Upstaged by a young Whipper- snapper!
The second part of the TV shoot was to be me feeding #1 son the wonderful Heinz sieved carrots, which he quite liked. The camera and the director were up really close with the opened tin of carrots in full view, so I went into nurse mode and wrapped baby in his swaddling piece of cashmere, as was my wont when he was having anything to eat other than the breast – so that his attention would be totally focussed .
‘Oh Pat! Don’t do that.’
I looked at the director enquiringly.
‘Just let his arms be free – it looks more natural!’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes, yes. OK! Action! Oh bloody ‘ell!’ Jesus!’
One swipe from baby and the director’s pristine white shirt was generously splattered with the wonderful Heinz sieved carrot.
Baby goo – goo-ed and smiled his gummy smile. Back to the swaddling!
This time all seemed to be going smoothly when I felt a silent ping and a tingle and knew the milk was coming in.
The director was actually blushing.
‘Er Pat er your buttons have come undone.’
I looked down and was relieved to see the milk hadn’t come through but my shirt was wide open revealing a nursing bra not unlike a straight jacket... By this time I was beyond embarrassment, handed baby to an assistant whilst I adjusted my dress and pinioned baby against my bosom. We carried on – this time without interruption and it was over. Everybody was pleased and when we watched it later on TV it was very smooth and professional looking although I did sound a bit posh. All those years of watching Margaret Lockwood and Phyllis Calvert – no doubt. They even kept the bit where the carrots were knocked over – but without showing the director’s shirt.
As we drove through Chelsea on the way home I remembered that Vanessa- my old nursing pal was theatre sister at a hospital nearby. I asked the driver to take us there and astonishingly, Vanessa was there and we had a cup of tea and a gossip and arranged that she and her husband (a doctor) would come and visit. What a day!
It was the ‘silly season’ when Parliament is closed and the papers are avid for copy so we got a lot of publicity and photographers and reporters were frequent visitors. It taught me that what you say in an interview may later cause you embarrassment. Baby was meant to be as a TV star ‘paying his way through college.’ My husband ‘did something secret in tanks‘. Cringe making!
This appeared in the Daily Mail:
The sponsors who sent Pat a box of canned baby food in the first flush of enthusiasm, may be interested to learn that she has used them all up and refuses to ask for more-‘ because it would sound like scrounging.’
I should hate to find her using another brand ….
After this I got a frantic phone call from the agency and from then on we were deluged with Heinz baby foods for years.
To make the most of the publicity a party was thrown for us in a Mayfair hotel. Other models and their babies were invited and a good time was had by all. Especially the star of the show who was offered a ginger biscuit on a silver salver when my attention was elsewhere and he thought he was in heaven. I had hoped to keep him off biscuits for ever. I decide that after the Heinz contract was over that would be it.
I didn’t want him to become a precocious brat waiting for his next close-up so his celebrity career was short but sweet.