Minerva visits the Vale Vaults

Minerva visits the Vale Vaults

Barry Edge responds to the publication of a certain photo that came courtesy of the Vale Vaults exhibition.

Barry Edge writes…

Firstly Rob, thank you for giving us Vale Vaults. Its resounding success is down to your long hours gathering, collating and preparing all the display items, followed by a long weekend as gallery curator. Equally important, my especial thanks to Jo, Freddie, Betsy and Meg for sharing you with us in all things Port Vale.

It is sometimes said that truth can be stranger than fiction. Or that coincidence can be a chance event where some unexpected connection is made…

It is sometimes said that truth can be stranger than fiction. Or that coincidence can be a chance event where some unexpected connection is made. Or, in the words of our very own Caz Wainwright… “It’s all in the stars don’t you know”.

So there you were in the cut and thrust of it all when a lady came up to you holding a photograph and begging the question… “Do you know who this is?” In your blog article titled ‘Who’s that man’ you said you had been fielding questions about former Port Vale players and expected to be told that it was a former footballer.

Did I say unexpected connection? You told us that of the many items kindly shown to you during the ‘Exhibition, the lady’s photograph… “…entertained us the most at OVF Towers.” Ah! I would have given anything to have been standing in the shadows to see the look on your face when told it is none other than yours truly. I must confess though that when I saw it – even with my face pixelated out – I knew exactly the what, where and when as though it was yesterday.

Oh my goodness me! The days when I would part my hair for special occasions – photos too. Plus the days when I wore a watch (I haven’t worn a watch since I started working for the Department of Corrective Services – December 29, 1975.)

My eldest brother Thomas came to Oz in 1950 and, from memory, told us he bought the Minerva mid ’50s after the car manufacturer went out of business. He intended to fully restore the ‘Old Lady’ to as near as possible to her former glory.

By the time we arrived in Mt Magnet, Western Australia in 1960 the Minerva was parked at the back of his home glistening in the April sunshine.

It was a magic moment for me because the only other time I’d seen a Minerva was in a film about Monte Carlo. Compared to today’s technology the engine was 6-7 horse power with 4 huge pistons and it chugged along at approximately 20mph. It was even bigger than my mum & dad’s Rover 10 – and that was a very spacious car.

Rob, when you asked for the lady’s name she said that yours truly will know. Still, I’m guessing that in the rush of it all some names given and what was said would have been just a blur.

So, who is the mystery lady? Who do I thank for this priceless keepsake that connects us across the miles and over time?

So, who is the mystery lady? Who do I thank for this priceless keepsake that connects us across the miles and over time?

Initially I thought the mystery lady to be my sister-in-law Linda who lives in Baldwin’s Gate. Then I thought maybe Carol Jones – a girl I knew from Bentilee – went out with prior to coming to Oz. I did write a few times, but don’t remember sending any photos.

On the 14th November, and by chance yet again, an email from Carol Parton to the onevalefan website advised you that the photograph was taken in Oz, not the Potteries as mentioned in your blog. Hmm, I thought, could this be our mystery lady? Is she the one to thank for a truly wonderful blast from the past moment in time 54 years ago?

It would be the 19th November before I sent an email to Carol Parton asking her to reveal her identity. Following is her reply:

“Hello Barry,

Yes it’s me, little old Carol Jones. My son Neil is a massive Vale fan and was on holiday in Egypt and was sad to miss the Vale Vaults. Having read all your Memoirs on OVF I told him I had a few pictures that you sent to me and might take one along for a laugh. You see I’ve kept them all these years… Lovely to hear from you again.

Carol.”

Coincidence? Unexpected connection? Or simply written in the stars? Take your pick, but for me this has been a most delightful interlude.

By the way Rob, have I ever mention that Carol Parton nee Jones is the only girl I took to see a football match at Vale Park? No!? Well, it’s true.

Barry Edge
Western Australia
November 21, 2014