Hunger­ford

Berkshire Life - - Front Page - WORDS: Jan Ray­croft PHO­TOS: Mau­reen McLean

It’s a great town to live in

Dis­cover food, fash­ion and a great com­mu­nity

spirit in this buzzing mar­ket town

So here we are in what could be a cross be­tween an ex­otic gypsy car­a­van and some kind of souk full of lus­trous, silky flim­sies and in­ter­est­ing be­jew­elled ‘items’, def­i­nitely NOT talk­ing about Cather­ine, Duchess of Cam­bridge pop­ping in for con­sul­ta­tions (that’s still Kate Mid­dle­ton to you and me), or for that mat­ter that her for­mi­da­ble mother, Ca­role from just down the road, is sup­pos­edly a client.

No, we are at An­gela Knight’s lin­gerie and swimwear shop in Bridge Street, Hunger­ford to get the gen on the en­chant­ing town, and much of this chit-chat is ‘not hap­pen­ing’ while An­gela is scru­ti­n­is­ing my naked boobs be­fore strid­ing off (I imag­ine her rum­mag­ing in a mys­te­ri­ous trea­sure chest) and re­turn­ing with a bra. For de­cency’s sake, let’s record that I am be­hind a cur­tain for much of this, but then it swishes open and An­gela, who hasn’t mea­sured an inch of my flesh, does a sort of ma­gi­cian­cum-per­for­mance artiste thing which in­volves swift sleight of hand where she jig­gles your breasts, and I am trans­formed into some­thing ap­proach­ing a sexy beast cour­tesy of a bra that I’d nor­mally pass by as ‘fine if you’re still in your 20s’.

It fits per­fectly, though nowhere near the size (inches or cup) that I’d usu­ally buy. All we need is a flight of white doves to com­plete the magic act, but there are enough feath­ery things on dis­play here. Ma­gi­cians, of course, use de­flec­tion, and

I’m side­tracked by thoughts of Roy­alty and celeb clients from across the world go­ing through the same in­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence.

“There’s a lot of money in Hunger­ford,” An­gela re­veals. “It’s all the rac­ing syn­di­cates and such like. Then there’s the ‘old school set’ – the old money – and the peo­ple who come from Lon­don.

“Ev­ery­one knows Cather­ine came in here just be­fore the

Royal Wed­ding (Harry and Meghan) be­cause some­one told the Daily Mail. They con­tacted me, and there’s the dilemma – who knows what they might write if you don’t at least try to get the facts straight. Any­way, yes, she did come in, but no one

ac­tu­ally buys here… she just hap­pened to leave with some bags, like ev­ery­one else.”

It’s one star­tling rev­e­la­tion af­ter an­other. Next she tells us: “Ac­tu­ally I don’t even like lin­gerie, but I love what it can do for women of all ages.” All the silky stuff is ‘a front’, she says but that at 52 she doesn’t care if peo­ple think she’s on drugs, mad or both.

Then there’s a lit­tle ‘rant’ about fem­i­nism. Our power, girls, lies in nur­tur­ing males with food and sex, she de­clares. It’s not just spiel, but a life’s work. An­gela’s spent 30 years in de­sign and cou­ture, ‘tart­ing up’ (my words) women of all ages, es­pous­ing the sex­i­ness of ev­ery­thing from raunchy corsetry to show-off mas­tec­tomy bras.

We head to the till where Na­dia Mur­ray, who’s been with An­gela five years, in­vites me to de­posit my old bra in what we might dub ‘the car­rier bag of shame’ hang­ing on a wall – I peek in to see oth­ers’ aban­doned dreary wear and them lob mine in to join the re­ject pile. Re­mem­ber, no one ac­tu­ally buys things, you just leave with bags. I’m wear­ing my new perky ‘up­hol­stery’, so no bag for me, un­like Kate M, but I still feel like a duchess. an­ge­laknightlin­gerie.com

Hunger­ford peo­ple look af­ter each other. We don’t think there are many places where some­one would make this sort of ef­fort to re­unite the owner of a dropped piece of cos­tume jew­ellery with their trea­sure

ABOVE:The un­stop­pable and ex­tra­or­di­nary An­gela Knight

Peo­ple kept rec­om­mend­ing The Tutti Pole, run by the Barr fam­ily for 37 years, for ev­ery­thing from a fill­ing meal to af­ter­noon tea, or just a de­li­cious ice cream as you wan­der the his­toric streets

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