My sister inherited from our grandmother a musquash coat. In those days it was not frowned upon to wear animal fur, it was just a pity that my sisters’ resemblance to Bud Flannigan was so strong when she wore it. Our ‘Nana’, on the other hand, was upright, forthright and staunch and carried her coat with great aplomb. It was usually taken for airings twice weekly to the cafe at Binns department store, for coffee mornings with the girls; the girls were 70-80 years of age and in competition for the best-dressed lady. Nana would make a grand entrance onto the carpeted floor taking her seat with a casual air, the fur coat bedecked with a lizard marquasite brooch, a silk scarf lightly folded across the pearl necklace, felt hats were a must, leather handbag and gloves, silk stockings and a goodly portion of foundation cream, rouge and a heavy-weight lipstick.
One fateful day, my father ( her son-in-law, Billly) had visited her for some reason and was making his way home through the town centre;it was agreed that he would take her by car into Fawcett Street and drop her outside of Binns.
A short trip by car and he pulled up at her destination; she alighted, pushed the car door shut and her taxi took off from the pavement…..with her in tow!!
Sadly, the furcoat hem had got trapped in the car door and it wasn’t going to let go! So as the car gained momentum, so did the reluctant follower, taking longer and longer strides down the main street in Sunderland; the imagination can have a field day with the apparition that must have been, apparently the sprinter was letting fly with the handbag, trying to keep the hat attached, silk scarf flying in the wind. It wasn’t until the applauding public caught the drivers’ eye that ‘Billy’ saw the fright that was his mother-in-law in full flow out of the passenger window.
The fur coat stayed intact long after it became a Bud Flannigan costume whereas relations between the two relations were at a stand off for some time afterwards.