The Writings of Ingrid Pitt

A Collection of Writings





Battle of Britain










Motor Racing



Pitt of Horror


Sci Fi



Winston Churchill

World War 2

Ingrid's Obituary

Ingrid Says... Pitt of Horror Website Message

June 2005

Ingrid Says....

Ingrid Pitt

I feel I've blinked and opened my eyes to another dimension. Now it seems that the NHS is in fine form, the hundreds of deaths a year from MRSA are all down to someone not washing their hands - now sorted - everyone loves Camilla and adores Charles, the catastrophe of Iraq is in the past and the thousands of people killed, and still being killed, have been airbrushed out of history, the uncontrolled influx of immigrants is good for the economy and the failure of education policies is all down to the parents not teaching their children to eat with a knife and fork. Oh yes! And we can afford to plough billions into the Dome and the Iraq war but can't find the money to keep MG Rover out of the junk yard.

When I was young, in the first half of the 20th Century, I used to hate conversations that began with, "When I was a young girl/boy......." I resolved never to visit that opening on anybody if I was ever in a position to mumble it. But.......! When I was young there were three types of people you believed in utterly. The Policeman, The Doctor and the Teacher. Dixon of Dock Green was not just a character made up by a TV writer. He was the PC Plod on the beat. The cement that kept England civilised. He was respected by the law abiding and the lawless alike. Kids knew that if they were caught doing something that kids do but which is frowned on by their elders, like scrumping and carving their name on gateposts, they would probably get a clip around the ear from the local Bobby and that would be the end of the affair. The villain also knew where he stood. And the message was don't take a weapon with you on a blag or you could end up dangling on a length of hemp one cold and frosty morning. The cops didn't want guns and the robbers felt the same way. Now it has all changed! Policeman loll around, kitted up in the latest designer-wear bullet proof vests or spend most of the day persecuting motorists who are driving 21st. century cars to 20th. century speeds. Respect for the police, at the moment, is at an all time low. But it is not necessarily their fault. They are hog-tied by a population that has lost its respect for the strictures placed on them by the society in which they live.

'When I was a gel' teachers were to be respected and obeyed. They had the means to discipline obstructive children and knew when to use it. The ultimate deterrent either nestled across the top of the teacher's desk or skulked ominously in a cupboard in the Headmaster locker. Everyone knew it was there and knew that breaking certain rules and taboos could get the cane twitching. This, though, was the time when PC was spelt RESPECT.. The teachers respected their position as educators and the children respected their educator's power. Now even Respect isn't spelled respect. There is no doubt that Boys and Girls have to be disciplined in different ways. The worst a girl could expert in the way of corporal punishment was a slap across the hand with a ruler. Their punishment, usually, was more mental. They were reported to their parents or made to perform menial tasks around the school. Boys, on both hands, were subject to the full lash of the cane. It was a punishment but also a source of pride if a boy could take six of the best and walk away without flinching or blubbing. It was considered better than having to write 'I must not swear in the playground' five hundred times. The worst part of the punishment came if their parents got to hear about it. Instead of storming down to the school and punching the teacher's head in or reporting him to the Social Services, the wrongdoers were more likely to get another bout of punishment from their parents. I reckon the old adage, 'Spare the rod and spoil the child' has been proved uncomfortably right over the years. If that sounds like some anarchistic rant by some old fogey who doesn't understand - so be it. But you knew where you were and you knew who you could trust.

Doctors, to me, always seemed to be godlike. They knew everything about the human body and sacrificed their lives for the benefit of mankind. They strode nobly through a dangerous world, braving disease, and the perilous foibles of man, to make a more healthy world. Sure there has always been the odd ones out, the Mengeles, Crippens, Shipmans and their ilk, but they were just mavericks who were caught and dealt with by the ultra-saintly, Medical Councils of the world. They could do no wrong, That was before they insisted on being called Dick or Bob or Wayne and wore cheap shirts and jazzy ties to work. Suddenly there was no more us and the all-knowing Knight of the lancet. They were revealed as just another pool of ordinary, confused individuals who spent a lot of time learning about a subject over which they had little or no control. This demeaning of the medical profession is usually blamed on the NHS. The NHS only pointed a spotlight on the scene and revealed the inadequacies of the profession by opening it up to public scrutiny. If aircraft engineers worked to the same standards as doctors, flying off for a couple of weeks in the sun in Torremolinos would be undertaken only by those of a kamikasi disposition.

Of course Politicians, lawyers and anything to do with professional 'Caring' was always flaky. Nothing that has happened in the last 25 years has done anything to alter this perception. The opposite in fact. Could it be that the low esteem in which the Politicians are currently held by the public has anything to do with the fact that a lot of them are Lawyers and quite a few Carers? I guess Politicians should be truthful, honest, upstanding members of the community. Dedicated to the ideal that they can improve the lot of the common man. I suppose when they didn't get paid a fortune for turning up and acting like a load of school kids injected with monkey glands, that could have been the truth. Now we have our Leader doing his best to destroy the basics of Britishness and trying to turn the country into something that George Orwell would have recognised, I suppose the easy way out is to just make Blair President and let him get on with it. Then we can have Five Year Plans, a Ministry of Truth to sanctify the endless stream of lies, half truth and whimsy which dominates the domain of the politician, a tax system where workers salaries are paid directly to the Tax Office and they pass on whatever they can't use, a Ministry of Love where the incumbents dote on themselves and their supporters and wreak vengeance on the unbelievers and courts that hand out custodial sentences only for 'white collar' crimes because real criminals are to hot to handle. Thirty years ago I remember having dinner with Motor Racing mogul Bernie Ecclestone. He was advocating that the United Kingdom should become a Limited Liability Company and trade openly with the world while at the same time defending our shores and our way of life with the utmost vigour. I wish I could say that I agreed with him at the time but only the passing years have convinced me that what he said, probably as a joke, was an ideal with merit.

So who do we think we can put out faith in now? That's a hard one. How about Pilots. H.G. Wells saw a version of the future as a paradise run by The Aviators. Maybe a bit OTT but at least they daily take on life threatening incidents and, quietly and efficiently, deal with them.

Had a couple of interesting outings in the last couple of months. Both run by the CSMA magazine Motoring and Leisure under the control of its editor, the Scarlet Pimpernel of publishing, David Arnold. The Classic Festival of Motor Racing was held at Brands Hatch in Kent over the weekend of the 14th - 15th. May. The programme was varied and exciting and was padded out with air displays, simulated terrorist attacks and a crash or two. On the 28th May Arnold again strutted his stuff, this time in darkest Sussex at Glynde Place, just up the road from where the Glynde Bourne Festival is held. I loved it utterly. Probably because as I arrived the orchestra struck up Ron Goodwin's theme tune from Where Eagles Dare. What a reception. The show was called 'We'll Meet Again' and to honour it the Forces Sweetheart, Vera Lynn, turned out. She even sang the title tune on stage with the Pendyrus Male Choir. I wish I thought I could be that gutsy if I ever reach the grand old age of 88. Also it gave me another chance for a chat with Carolyn Grace who later gave another thrilling display of aerobatics in her World War 2 Spitfire. I must admit I sneaked off early. The weather was dry and bright - but cold. Just right for the hardy out-door type but I'm too old for that sort of lark.

I'm booked for a visit to Ireland in July for the Dracula Festival, on the 23rd. Hope to see you there. Or at the NEC in Birmingham a month later. Back from Ireland I am immediately off to New York and Baltimore to film Sea of Dust. Tell you about that later.

Have a great Summer and try humming 'There'll always be an England' in your spare time - even if it becomes harder to believe by the day - but then there is that little glimmer from France and Holland which could brighten up into a glorious tomorrow.

The Writings of Ingrid Pitt