who, or where, is Berengaria?’
    'Ah, well now. My mate has a full set of Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopaedia. So, I looked it up.' He stops snipping, to hold forth. ‘Berengaria, princess of Navarre, daughter of Sancho the Sixth, wed our King Richard the First, known as Lion-heart, whenever it was. Well before my time . . . fourteen hundred and summat.’
    Arthur Mee's! I smile to myself. That's where I’ve read of Berengaria, Princess of Navarre. I wonder what she looked like. I muse on a dark-eyed maid possessed of long, gracefully curved neck, who moves like a swan.
    As I pay the barber, he asks conspiratorially, ‘Anything for the weekend, sir?’

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  3. #11
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    Default Re: Berengaria

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Lead Ted View Post
    Cappy, What is the cost of a haircut in Geordie land these days, I know in Liverpool TOO POOOND !!!!!!!! Doesn't get you a chair these days Terry.
    ##dont know to be honest ted i just use a hand held shaver which cuts at 15 mm.....keeps it short and tidy .....safer than them bloody open cut razors......specially in espana......cappy

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Arton View Post
    Talking of haircuts, the girl friend of one of my mates, worked in the first unisex hair saloon in shields. Shortly after it opened she was cutting the hair of a middle aged gent when she noticed movement under the apron in the crotch area of the customer.Dirty bastard, she thought, first time he gets his hair cut by a young lads and here he is playing with himself!!!.
    She promptly belted him over his head with a hair dryer only to find out to her mortification that what was actually happening was that he had removed his glasses and was using the gown to clean them.
    Rgds
    J.A.
    well thats one excuse

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    Default Re: Berengaria

    Talking of haircuts.A guy in the chair in the barbers says to the barber make it a good one I'm going to Rome to meet the Pope.A couple of weeks later the guy comes back into the barbers the barber asks what did the Pope say,he said who the bloody hell cut your hair said the guy.
    Regards.
    Jim.b.
    CLARITATE DEXTRA

  7. #14
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    Default Re: Berengaria

    Was having hair cut in Plymouth when doing masters. Several chairs and next to me on right was a lt. Commander and when the barber asked if he wanted anything on his hair he replied. Good god man, cant go home to wife smelling like an Algerian brothel. The 2 badge po on my left was then finished and when asked about some hair cream said in a loud voice, yes mate, my wife does not know what an Algerian brothel smells like.

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    Default Re: Berengaria

    We have in our town, population about 40,000 no les than 20 hairdressers and as many nail bars and eyebrow clinics for the ladies.


    Last time I was in such a place, hairdressers, was about 15 years ago.

    Do my own with a set of electric trimmers, much better and a lot cheaper.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    Default Re: Berengaria

    #15. 40,000 in WA John and you’d be in the big smoke . It used to be 20,000 for city status but probably gone up since then. JS

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    Default Re: Berengaria

    Just $10 a haircut for pensioners with our barber plus all the gossip. he's the only one in Cooma, population around 5,000. And he's not a Spanish dancer like Cappy's.
    Des
    Last edited by Des Taff Jenkins; 11th November 2018 at 04:12 AM.

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    Default Re: Berengaria

    It was 1956 and I was third mate of the “Clan MacFadyen” at Bassein, Burma loading a full cargo of rice for Colombo, Ceylon.
    Bassein was not a very sophisticated port and he only things worth buying to take home were paper and bamboo parasols, however while walking through he town I noticed a barber shop and as I needed a decent haircut I stepped inside. The Burmese barber, who was about my age, welcomed me and indicated I sit in the quite large and comfortable chair while he produced a comb and cut-throat razor. When he started, I looked up at a portrait on the wall ahead and realized that it was a photo of a Japanese soldier complete with sword, he also looked remarkably like the barber, so I wondered if he was his dad. I spent the rest of the tonsorial period in a somewhat nervous manner, but the war had been over for some ten years and all ended well.

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    Default Re: Berengaria

    Many years ago I went into the barbers and asked for a Tony Curtis, with a DA
    He shaved my head to the bone,
    I said That's not a Tony Curtis , he says it would be if he came in here.

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    Default Re: Berengaria

    Little Tommy,dad there's a man at the door with a bald head.
    Dad,tell him I've got one.
    Regards.
    Jim.B.
    CLARITATE DEXTRA

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