Today I had lunch with a very tall, attractive, blonde woman who once asked me to take very, very good care of her Flaps.
Quivering and furry, it was a job that required every ounce of the tender loving care you’d expect.
Why anyone would want to call a pet rabbit Flaps is still beyond me. But then that’s Jade Beecroft for you – always a wee bit unorthodox.
When she joined us at Deadline Press and Picture Agency from the Sheffield Star she brought a much-needed touch of glamour to the operation. Since she bore a passing resemblance to Paris Hotel Heirhead, we quickly nicknamed her Sheffield Hilton.
She also brought a great sense of humour, a wicked line in put downs, a mean ability to roll a cigarette. Oh – and her rabbit, Flaps.
Apparently there was a strict “No Pets” clause in the contract for her rented flat. Which meant that every couple of months, when it came to landlord inspection time, Flaps had to be tempted into her cage and transported to spend the day in our office.
As well as being a right good news hand, Jade turned out to be a top operator when it came to spotting and writing features for magazines like Chat, Bella and Take A Break. So when she handed in her notice to move to London we were gutted.
I still remember the tear in my eye as I penned the most glowing job reference I’ve ever written. Today Jade informed us that all the staff in the London office where she worked were also treated to an occasional glimpse of Flaps. Turns out Jade had the same landlord issues in London as she’d endured in Edinburgh.
Again though, Jade landed lucky, with another boss who wasn’t averse to providing a bunny haven (Isn’t that a whisky?). As Jade tells it, her boss in London was a colourful (read mad) Polish woman who made all kinds of squawking nosies as she chased the rabbit round the locked boardroom announcing to Jade: “I love your leetle Flaps. Let me kees your beautiful Flaps”.
Quite a picture.
That job, as editor of the BUPA magazine, helped land Jade the position she was really after – health correspondent on the Derby Evening Telegraph (Cue the bad Oscar acceptance/footballer’s transfer speech: “My whole life I’ve wanted nothing more than to be the health reporter on the Derby Evening Telegraph!”).
She’s enjoying a great run of stories at the paper, including regular splashes and no doubt is roundly feared by the penpushers who run the two local Primary Care Trusts. She’s also met herself a very nice young chap who I met over lunch. Neil is a civil servant (didn’t I feel daft when I stupidly asked the 25-year-old, “So are you a lifelong civil servant”. Understandably the look he gave me was more pitying than withering).
He’s also a very lucky lad. When the civil service relocated him from London to Sheffield (to ensure European grants are properly distributed and used) they paid him a handsome relocation fee. Then when his home was flooded a few months back (ok, that’s not so lucky) he landed on his feet when the insurance company agreed to replace everything and also put him up (until next April) in a huge, luxury city centre apartment. And now he’s landed Jade as well. Jammy sod.
The happy couple are spending a week in Edinburgh courtesy of the good people at VisitScotland – and hopefully Jade will be writing all sorts of lovely things about the city.
Thankfully, I had the foresight to phone ahead and make sure there’s no rabbit on the menu. However, I baulked at advising Jade to keep her Flaps out of sight.