I feared for the lovely Thelma Madine taking on the crazy task of employing 10 gypsy girl apprentices, to pass on her sewing and business skills.
Thelma is the nice lady, who designs and produces those magnificently over the top wedding and communion dresses for the well heeled among the travelling community.
I won't for the moment argue the rights and wrongs of non-conformist lifestyles, but as an old feminist, I always wondered if the girls really were happy to forgo their education, and dedicate their lives to hair extensions, babies and their husbands. Suggesting a career path for women in the travelling community was always going to be sensitive subject. That Thelma has found a diplomatic way through the door is sheer genius.
Its also great television, and much depends on her judgement when she chooses the candidates, but she's a canny old bird and I trust her.
Thelma is one of those women, from a certain class and generation, who have a fierce work ethic and a determination to succeed. She has achieved her own dreams, picked herself up, and carried on. As she took the camera around her sumptious home, she hugged her blingy dining chair and said 'I like what they like', and her empathy with her clients became clear. She made no secret of her marital past, leaving in her cute daughter's reference to 'daddy watching football all day', kids eh? Daddy redeemed himself, but then dropped poor Thelma in it again, but I won't repeat what he said because my hearing is not what it was.
I do wish Thelma well. She got her artistic inspiration from the fabulous Gone With The Wind, and there's nowt wrong with that! I think she was the bright one among us, who spotted the business potential of those fabulous costumes worn by Scarlett O'hara. I am sure her keen eye for design picked up on the stunning haute couture green curtain outfit, possibly while ogling Rhett Butler at the same time. I don't think many of us appreciated the qualities of dear Ashley, until later in life.
Thelma has taken many chances through her life, and I sense she is taking a big one now. Good luck to her, she is using her own money to take a chance on giving employment to a minority group. Lets hope it catches on.
I will return to Thelma and her gypsy girls, its gripping stuff, at this stage, who knows what talent may emerge. I kind of like the idea of gypsy fashion on the catwalk.