Aqua Manda

Share your memories and stories from the Hertford Christ's Hospital School, which closed in 1985, when the two schools integrated to the Horsham site....

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Angela Woodford
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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by Angela Woodford » Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:04 am

Here's a confession. Once granted the privacy of a bed in Little Dorm, I brought in an amazing device I'd been given for Christmas.

I don't know if anyone remembers these, but it was a hooded hairdryer. You set your hair in rollers then eased a plastic hood over them, attached a sort of polytunnel which clipped into a hot air blowing machine. Horribly uncomfortable, noisy and inclined to heat the rollers to a ferocious scalp-scorching intensity. I had long hair that year, and winding it all up into large rollers was time consuming agony; yet still I persisted. It was my attempt at glamour in an harsh arid climate, glamourwise. The next year, my hair advanced to the Venetian Pageboy - hooray! A simple blowdry.

It took ages and ages to wind the slightly dry crinkly-wavy hair of Cathy Ennis into the rollers to achieve the Onion Updo beloved of the Biba models of 1970. But I like to think that I succeeded, even in creating the obligatory ringlet tendril on each side with my - ahem - curling tongs, which split ends with unregulated heat despite lashings of primitive conditioner.

When I last saw Cathy Ennis at her organ recital, I admit that my mind strayed from finding the correct page in the programme (three extra quid; can you believe it? :shock: ) to noting that her hair was still exactly the same texture as that with which I had once struggled, with the Biba catalogue for reference.

Dear old Pot! She would have had many a triumphant disciplinary moment if she had confiscated many of my possessions in the Sixth Form...

I wonder why those stupid hairwashing regulations were ever put in place? Hot water economy? Girls going to bed with wet hair with no hairdryer? Girls therefore up past their bedtime trying to get their hair dry? It took ages to towel and brush dry many of the more luxuriant manes! Saturday afternoon hairwashing was a Ritual in its way, I suppose... and hairdryers in the Fifties and Sixties were bigger and bulkier and more expensive?

How I remember the mid-week misery of some of my friends.
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by Fjgrogan » Sat Jun 06, 2009 11:34 am

Speaking of hot water economy - does anyone else (?Kerren) remember the water restrictions during the Suez Crisis and presumably therefore a shortage of heating oil? I think I was in 5s at the time which was then a junior ward, so it would be 1956/7. We had a piece of string tied to the chain of the bath plug and were not supposed to fill the bath beyond that point. We also had a particularly obnoxious assistant wardmistress who used to come barging into bath cubicles without warning to check that we were not exceeding the limit.
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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by englishangel » Sat Jun 06, 2009 11:45 am

Panamas and velours weren't too bad as we only wore them for chapel and walks on Sundays, but chapel caps, yeeeeurggghhh. I think you can even see it on the photo of the one in Hertford Museum. (Will post pic when I get home)
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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by GillyW » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:13 pm

Well, I am having such fun catching up on all these threads!
the onl private interview I ever had with DR was when she called me down to her study for the sole purpose of giving me stern telling off because my hair was too thick and curly!! 'You must have it thinned' she boomed. when I ventured to reply that thinning it in the holidays merely made things worse by mid term when the thinned bits were growing out nicely, she told me not to answer back!!
It's still thick, still curly but rather more under control than in those once a week wash days.
And, yes, I remember Acqua manda too - a lovely citrus smell.

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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by Angela Woodford » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:08 am

DR had a thing about hair being "thinned".

I rather like the picture of her sitting grimly at her desk when she was a Young Headmistress - it was in the Old Blue Mag heading her Obituaries. Hacked off, parted on one side with a hairslide, exactly as I wore mine at nine years old. Except I like to think mine was more expertly cut.

Every so often, I spot somebody who reminds me of a Hertford Mistress. It's happened again! I saw DR! :shock: Well, her rear view anyway.

Stomping along the pavement in Exeter with that resolute posture, there she was! There were the sensible 1" high heel dull brown lace-ups, dreary lisle stockings and camelhair coat. The brownish salt-and-pepper set hair! It was uncanny. "DR" passed the inviting display of L'Occitane without a sideways glance, as I was speeding up from behind, desperate to see if the face matched the back view. I drew ahead of her, and dropped my small bag hairbrush in her path. I stooped to retrieve it, turned round and saw.... the sweetest kindest smiley face imaginable, saying something along the lines of "Wouldn't do to lose your brush, would it, midear?".

Well, I beamed back, but was disillusioned. I kind-of-wanted and expected a grim glare which would wordlessly comment on my clumsiness. Nostalgia...

Perhaps it's time to have my hair thinned.
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:37 am

Angela Woodford wrote: Stomping along the pavement in Exeter with that resolute posture, there she was! There were the sensible 1" high heel dull brown lace-ups, dreary lisle stockings and camelhair coat.
Well, I beamed back, but was disillusioned. I kind-of-wanted and expected a grim glare which would wordlessly comment on my clumsiness. Nostalgia...


For me, the give away would have been if the stockings were a pair (remembering staring at the back of DR's legs from a chapel pew and noticing that she was wearing one seamed and one unseamed stocking).


Perhaps it's time to have my hair thinned.
Be grateful that your hormones aren't taking care of that for you :(

xxx

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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by Angela Woodford » Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:56 pm

icomefromalanddownunder wrote:For me, the give away would have been if the stockings were a pair (remembering staring at the back of DR's legs from a chapel pew and noticing that she was wearing one seamed and one unseamed stocking).

That would have been when she was crossing the nave and stood to attention for a brief moment to give a stern, brief nod of her head to the Deity at the altar. (I never dared tell my mother of this... Romish idolatry! :shock:)

Perhaps it's time to have my hair thinned.
Be grateful that your hormones aren't taking care of that for you :(

xxx[/quote]

I really do feel grateful that my hair is still OK. With a good cut, it is still as it always has been, but with a little grey around the edges. This is easily disguised by mixing up 45 mls of professional Diacolor by L'Oreal - economical too - a supply lasts me over a year. It's hair that looks better without any mousses, gels, or other sticky styling products and enjoys being baked in the sun or a good ruthless hot blowdry. It even didn't look so bad during the years of the awful once-a-week Hairwashing Rule!

But sometimes I fix my fringe with a little Elnett hairspray. I love the smell. It reminds me of the glamour and sophistication of Jean Kierans off on a hot date with John Major. What a lovely charming woman!
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by chaosriddenyears » Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:38 pm

Was it Miss Rutherford who went round in a heavy cloud of perfume? I know one of the teachers did.

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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by englishangel » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:53 am

Angela Woodford wrote:
I don't know if anyone remembers these, but it was a hooded hairdryer. You set your hair in rollers then eased a plastic hood over them, attached a sort of polytunnel which clipped into a hot air blowing machine. Horribly uncomfortable, noisy and inclined to heat the rollers to a ferocious scalp-scorching intensity. I had long hair that year, and winding it all up into large rollers was time consuming agony; yet still I persisted. It was my attempt at glamour in an harsh arid climate, glamourwise.
My first year at Uni I was in digs with another first year, and we shared a room. She had been to college and was a year older than me and outwardly was extremely glamorous, all the boys were totally smitten. But if they could have seen her on a Friday night!!!

She had extremely long (waist length) frizzy hair and on a Friday night she would wash it, put it in rollers and dry it with one of those hood dryers. While this was happpening (3 hours or so) she shaped her eybrows, Immaced every other square inch, had a manicure, pedicure and face pack. She NEVER went out on a Friday and when she went on holiday with her boyfriend she was in agony wondering what would happen if she couldn't do all this in the middle of the holiday I think she thought her hair would sprout in unmentionable places). I was much more low maintenance (still am as you can tell by my pictures) AND I had much more fun.
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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by midget » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:26 pm

chaosriddenyears wrote:Was it Miss Rutherford who went round in a heavy cloud of perfume? I know one of the teachers did.
Before your time, but Miss Sinker had a "t" added in her name because of the perfume cloud surrounding her.
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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by Angela Woodford » Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:55 am

englishangel wrote: But if they could have seen her on a Friday night!!!
W-e-ll, Mary, there is a certain pleasure in maintenance, in devotion to grooming; to achieving one's own individual perfection. The delicious anticipation of the tasks which must be done! Epilation, exfoliation, moisturising, manicure and pedicure! So I empathise with your room-mate!

This is enjoyment that I, personally, can put down to a CH education. For example, I still really, really appreciate that I can wear nail polish, without getting berated by Miss Wilson for one layer of unobtrusive clear nail hardener.

I read the other day that Prada have produced a new orangey scent, and sought out the sampler bottle. Disappointment!

It's nothing like as lovely citrus-and-spice as Aqua Manda!
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by chaosriddenyears » Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:51 pm

I agree - it's not very often that I get time, but I do enjoy an orgy of intensive pampering.

Friday nights were somehow more relaxed - the week was done and we went through the ritual of hairwashing, face-packing, blackhead squeezing and general bemoaning of our figures while standing in front of the mirrors between the cubies which - as they were on both sides - reflected us in multiples into the misty depths of infinity. By this time we had Mrs. Cooke in 5's and she left us to ourselves - after all, the next day there was only prep in the morning and after that, free time, if it could be called that at all, but then all things are relative.

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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by englishangel » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:37 am

Angela Woodford wrote:
englishangel wrote: But if they could have seen her on a Friday night!!!
W-e-ll, Mary, there is a certain pleasure in maintenance, in devotion to grooming; to achieving one's own individual perfection. The delicious anticipation of the tasks which must be done! Epilation, exfoliation, moisturising, manicure and pedicure! So I empathise with your room-mate!

This is enjoyment that I, personally, can put down to a CH education. For example, I still really, really appreciate that I can wear nail polish, without getting berated by Miss Wilson for one layer of unobtrusive clear nail hardener.

I read the other day that Prada have produced a new orangey scent, and sought out the sampler bottle. Disappointment!

It's nothing like as lovely citrus-and-spice as Aqua Manda!
I am not averse to a bit of pampering, I use shampoo, conditioner, mousse, bodyscrub, various oils and unguents and I moisturise, moisturise, moisturise and ALWAYS use sunscreen but I am now in my mid 50s and maintenance is required, but 3 HOURS every Friday night at the age of 19/20, my daughter can do it in 5 minutes.
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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by Lizzyfrog » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:36 pm

Jo wrote:Does anyone remember the toiletry trends we had? I'd not been at CH long when everyone seemed to go wild about Yardley's Sea Jade talc. The common consensus held that Miss Morrison also used it. Not long after that, the next fad was Coty's Aqua Manda, which was altogether much more funky, came in an orange container with a tortoiseshell lid. It was supposed to be an orangy scent, though it wasn't quite like fresh oranges - it was a very distinctive scent. As well as talc there was also foam bath and probably perfume as well.

I was reminded of it the other day, much in the manner of Proust's madeleines, by a shower gel that I am currently using - Champney's Citrus Glow. Not quite as strong as Aqua Manda, but definitely a hint of the same scent - brought back memories of bathtimes at Hertford. There was also Aqua Citra, in a yellow container and supposedly smelling of lemon, but it never caught on in quite the same way.

Can it really be 40 years ago??? :shock: :shock:
Oooh, I loved Aqua Manda too - and really enjoyed this thread - thanks for starting it, Jo (I remember you, by the way - hi!) Anyway, back to topic. Thought this pic might be worth posting as a memory-jogger. I reckon Goya (if they still exist?) could make a killing if they reissued the products as there must be a whole generation of us who would love to sniff it again! Originals from the 70s surface every now and then on ebay, which is where I found this photo.

Image

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Re: Aqua Manda

Post by Jo » Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:10 pm

Gosh yes, the picture brings back memories. So 1970s! I'd forgotten about the brown glass bottles - the talc was in orange containers. I'm not on commission from Champneys, but I really can recommend their Citrus Glow shower gel as the nearest I've come to Aqua Manda in 40-odd years.

And yes, Liz, I remember you too, and your sister, though I didn't realise that you were only at CH three years. If you were in the same year as Rosie Kirkup then I think that was the year I ended up in after I repeated the second year. I was in the same year as her sister Sue originally. I know I was in the same year as Judi Osborne, whom I have met a couple of times recently at reunions of our year.
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