Recently, I strolled into Mullaney Brothers, a clothing shop that has a
traditional look offering Magee handwoven tweed jackets, trousers,
waistcoats, Barbour wax jackets shirts and knitwear, Bonner &
Kennedy of Ardara aran knitwear, Texier leather bags and Hourihan
wool/cashmere capes to give you a sense of the place. Macy's it is not.
the course of browsing and looking at a selection of scarves, a
pleasant gentleman approached me and we struck up a conversation. His
name is John Mullaney, grandson of Michael Mullaney the original owner
of the store which John now runs. Dressed immaculately in a blue
pinstriped suit, his old-world, soft spoken manner reminded me of my
good friend from times past Wilfred (W.J.D.) Clarke
whom I got to know
in my teens when I was buying Bentleys in London.
John and I
spoke of many things and he was intrigued by my early visits to England.
His eyes lit up at the mention of Bentley automobiles. "I have a story
you might appreciate. Do you know what an Alvis is?"
I smiled and assured him I knew the Alvis brand of cars very well with their famous red triangle badge.
was a time I was looking to buy something special and I came upon an
advertisement for an Alvis drophead (convertible)." I knew the model he
spoke of which would have been a lovely alternative to what Wilfred used
to refer to as executive tin with its Mulliner Park Ward body, leather upholstery and 3-litre engine. "They were asking quite a bit for it and I
hesitated," he told me. "A few days later, I was still thinking about
the Alvis and came to the conclusion that I should go ahead and purchase
the car." Hoping for the best, I waited for the next part of the story.
"When I called, they told me it had been purchased by someone else soon
after I'd spoken to them." One that got away...
belongs at the wheel of an Alvis drophead, if I may say so. It is a car
that exudes the same gentlemanly qualities as the man himself. There is a
line of dialogue in the movie Twelve O'clock High
spoken by Dean
Jagger as he comes out of an English hat shop which went something
like this: "I've bought a hat before but I never spent three hours
Like Dean Jagger's character in the movie, I found my time in John's shop rewarding and it was a pleasure meeting him.
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