Wendy can’t cook, but Tracey and Mitch can certainly drink


Just a short update here to share with you the craziness that is the Templeton’s household on Christmas Day.

Tracey and Mitch did sod all other than drink their way through a case of my Carlsberg lager. They bought nothing, made nothing and did nothing. My present from them ? Sodding bloody socks. Shove it !

Wendy drank Snowballs and (delete as appropriate) Can’t weight things properly/can’t read things properly/can’t follow instructions/can’t choose the right temperature on the oven/just can’t do anything right.

So this is our wonderful Turkey which only looks slightly less tanned than Mr Cheap as Chips Bargain Antiques Man – and I’d pop him on the nose if he came round as well !

Merry bloody Christmas !

Doreen Baldock’s horrible mince-pies


“Mr Templeton, I’ve got a lovely idea for winning customers over”  said Doreen on Saturday.  “I can make some mince pies.”

“My Mum used to make mince pies”  piped PC Tucknott  “But they tasted shit !”

“Tucknott.  I will not tolerate language like that in the shop and if your Mum heard you speak like that she would clip you round the ear.”

“Sorry Tempo.”

“Don’t call me Tempo, Tucknott.” He did it on purpose when I tried to be authoritative.

“Right Doreen” I continued. “You can certainly make mince pies for the customers, but in your own time.”

This morning, Doreen plonked an Aldi shopping bag on the counter.  Contained within was a Tupperware box with 17 mince pies.

“I wanted to do 20, Mr Templeton, but Archie my cat jumped up and licked three” explained Doreen. ” I wasn’t quite sure which ones he licked, but I took three out.  Would you like to try one ?”

” I won’t right now, thank you Doreen.  I’ve only just had breakfast.”  I lied.

Doreen found a plate from the kitchen and displayed the mince pies in a formation leading to one solitary pie balancing precariously on the top.

“It seems a shame to spoil the display, Mr Templeton.  Where shall I put the plate?”

I pointed to a space near the till  and  watched  Doreen place a plastic sprig of holly on top.  Tucknott was marking up the price of driveway salt following the weekend’s sharp snap.

Charlie Duggan was our first customer of the morning.  He runs his own motor repair workshop creatively called “Duggan’s Motors” and was after some WD40. He  had run out because  Tommy his apprentice had forgotten to order any.  Charlie hates paying me retail for something he should be buying cheaper. It puts him in a foul mood and makes me laugh.

“Morning Charlie” said Doreen taking the WD4o and placing it in a brown paper bag.  “Would you like a mince-pie?  It’s my own recipe.”

Charlie looked disdainfully as the plastic holly rolled spontaneously from the plate and onto the floor by his feet.  He nodded and picked one up wondering if that really was a star shape on the top.

“Mr Templeton thought it would be lovely to thank our customers with a little mince-pie.”  Doreen did a horrible little curtsey thing.  It was bollocks and I had never said such rubbish.

Charlie looked at Doreen in bewilderment and bit into his festive fayre. He immediately  spat it on the floor.

“These are shit, Templeton !” he growled scraping his tongue with his finger nails.  “Give me free shit like that again and I will shop somewhere else.”

I sighed and pointed to Tucknott to mark up the WD40.

He’s done it now ! He’s really done it now !

Well, Colin’s gone and done it now!  It’s one thing to rip your shirt off and shout “You’re all cheats!” after losing a game of dominoes, but no one could have guessed where next  Colin was going to  show his charm.

The evening started as a fairly quiet affair. Three of us; Colin, Steve Bishop and me, chatted our way through a few pints of Bishop’s Pizzle in The Black Bull. Colin seemed on fine form. Then

“Right,” he shouted. “Three more of these and then we’re off for chips.”

“Three !” I spluttered. “I can’t manage three Colin, let alone one. I’m a little out of practise.”

“Poof !” Colin barked. “You’re as bad as Trevor. You’ll be on Sherry soon as well.”

“I think that’s a bit harsh Colin. We’ve had four pints already and I’ve told you I’m trying to save some money to impress a lady.”

“You’ll impress nowt in Yorkshire lad,” he said. “You’ve gone soft !  I’ll order – you start drinking and I’ll finish them.”

I looked up.  Steve had gone.

“Bastard!”  I thought.  I should have seen it coming and joined him, but like a fool I stayed.  It was cabaret time.

“I’m not going to manage any more than two then.”  I protested.

“I’ll get the chips delivered.” said Colin.  “We can eat them here.”

“Colin, for starters no one from the chippy is going to deliver chips to us here in the pub, and even if they did, there’s no way the pub would want us to eat them here !”

He slammed down the first of the six pints he had ordered and started the second.

“I’ll phone.” he said.

Colin then phoned Sheila Foggerty at Foggy’s Chippy.

“Chips please Sheila !” shouted Colin.  “We’re wait for then here in The Bull.

I’m not sure he needed the phone as they could probably hear him the three doors down, but he repeated himself anyway, and a little louder.

“We’re busy Colin.”  I could hear Sheila.  “It’s 10 o’clock and we’re chocca.”

Colin sank the contents of the next pint.

“I’ll clear the shop then !”he  howled.  “How’s that?”

There was no reply.  Colin threw the phone down on the table and lifted the next pint.  He finished it in one and I just knew what was coming next.

He stood up on the bar stool and took of his shirt. He then removed his shoes and his trousers.

“Right.” he said. “Chips!”

And with that he left. There was no way I was going to want to see what happened next.  I put my glass down and went quietly out through the pub back door; through the beer garden and home.

Beyond comprehension

Today I wandered alone again down to The Sandwich Shop (I think Colin must be taking some early summer holidays) Inside the shop I joined the queue behind Dave Powell who runs Powell’s School of Motoring. (How long did it take him to come up with that name ??)
I thought it would be hot and uncomfortable to be a Driving Instructor in this hot weather, but Dave said it was “aesthetically pleasing.” I’m not sure what he meant.
Anyway, inside The Sandwich Shop, young Stuart was serving and Alan was doing his best to move his Quiche along.
“Can I get you a piece of Quiche?” he asked the lady at the front of the queue. “Its lovely; full of Welsh Cheese and a little Italian Herbs.” And then he added “I’ve not met any Welsh Italians.”
“I have!” piped Stuart, “But I can’t understand them.”
“Now hold on” continued Alan, “There was one – I remember. In Fireman Sam. There was definitely an Italian Welsh Lady.”
He paused. “Bella Lissimo,” he exclaimed.”No,that wasn’t it. Oh dear.”
By now the queue was getting longer.
“Bella lasagna” shouted another lady from sixth place in the line.
“Oh yes”, we all said. “That’s the one.”
And then we all went quiet as if we had remembered something really important.

The Sandwich Shop – some crumbs of comfort


Quite often I find myself wandering down to The Sandwich Shop at the other end of Sprodlington with my friend  Colin Marshall, the local school history teacher. He calls for me at Templeton’s Hardware store when he has left the pupils in the auspicious care of the Lunchtime Supervisors.

For me  its an enjoyable stroll down through the town as I listen to Colin tell me of the school shenanigans of the morning. Half way down through Sprodlington we always see the lady from the Post Office sitting in the bus shelter reading a book and smoking a roll up. I wonder just how miserable the Post Office must be if someone can deem it enjoyable to find solace in a tired old bus shelter.

Yesterday, there was no sign of Colin, so I took it upon myself to walk alone down through town to see Alan Carter and Stuart Jeffers in their little establishment The Sandwich Shop.  Amongst the Dandelion and Burdock drinks and Apple and Rhubarb flapjacks, both Alan and Stuart endeavour to engage their custom with different levels of success.

Whilst Alan, who has at least ten years seniority to Stuart, has greater success as he asks customers whether “the weather has been kind to them this week?” or  “there’s something nice in store for them for the weekend?”, Stuart has less natural rapport.

Yesterday, ahead of me in the queue, Stuart was quick to realise that the gentleman ordering was Scottish.

“Are you Scottish?” said Stuart

“Yes I am” replied the chap as he watched Stuart layer the ham in his ham salad baguette.

“Do you hate the way that Andy Murray is called British and not Scottish?” Stuart built.

“No, not really” replied  the customer.

“Oh!” said Stuart and then added ” Some cucumber?”

It reminded me of when Stuart met a customer from Brighton.

“I’ve been to Brighton” he said “But I’m not gay or anything.”

Its official – Sprodlington now really supports England !

At this evenings Sprodlington Chamber of Commerce meeting, a motion to increase the town’s visible support for the England Football team was carried.

From tomorrow all shops in Sprodlington will display England Flags in their shop windows.
“Its great news for the England team and could possibly assist in the important match against Algeria on Friday.” said Alfie Barnett outside the meeting.

Even young Bin, the owner of Dionysus Kebabs said that he would purchase the England Flag and display it alongside his Greece Flag.

No hamburgers today !

Well, I supposed I ought to be used to Wade’s reaction to things by now. Our local supplier of agricultural machinery to the nearby farmers, is renowned for changing his opinions depending on the news of the day or the quantity of alcohol he has consumed.

Just one hour before leaving to spend the afternoon with Wade and his tolerant wide Diane, I have just received a phone call to ask whether I had any chicken in the freezer as Wade has decided he is not serving Hamburgers today on the basis that they are American. He also told me that fortunately he has selected Carling rather than Budweiser from Morrison’s in their rather attractive 3 for £18 deal yesterday. (He popped down there with Mike Spencer who runs the local off license)

No doubt Wade will be burning all the photos from his recent family holiday trip to Florida too.