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Bons Mots from the Oldie Literary Lunch

Blog | By The Oldie | Feb 13, 2024

Photos by Neil Spence Photography

Ysenda Maxtone-Graham, author of Jobs for the Girls: How We Set Out to Work in the Typewriter Age

On school dinners: I can tell what every woman around this room had for lunch at school – stew and jam roly-poly. The stew was also known as: pterodactyl bones, dead man’s leg, granny’s leg, matron’s leg.

When asked about going on holiday in the 1950s, Nicholas Soames said, ‘Abroad? No one went abroad except to fight a war.’




Henry Jeffreys, author of Vines in a Cold Climate: The People behind the English Wine Revolution

I had thought all English wines were made by some chap called Dominic, in the city with a golf umbrella and a branded gilet.

English wine making is a bit like Dallas, on the South Downs, or more like Howards' Way.

In the 1950s, Punch said English wine needs 4 men to drink it: 2 to hold him down and 1 to pour it down his throat’



David Kynaston, author of A Northern Wind: Britain 1962-5, on the myth of the liberated 1960s: While the Stones played Hyde Park in 1969, a pub in Goole, Yorkshire, wouldn’t serve a woman if she was wearing trousers.