Poor Willie Morris and his pumpkins

Poor Willie Morris had built a beautiful cart display of pumpkins outside of Morris’ Greengrocers here in Sprodlington.  He had chained his cart up outside his shop ready for the main selling day – today Halloween, 31st October 2012.  The lock should have been sufficient –  I know as I sold it to him yesterday. It would have taken a major cutting tool, for instance the 1/2″ Grinding Wheel, Cutoff Wheel, and Flap Disc Assortment for Metal, to remove it – I shouldn’t wonder.

It appears that these hooded vandals took the cart up to the allotment area and smashed them all against the tree earlier this morning.

Shocking news for poor Willie, but at least Templeton’s Hardware have some left for sale today for the otherwise disappointed townsfolk – £4.99 each whilst stocks last.

Just who owns the extra hour?

One of the joys/strains (delete as appropriate) of being a resident celebrity of our market town of Sprodlington is that I am often invited to the townsfolk’ 18th/21st/Engagement/Wedding/ Wake (delete as appropriate)

Last night,  The Cross Keys hosted Amy Whitehall’s 18th Birthday.   I have known the Whitehall family for many many years; her Grandfather “Miggs” (I have never really understood why he is called that) once owned a small Post Office up at the top-end of Dukes Road, until it closed about five years ago.   Since then Miggs has enjoyed his retirement and fishes for most of his day time, and avoids his wife Jean for most of the evenings.  I’m not sure whether Miggs invited me or Amy to be honest – the only time Amy has been in the shop was to buy some tattoo stickers I had on the counter. (I’m always on the hunt for extra impulse purchase opportunities).

The evening was typical enough for an 18th: the mothers and aunts wore make up which once  looked better in the 1985 Avon catalogues from where  they were purchased.  The fumes from the distilled perfume made many an eye water.  Uncles, brothers and  cousins  competed for best Sovereign ring and gel-back look combination.  The only difference between them all was ear-ring combination; left, right or both.  One young lad had holes so big you could poke your fingers right through. I imagine that Father’s Day in this family causes total confusion.

The Cross Keys stays open until 2am on a Friday and Saturday night although most leave at 1:30 for final scraps at the Donar Kebab shop at the bottom end of town.  Last night, or more accurately this morning, there was total confusion.

At 1:55am  the DJ,  Amy’s “Uncle Dave” started to slow things down.  We had done “High Ho Silver-Lining” and a Robin Williams number – the “Entertainment” one.   Dave started to play “New York, New York” by Frank.

“Woah, woah, woah !  We’re not going anywhere yet!” shouted Amy’s brother Lee having grabbed the microphone.  “The clocks have gone back and its only 1am.

The crowd cheered, although I imagine 80 percent had no idea why or for what they were cheering.  Dave pressed the pause button and looked over at the bar for clarification. It was clear that he hadn’t even realised that the clocks were changing.   There was a hush as all eyes fixed on Steve Trimble who was behind the bar.

“We clear out at 2am folks” he said.  “Just before the clocks turn back.”

“Bollocks” said Lee.  “The clocks have already gone back. Google it someone!”

“Lee, we are shutting at 2am and that’s it mate!”  Steve replied, realising that he had no allies in the pub, apart from  the cheap-looking push up bra’d bar girls who looked shattered.  They always did.

“The clocks go back at 2am, Lee”  someone shouted from the back of the room.

“What time is it now?”

“2:01am, I mean 1:01 am.  We’ve got another hour!”  hollered the voice from the back of the room.

“Hang on there now.”  DJ Uncle Dave barked, having grabbed control of his microphone again.  “I don’t know what to play, I’m at the end of my play-list.”

“Just play the last hour again Dave” the voice shouted.  “No one was listening anyway”

“Wanker!” barked DJ Uncle Dave.

Miggs and I gave each other a look .  It was time to leave.

Bloody hooligans



I employed PC Tucknott at Templeton’s Hardware mainly because he was cheap, but partly because  his part-time inclusion as a Special Constable (prior to the Scout in a headlock incident) would help with security. But the lad is a bloody idiot.

On Friday of last week, Tucknott biked to work and chained his bike to a lamp-post outside “Bitz and Pizzas” – he lost his key.  I offered to sell PCT cutting equipment, suitably docking the amounts from his next six month’s salary, but he said it would be fine.

Yes, in less than two weeks his bike resembles something that would normally be found in Dean and Kylie Smith’s front garden alongside the washing machine, broken garden chair, fag butts and dog shit.

The day of the big knickers.


This morning I am still in recovery from the thrills and spills of last night.

The evening started in the best way possible: my daughter Tracey and her boyfriend Mitch were out for the evening which left Wendy and I alone.  I recommended a little jaunt to “Bitz and Pizzas” our local Italian, but Wendy suggested we went to The Cross Keys instead for a quiet drink.

The pub was remarkably quiet and Wendy took a seat in the corner of the public bar and I ordered a Spritzer and a pint of Feltcher (a new local brew)  together with  two bags of Pork Scratchings.  I sat down and  looked and Wendy – she looked as lovely as she ever had – her new highlights reflecting the flickering lights from the “Who wants to be a Millionaire” machine.

We talked and we talked. Then we talked and we talked.  We talked about the good times and we talked about the difficult times.  We spoke about the past and we chatted about the future.  My eyes moistened as Wendy said she was happy living with me and that moving back was the best thing she had done. It was time for us to go home.

I’m not going to go into detail about what happened for the rest of the night, but let’s just say I awoke with the soft feeling of duck down feathers under my head rather than a cushion.  I woke with a smile.  The smile seemed etched on my face as I climbed out of bed, slightly aching, but with a warm feeling inside.

I glanced at Wendy sleeping peacefully, content with her world and then I glanced at the floor.  I saw what I thought was a small parachute; a tent perhaps, big enough for a small family ?  It was the “big knickers” – I had always wondered when the big knickers would move into Chez Templeton and they had arrived quietly and gently and without a huge statement. “They could stay”  I thought.


When children won’t leave home . .

Starting when she was very young, I tried to show my daughter Tracey that she was not a particularly welcome addition to the Templeton household.

Her arrival, nine months after either a power-cut or my birthday (I forget which because both have proved equally exciting over the years) was akin to a late tax-demand from the Inland Revenue, or finding that someone had activated an automatic subscription renewal for a purchase you  didn’t want in the first place.

I told Tracey she was named after an American actor, Spencer Tracy and that both he and I recognised that alcohol was clearly an option to numb the pain;  his to hide the guilt of a deaf son and mine to regret  . . full stop.

I did hold a party around the time of Tracey’s 21st. Not to celebrate her birthday, but instead to celebrate she had moved out. I forgot to invite her anyway. But like a bad smell (and she does have that too) she has returned to haunt me as part of the deal when my wife negotiated her own return. I had to agree to accept Tracey back if she requested  –  it took one day for that request to be made.

I now find myself sleeping on the sofa, with Wendy lying diagonally in our matrimonial room, and Tracey back in her own bed. To date, the scattering of dog fleas and itching powder in her snore-pit have failed to move her on and I am left pondering my next steps . .

Trim and Proper shuts down!

There was uproar in Sprodlington as “Trim and Proper” the new Gents’ Barbers, shut its doors less than 3 weeks after opening.

Marc Duvall (I don’t think that’s his real name) arrived in Sprodlington from Australia earlier in the year with claims of having run a successful business just outside Sydney.  Most of the people of Sprodington either cut their own hair or go and see Joe Harper  in his creatively named “Harper Barber Shop”

However, nine year-old Josh Samforth whose Mum Tina works in Pretty Petals the florists, persuaded her to take him to see Marc. She brought him into my shop just after they had fled his seat after Marc has started  to “just tidy up with a No 5 all over.”

Clearly Marc Duvall is more used to shearing sheep, and after taking Josh’s photo, I sent the little lad down to Joes to see what he could do with the dreadful situation!

PC Tucknott the Urban Warrior

PC Tucknott was chatting to Stevie Watts outside the shop this morning.

“Wos crackin’ Tucknott?  Yoos deep man, and I’m jus ya dawg.”

“That’s foreal Stevie,” says Tucknott or PCT as he now wants to be called. “No half steppin’, and I’m just a lil playa!”

“Ha ! Right yeah” goes Stevie  “You no fly guy – you fakin’ jacks”

“Easy” says PCT “Don’t dis me ‘coz ma crew will clock ya.”

“Yeah, I’m throwing bolos!”  Stevie adds.

I walked outside.

“Tucknott, get in here and stop talking like a bloody idiot or I’ll phone your Mum”

“Enough said!”

“Ask Derek !” – a NEW 24 hour service !

Derek Templeton (that’s me) is going plural !

Having been inundated with requests for membership of the online dating consultancy “Templeton’s Temptations” I have realised that I have sold myself considerably short. I’ve been far too limited with my reach to help the population of Britain, France and in fact the world. For that reason I have decided to launch “Ask Derek!”

I have such a diverse span of interests and knowledge. Recently I have been asked fashion advice from a lady living in France; a young student also asked my advice for an essay on the theatre and of course I am continually overwhelmed with questions about relationships.

“Ask Derek !” is a new 24 hour service* where people are free to ask me any question and I will do my best to provide an answer. It could be advice about a relationship, or a fashion style. Perhaps a meal and wine combination or a question about which animals deserve to be saved first in priority order. The choice is yours. (It’s a bit like Ask Jeeves, but better and without adverts).

Initially “Ask Derek !” will be a free service with no subscription charge and adds to a growing list of services offered from the expanding Derek Templeton Corporation. “Ask Derek !” is available through Facebook and also Twitter @derektempleton1

  • Hardware Stores – Templeton’s Hardware, Sprodlington
  • Care in the Community – currently mentoring PC Tucknott, Sprodlington’s Special Counstable.
  • Creative inspiration – source of shop names in “The Stillness of Time Travel” by AJ Maddicott
  • Relationship Counselling – Templeton’s Temptations
  • 24 hour* advice service – The NEW “Ask Derek !” service.

Derek Templeton

*there are no guarantees that I will be answering questions 24 hours a day. Whilst they can be asked 24 hours a day – I will answer them when I get around to it.


Sometimes you have to be honest . .

Yesterday afternoon I collected my Farah trousers from the dry cleaners. Some may recall that when I took them in recently, Molly Pope declared loudly “There’s rather a large stain on the front, Mr Templeton.”

Molly’s reasoning for this outburst was that she had not been selected to join Templetons Temptations – my new one to one dating consultancy. Applicants have to send in an up to date photo and if I think I can help them, they take me for a meal at a pre selected restaurant.  Here I help them with tips and advice on how to be more attractive to men.  I am an expert since I read the free bits from “Pandora’s Box”.

Molly clearly wanted, and needed help.  But I had to be honest and tell her there was nothing really anyone could do.  Now, my followers know I have a good heart and I had already decided that when I turn an application down, I still wanted to help if I could.  Therefore, unlucky applicants either get a voucher towards the cost of dental treatment or a free face mask.

I tried to be kind to Molly.

“You know what Molly,” I said as she looked towards me in a slightly menacing way.  “I usually only give ladies either the dental voucher or the face mask.  But in your case I want to make a generous exception as you need both.”

“F**k Off Derek.”  Molly shouted (I apologise for the language) “And try and not p*ss on your trousers in future.”

Wow! What a launch for Templeton’s Temptations

I wonder whether Dyson realised just how big his vacuum thing was when he invented it?  Well I think I have something just as exciting with Templeton’s Temptations, my new personal one to one coaching advice service for helping ladies understand their gentlemen friends better.

Already I have been swamped with requests about what clothes ladies should wear on a first date, or what questions they should ask.

I’ve even had ladies fighting over their membership numbers !

What a launch !!!