Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War – Excerpt

Dr Vernon Coleman

The following extract is taken from my novel `Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War’. Mrs Caldicot has led a walkout from the old people’s home where she has been dumped by her son. She and the other residents have moved into a hotel.


`Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War' immediately caught the public's imagination. Jacoranda Pettigrew's interview with Mrs Caldicot and the rest of The Twilight Years Rest Home refugees appeared on all that evening's news bulletins.

Within an hour of the first news programme finishing there was a queue of reporters from newspapers, magazines and radio stations waiting to talk to the woman who had led what one commentator had instantly and memorably called Britain's first `grey' revolution.

A man in a dark pinstripe suit who said he was from The Sun, a popular tabloid newspaper with a massive circulation, wanted to know Mrs Caldicot's twenty favourite non-cabbage recipes. A journalist in jeans and a sports jacket who wore his black hair slicked straight back and said he was from The Times wanted to know whether Mrs Caldicot thought that the use of cabbage was a socially divisive feature which only affected the economically deprived and was therefore a consequence of the advertising industry's obsession with youth. A girl in her early twenties who said that she was from The Daily Mirror, another tabloid newspaper, wanted to know whether or not Mrs Caldicot agreed that cabbage contained a variety of vitamins and minerals and was an excellent source of fibre. A lady feature writer who arrived dressed in a light grey suit and an Ascot hat and said she was from the Daily Mail wanted to know if Mrs Caldicot thought that her protest heralded the beginning of a major revolution among pensioners. A journalist in corduroy trousers and a jacket with leather patches on the elbows who said he was from a liberal newspaper called The Guardian was quite indignant about Mrs Caldicot's protest and wanted to know if Mrs Caldicot realised that according to his estimates, the amount of cabbage wasted every day in British rest homes would feed the starving inhabitants of Somalia for a week. A girl journalist in a miniskirt and a baggy sweater who announced that she was from The Independent asked Mrs Caldicot whether she thought that the real blame for the problem lay with the farmers or the Economic Community's Common Agricultural Policy. A journalist in evening dress who apologetically explained that he had come from a dinner engagement and said he was from the Financial Times wanted to know if Mrs Caldicot realised that by her action she had threatened a major British industry. And a journalist in a grubby mackintosh from the Daily Sport wanted to know if Mrs Caldicot had any granddaughters who would be prepared to be photographed without any clothes on while holding a cabbage. A reporter from the local paper wanted to know how Mrs Caldicot's age, how long she had lived in the area and the names and addresses of all her relatives.

All of these reporters arrived with their own photographers in tow and Mrs Caldicot rapidly grew tired of posing.

But, despite all this press interest, it was undoubtedly the call from the researcher asking if Mrs Caldicot would appear on the Mike Trickle Television Chat Show the following evening which promised to turn her into a real celebrity. The appearance on the Mike Trickle Television Chat Show was, however, still twenty four hours away and Mrs Caldicot had other more immediately pressing problems to face.

From Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War – available in paperback and eBook form. There is also a film version starring Pauline Collins as Mrs Caldicot. And there are three other books about Mrs Caldicot’s adventures. These are Mrs Caldicot’s Knickerbocker Glory, Mrs Caldicot’s Oyster Parade and Mrs Caldicot’s Turkish Delight. There is also a dramatized version `Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War – The Play’ for use by amateur dramatic societies.

Copyright Vernon Coleman June 2022