Eccentric inventor John Ward designed and made the trophies for the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards at the Edinburgh Fringe.
He can turn his creative mind to anything constructive.
My chat with a London dominatrix in yesterday’s blog reminded him of one of his more eccentric commissions…
Here, he shares his memories of Brenda the Dominatrix…
Some years ago I made some stocks – the three-hole jobby type for head and hands – for a dear lady – Brenda – who specialised in the modes of “indoor sports and correction”.
It was arranged I should pop round for a cup of tea and discuss the stocks and “any other devices that may be of interest” in her line of work.
The tea was quite normal – “I don’t do chocolate digestive biscuits as they give me wind, you know,” Brenda told me – with an assortment of other biscuits on offer, all on a silver tray – “The real stuff. None of yer plated rubbish here!” she said – as we sat there discussing assorted manacles, stocks and “what else you feel would be nice”.
Brenda was in her late forties at the time. Her hubbie Cliff worked as a manager of a furniture store, in the fitted carpets and rugs department.
Once tea and biccies were consumed, she gave me a ‘tour’ of the house and all manner of ‘normal’ household gadgets seemed to have another purpose for her.
The canvas-type icing bag and assorted nozzles as used by bakers, once filled with a mix of gritty birdseed and lemon curd, could be slowly injected in a part of the body normally associated with exit work – “You have to get the mix just right and you have to get the speed right,” she told me. “It comes from experience.”
One item that had me wondering was the small, industrial-type floor-standing food mixer – I had seen one in our local baker’s years before as a schoolboy.
It was used by Brenda to mix custard powder with builder’s-type sand – “If Cliff’s not about when it’s delivered, it does my back in getting the bags in as it comes in half hundredweight bags, so I have to split the bag and carry it through in bucketfuls one at a time.”
Once her client was strapped down, naked with a gag in his mouth on a plastic-covered couch, she applied the said mix with a sort of paint roller – once again, speed was of the essence – until he was totally covered from neck to toes. The whole process took about two hours or so from start to finish, then scraping it off on old bits of newspaper before taking a shower.
I asked: “How on earth would people first find out they get their kicks from this process?”
Brenda leaned over and whispered: “I have three who did.”
In her dungeon – the cellar – she had manacles bolted on the walls – “My Cliff put them up for me with Rawlbolts. He had never drilled a wall before” – and a full-size rack, something I had only ever seen before in films – “The best part of five grand that cost me, luv,” she said, “but it’s got the best non-rot rope fitted to it.”
I made her a set of stocks as requested, then sets of leg-irons, chains and handcuffs to make it all up into what she called “something meaningful” .
I also did repairs and improvements as some of her whips were “not lasting as they should”. This was basically down to the attachment of the whip to its handle or grip and was, according to Brenda, all down to “cheap imported crap” as she could not get decent English-made stuff.
I put her in touch with a saddler I knew who supplied her with handmade whips although I then realised I had shot myself in the foot as my whip repair work dried up.
Sadly it all came to an end when Brenda had a heart attack during a ‘training session’. She was fifty-seven. Cliff told me: “It’s the way she would have wanted to go.”
At the time of her death, Cliff was away on a company training thing.
The poor client was chained up for about a couple of days before his (weak) cries for help were heard.
It was the postman who heard him.
A friendly matey policeman told me this and the same Plod mentioned that the chains and ‘restraints’ were so well-made “that Houdini could not have got out of ’em, mate.”
I kept silent on the matter.
The client requested no publicity.
I got on well with Cliff as he was always keen to learn what power tools did and I loved his description of Brenda: “She’s a little, fun-loving tinker is my Brenda – nothing phases her you know.”
A while after, he sold their home and moved to Portugal to retire early. He said the house brought back too many memories to stay.
I still miss Brenda and Cliff.
She once told me: “Do you know it cost a bloody fortune to soundproof that room…”