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Steve Whitaker
Literary Editor
@stevewh16944270
1:05 AM 12th February 2024
arts

Two Left Feet: Vicky’s Ditties By Victoria J. Parsons

 
It is a tribute to Bradford-born author, Vicky Parsons’, tenacity and skill that she should succeed in bringing her story, or more properly the story of her life, into the public gaze. For here, in a slim volume of reminiscence and anecdote, we have autobiographical exposure at its luminous best: a journey over six decades made up of backward glances, reflections and experiences of a life well-lived, and with a surfeit of good humour.

Rendered in an engaging, immensely readable, style, Parsons’ book has a feel for the comedy in the everyday and for the surreal ridiculousness that inheres to domestic drama. With one eye on an audience who will identify sympathetically with the situations she encounters, and maybe with the West and North Yorkshire landscapes she describes, her story is infused with warmth and sincerity.

...we are seduced by the writer’s self-effacing charm, her intuitive warmth and propensity for finding humour, even in the most unprepossessing of circumstances.
One key to Parsons’ success, here, is her capacity for amused observation. Never less than sincere, her anecdotes will ring authentic with the general reader. Not least on grounds of linguistic honesty: cheerfully littered with the ‘bollocks’ and the expostulatory ‘shit!’ of the everyday vernacular, her vignettes speak of the Gallic shrug and of the incredulity with which we face the absurdity of modern life.

Raised in Cullingworth, the narrative of Parsons’ own life is represented here in the form of a series of witty sketches that punctuate the unfolding story in seamless changes of tone, from the joy of motherhood, to the pain of divorce, to the grief of loss – she lost her second husband and soulmate, Dave in more recent times. But most, we are seduced by the writer’s self-effacing charm, her intuitive warmth and propensity for finding humour, even in the most unprepossessing of circumstances.

A breezy and cheerful approach to the arbitrary vagaries of life, and accompanied by telling photographs of the book’s ‘dramatis personae’, Vicky Parson’s story is never less than rollicking good fun. Flitting with ease between tales of Mohican budgerigars, chapatti flour dispensers, rubber chickens and antics in supermarkets, she is at her very best when also at her most daft. Here, for the benefit of any ornithologists amongst her readers, is the most descriptive take on a poorly upholstered Melopsittacus undulatus that I’ve ever encountered:

‘The budgerigar looked like a little vulture crossed with a plucked chicken. It had two great holes either side of its poor head where its ears should have been. The poor bird was absent of any feathers except for the odd one or two on the back of its head, that it couldn’t quite reach to pluck out.’


Vicky’s Ditties is published by Austin Macauley (2023)