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SUNDAY 19  MAY 2024

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How cunning snapper Bill won the pancake day toss

By GEORGE DEARSLEY

Pancake Day reminds me of one of my earliest lessons as a (local) newspaper reporter. 


The editor had ordered a photo of "a pretty girl tossing a pancake". Yes, long before political correctness. I was told to link up with a snapper, called Bill. "Ok we can find a pretty girl, " I said. "But can she cook?" Bill, an old hand said: "Leave it to me."  


We drove to a house in Whitley Bay and a lovely young wench opened the door. "We're from the Guardian. Have you got a frying pan. We want a picture, " said Bill, in a rather schoolmasterly tone. 


The girl said she'd have to put on some lippy, but eventually emerged looking even prettier and directed us to the kitchen. "But I can't even boil an egg," she wailed. 


Bill never reacted but began fishing in his briefcase. Out came a circular piece of cardboard, a roll of cotton and a drawing pin. As I got the details of the girl's name and age, Bill climbed on a chair, attached the cotton to the cardboard and pinned the other end of the cotton to the ceiling. 


He then positioned the girl appropriately so the cardboard was floating six inches above her frying pan. Voila. Mission accomplished. (the pic above is a snap from Google, not Bill's original masterpiece, which was in black and white, of course).