Living in a Virtual World – My friends part 1.

In reality,  I own my Hardware store in the East Yorkshire market town of Sprodlington and make an honest living (with a bit of poetic license now and again).

A couple of years ago, PC Tucknott, my part-time worker at Templeton’s Hardware told me about Facebook, a place where you can meet interesting new friends. Well I certainly have collected a variety of characters with quirks and intricacies to add interest to my everyday and mundane life.

Joanna – a collector of greyhound Christmas greeting cards. I’m still not sure whether they are cards for lovers of greyhounds, or cards you send to greyhounds.

Jo – a pure expert of wonky angled pictures of sunsets taken on beaches: smiling at life with an eye out for a gathering and glass of something special.

Alison – a tickling balance of someone who can find time to take wonderful pictures of her children, but then just keeps  enough time back to find someone to leave them with.

Zoe – is Zoe ! A pretty lady with an anger for neighbours, parking tickets and a love of Dallas and a footballer called Clarke Carlisle.

Judi – just a friend for everyone. The sort of person who adds a smile to your day, and at the same time might not realise she has been shortchanged.

Mable –  a box of frogs if ever one existed.

Yvonne – is Yvonne ! Unique and lovely.

To my new-found friends – I salute you with an early morning cup of tea.

Templeton’s Temptations – A Lover’s Guide

I am today announcing the impending launch of Templeton’s Temptations.

It should be clear to all that since reading “Pandora’s Box” I have found the key to unlock a woman’s natural desire.  Through my Facebook page I literally have queues of women wanting to get to know me better. Some are new, like Mable who find it difficult to hide their strong emotional attraction to me, whilst others who have lived abroad are even returning back to the UK –  just  to be a little closer.

I’ve decided to share my wisdom and charm to help other less fortunate souls than myself through my new venture Templeton’s Temptations.

Templeton’s Temptations is a bespoke dating service where I will personally help and coach lonely single women to understand how best to make themselves appealing to the opposite sex. By simply sending in a quality photograph I will be able to see whether I can help you, and then for the small cost of an evening meal and some travel expenses, I will coach you on a one to one basis in a restaurant of my choice in the finer art of attracting men.

If, having received your photo I can see that we cannot significantly help you at Templeton’s Temptations we will immediately return your photograph (providing it was sent in a SAE)  immediately with either a voucher for some dental treatment or a facial scrub depending on which we feel will best suit you.

For Gentlemen, we have a small booklet for the price of £35 which has some exclusive do’s and don’ts.

Please contact me through my Facebook page for more information.

Speed Dating – a time I’d rather forget

The rain lashed onto the windscreen of my car as I drove into Beverley last Thursday. Each swish of the windscreen wipers removed the layer of water in the same way perhaps as I was trying to remove a layer from my life.

In recent weeks I had used Social Network sites like Facebook to meet new people, but when one of my new friends suddenly invented a pretend boyfriend, not only did my attempts to laugh off the hurt fail, but I realised I had to be bolder and braver and just maybe take myself into a situation where I felt uncomfortable.

A new shirt sat underneath an equally new tie and the effects of my liberal dousing of D.R Harris’ best Sandalwood aftershave resulted in  stinging tears falling  from my eyes, and I contemplated turning for home. Derek Templeton – No 9 (said my badge) – Speed dating at The Red Dragon, Beverley. I was a couple of minutes late as a braked somewhat sharply to the side of a road and sent a puddle of  water back into the air. It  soaked three ladies standing together on the pavement. Meet speed daters No 2, No 7 and No 11.

Perhaps I should tell you how speed dating works. Simply, there are equal numbers of women and men and after an introduction from your host for the evening, the couples dance their way through 10 minutes of ritual cliché chit-chat until its time to move on. At the end of the evening each date hands in a card with ticks against who they would like to see again and if there’s a match – contact details are provided.

We were taken into a room with tables spread evenly across a sticky floor; no doubt a cocktail of Bacardi Breezers and someone’s pint from the night before. The lights were dimmed and Lionel Richie was introduced through a slight cackle and hiss from the speakers. “All Night Long” seemed a threat rather than a promise to me, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t glance around the room of ladies looking for Wendy.

In my preparation for the evening I had asked my friends for advice. Susie Kelly said “Don’t Go” and Zoe Mumford (her with the pretend boyfriend) said “Wear a heavy disguise”.  I looked neat and  smart. I thought I’d taken more care than the other gentlemen who had come for this special evening “for the more distinguished and older single from East Yorkshire”. One chap came out of the toilets still doing up his zip. I immediately crossed him off my  competition list.

The whole event didn’t go well. Ladies No’s 2, 7 and 11 were not interested in my apologies for literally dampening their evening. I realised shortly into the first date that describing all of Wendy’s best qualities and asking if she had the same, was not the winning formula. Someone told me to make sure I asked open questions. “Open questions using What, Why, How, When and Who will always get a response.”

“So, what do you have to offer?” I asked.


I remember asking another if she ate normally or was one of those strange Veggies.  I got no response and when the last lady stood up two minutes into our date, put on her coat and walked out, I realised too it was time for me to go. I didn’t put any ticks against any numbers when I handed my card in. I felt at least that way I would have a perfect match.

The rain was still pouring down outside. I turned on the car stereo and Radio Humberside did their best to entertain me on the way home. But as the windscreen wipers wiped away  the rain I too wanted them to wipe away this evening and the memory.

Me and my Big Mouth !

Well at least now I know that someone who reads this blog, or is an acquaintance of mine on Facebook has contacts in my small market town of Sprodlington.

A few weeks ago I told you all about Dave Threadmere and how I was gloating about how I had short-changed him for a 7/16 inch and 1/2 inch quad box wrench.

I’d only just popped out tonight for a quick pint of Bishop’s Pizzle in The Cross Keys, when I walked past Devonshire Terrace –  a group of skanky, pebble-dashed, caravan-front-drivewayed, dog-on-a-bit-of-string, rusty metal gate archway type houses.

“Templeton you little shit !” shouted Threadmere as he stormed out of his garage and up his driveway.

“Evening Dave” I answered, looking for somewhere to run.

“You shafted me for that wrench.”

“I may have inadvertently slightly over-charged you on a temporary basis.” I said “But that’s why I’m here – I’ve brought your change.”

“Yeah right!”

Now, I might not have been too clever with my next line.

“Well why  on earth  would I be walking up this God-forsaken road ?  It’s a hole”

And at that point I watched Dave change colour and tighten his fists in rage.

“Anyway,” I garbled. “Here’s your change !”

I fumbled for anything I could find in my back pocket and threw him a £20 note.

“Sorry Dave – Keep the change.”

What an absolute Twat !

Jason’s Tattoo

Even if we are being extremely generous, it would be true to say that Special Constable PC Jason Tucknott’s early career as Sprodlington’s eyes and ears has been pretty disastrous.  In fact, Colin was saying last week that  Helen Keller would have been more succesful.

Yesterday Jason came into the shop holding a piece of tissue over his arm.

“Guess what Andy’s done for me” he said.

“Andy who?”

“Andy ! You know, Andy the hairdresser.”

“I’ve no idea Jason” and after glancing upwards I said “He’s not cut your hair”

“No” he laughed “Andy’s done me a tattoo !”

“Andy’s not allowed to do tattoos any more Jason. You know that !”

It was something to do with a misspelled tribute to the TV presenter Brian Cant.

“It’s fine” Jason continued. “He’s kept his old gear in the back of his shop.”

Jason took the tissue from his arm and I could only stare in disbelief.

“Who’s that ?”  I said  “Who the bloody hell is that ? It looks like Ray Reardon the snooker player.”

“No stupid. Its Dracula !” Jason looked at me for confirmation.

“But there aren’t any fangs Jason. Dracula has big fangs.”

“Yeah, I know.” he stumbled. “We realised that after Andy had coloured the lips in. It was too late.”

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.

Finding the perfect Mrs Templeton to replace Mrs Templeton

  It would be wrong not to start with the word “Regrettably”, but  it does look like Wendy has decided to move in with her sister Sammy, down in Weston-Super-Mare.   I’m not sure where our daughter Tracey is as I asked her to move out too, but I’m less bothered about her.  She sponged from us for too long anyway;  mithered me, and I have to say over recent weeks smelled a little strange (like damp) which I was keen to lose from the house.

37 years of marriage is a long time by anyone’s standards, but when Wendy left, I told her that would be the final time we would see each other.  She has already phoned this evening, but I have blocked the calls.  I did see Tracey parked outside earlier, but I didn’t  answer the door –  Come Dine with Me was on.

And so, I move on to a new chapter in my life. I’ve decided to “go public” so to speak. as it makes it more formal in my mind and closes the door for good. Wendy tried to explain she was not prepared to put up with the attention I get from other women, but that’s not something I can help. We all know there are some crack-pots out there. But there are some lovely ladies too.

Talking of Come Dine with Me, perhaps that is the kind of thing I should do now ?   I could  meet some new friends, and it would also give me the opportunity to talk about Templetons Hardware.  I could offer to cook for people in their homes too. I do a chuffing good Spaghetti Bolognese, chips and gravy.

So, to a nice glass of red I return and a bed with room to turn to follow.

Here’s to happier days.

When “No” means “No” say the good folk of Sprodlington

Well God Bless the lovely folk of Sprodlington for rallying around and getting Templetons Hardware open again for business.

The little town was stunned by the shameful trashing of our family shop, just because I rebuffed the unwanted attention of an overly keen lady.

Sprodlington wanted to send a message – just to make it very very clear.

The day my world nearly ended

There’s two generations of hard, hard graft and effort behind the successful establishment that is Templetons Hardware, but yesterday’s atrocities nearly broke my world.

I remember the lines from an English lesson many years ago “Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.” And yet, in truth nothing could have prepared me for a real life Tsunami leashed upon me from  the revenge of a woman whose advances I’d declined.

My father said to me many years ago when we sat and had tea on an old packing case. “Derek, nothing will take this away from us. Nothing!” And as I looked at him, I promised that I would stand tall against recessions, hardships and difficult periods in life. “Nothing will take this away from us.”

Yet, as I picked up the broken glass and the buckled shelves bent double by the vented spleen of a woman so enraged with  venom, I stood in silence and  listened once again to the voice of my father. The voice that pleaded with me to  keep his name and his  hard work serving the community for a few more years.

And I know that I have no one to pass this store to. I know I have no memory to recall of a time spent sitting on tea-chest with my own son and a shared promise between two. I know that one day Templetons Hardware will be no more.

But for my Father’s sake I will not let this woman close me before my time. Not before I am ready will I lock the door for the final turn. Not until I have thanked every customer who has graced these floorboards will I rest.

You my friends are what keeps me alive. You are my friends; my people; the people I can trust and on whose support I know will always prevail. You my friends will stand with me and say “We beat this wicked woman. We stood together for what is right and what is good. We supported Derek back on his feet and let him stand proud once more. We were the people who made the donations to pay for the new flooring he wanted and the new till and the in store kitchen area with microwave and Dolce Gusto coffee machine. It was us, US, Derek’s friends who lifted his soul.”

Lloyds TSB. Sort code 99-99-93 account number 09746536672.

Thank you my friends.

Bugger off ! We’re closed !

I’ve been working through the night; forced to take drastic action following the real threat of an invasion from uninvited guests.

Yesterday, Susie Kelly from “Dial a Dog Wash” fame announced to all that she could be coming to Sprodlington to pay me a visit. Now, most people would wait to be invited (perhaps it’s a French thing not to)and in this instance the wait would have been terminal. Inviting yourself, well it’s just rude!

The benefit of being a Hardware shop is that I have lots of boards and wood around. Yesterday, I put both my shop and myself into hiding. I am closed today anyway as it’s Sunday.

Ms Kelly is firstly visiting Doris Brazil in Bovey. I worry though, that in her fragile state of mind, whether Doris will recognise her and if she does whether her mind will retain the information. Doris recently confused herself over which of her customers had a wooden leg!

I hope that by taking my shop into camouflage, its enough to keep Ms Kelly at Doris’ and is a clear message that we are a more selective with our customer base here in Sprodlington.

I am going fishing for the day. I’m not saying where though for fear of being stalked again!