I was so relieved not to get lost at Crewe-I think it’s the world’s blandest red bricked station and it feels very unwelcoming. Contrast that with my mother’s reverence for it as a connection point – she passed through it several times in the nineteen thirties when it was filled with of coal and steam and peopled with deferential porters. Women wore dropped waists, cloche hats, Mary Jane shoes; while men such as my grandfather wore homburgs and smoked . As it was , I lugged my spotty suitcase and rumbled around deserted platform nine: it was grubby, functional and Glamourless. I quelled the urge to scrawl 3:4 and attempt to rush Potter and Weasly like into a pillar.
Speaking of glamour I had not just any moment but an M&S moment in M&S of all places! The pleasure of any visit South is hearing Welsh spoken in the cities. ‘Stop gazing !’ My kids tell me but I am so curious about other people’s lives-it must be my Heol Las Ancestry . So I had hugged Huw and to quell the choke and emotion I thought I’d treat myself to some goodies for the journey
one cashier and I sighed with impatience , I mean I had a train to catch! Then I heard this voice like Welsh whisky and honey chatting about the non existence of food in her fridge, train travel , being dropped off. I turned and my jaw dropped. You know those moments when you just want to be coherent sophisticated and interested -well I failed. This was an actress who has an international reputation while remaining true to but not glued to her South Walian heritage .
A hundred TV dramas from childhood reeled through my memory just at the sound of her voice yet I was hard pressed to identify any of them other than I Claudius where she terrified me (the first I recall) and Aberfan -Pant Glas -The Green Hollow only last week.
The screen does not do justice . She is incredibly beautiful and it is that which took me aback. While my jaw dropped, hers is sharp and chiselled and she has the most amazing long neck. She was effortless elegant and so dignified. I kept looking back listening to her chatter and I was so fascinated. I was never a child who said when I grow up I want to be like so and so but I have to say Sian Phillips is one beautiful and intelligent role model, and as she disappeared into the waiting room I was struck by how much passion and drive this woman has. She is incredibly youthful in all the ways that count. So Miss Phillips, this Mrs Phillips had a star struck moment but not any star struck moment , it was a Magic and Sparkle star struck moment . I wanted to phone my mother and tell her ‘Guess who I saw shopping! ‘I wanted to phone my auntie As it was I texted my sister and a friend . Miss Phillips is one seriously cool OAP cooler perhaps than Helen Mirren!