Posted by: Chris Wright | June 18, 2008

Perry Gets A Shave

There are few things in a gentleman’s life more bracing than the close encounter with naked steel afforded by a visit to Rutherford’s Hairdresser. A traditionalist in every sense of the word, this trusty barber goes about his business with brisk efficiency at the bottom of the market place next to the sweet shop.

The doorbell chimes as I enter the confectionary to equip myself with a range of fudges and peppermint bullseyes. The one legged proprietress wields the scoop with a dexterity belying her dreadful injuries – apparently sustained one harvest on the estate. Rumour has it that the right quantity of cider adds a certain sparkle to the eye – unfortunately for poor Beatrice, it was the wrong quantity of cider. The fall into the threshing machine was precipitous and her life was only spared by the timely intervention of Greaves, the farm labourer who in those days was a nimble chap, if absent minded and as Beatrice was to later attest, generous to a fault.

Equipped with the Racing News and a bag of Beatrice’s superb fudge, I enter the barber’s with keen anticipation. Rutherford approaches nervously, as unctuous as ever, possibly mindful of the time he unwisely offered me ‘a little something for the weekend’ and found himself on the receiving end of his own infernal electric trimmers. Sergeant Bullivant was very understanding at the time and the magistrate sympathetically recommended me to something called ‘Anger Management’ classes.

I’d never heard of such a thing and I was certainly not inclined to tolerate being patronised by a pack of perfumed window-dressers purveying nonsensical drivel at the behest of the nanny state. Miss Harbottle though was charm itself, arriving on a moped she insisted on referring to as ‘Percy’ she rattled through the lesson in double quick time and then suggested we repair to a local hostelry, there to imbibe a rather splendid cognac.

The Corvoisier Initial Extra apparently contains eaux-de-vie, the mix of aromas redolent of mushrooms with cigar leaves and the merest hint of oriental spices – Miss Harbottle insisted on cinnamon, but acknowledged the presence of vanilla and amber after several attempts. Memory failed me at some point that afternoon; suffice to say, on waking, my head throbbed in a manner reminiscent of my time on the Somme and of the divine Miss H there was no trace except a solitary garter festooned around my nethers.

Ensconced in the barber’s chair, the Racing News to hand and the comforting sound of Rutherford stropping his razor with grim determination in the background, I take the opportunity to survey myself in the mirror. A little greyer than last year certainly, but the pride and joy adorning the top lip is lustrous, vigorous and manly in every aspect. Sensing that all is right in the world I sit a little taller in my chair, relax and abandon myself to Rutherfords careful ministrations.


  1. What a strange and compelling voice! I’ve started reading with this entry and working my way backward. Is that sane? Is it safe? My knowledge of the material is limited, making it hard to separate texture from parody in a few places, but the words alone are fascinating. I’ll point some of my wine-authority friends in this direction.

  2. Oatenshaw is quite obviously the yardstick against which all moral value can be measured.

  3. @ Gerard – thanks a million, it may not be safe, sane or even sanguine. Cheers!

    @ Natalie – of course his early experiences at the hands of the monks are to thank for that 🙂

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