From a man with a clipboard. Now you may not know this, but it is well known fact amongst the shopkeeping fraternity that men with clipboards always spell trouble. They usually come from the council or one of the utilities. And thus they use them as a badge of office, as if the very act of bearing a piece of laminated cardboard raises them above normal mortals, when in fact many of them turn out to be pusillanimous nincompoops. This particular pusillanimous nincompoop turned out to be from a council sub-contractor Safetrain Ltd, according to his card , which was even worse: And he had come to talk to her about health and safety training.
Having secured a minimally polite greeting from her, he began his sales pitch. Your staff, by law, should be trained on how to identify these and minimise the risks. And you will need to complete the risk assessment document X. Shopkeeper made the ultimate risk assessment the day that he married me. How many local traders have you conned into signing up for this anyway?
And the funeral directors at the end of the street. The Telephone … Mr. Shopkeeper is very fond of his technology. And he has a Blu-Ray home cinema set-up which utterly mystifies Mrs. And he has an obtrusive video camera that seems to follow them round everywhere. But his pride and joy is his state-of-the-art 29G phone.
He always makes sure he has the latest upgrade, the most happening apps, the most young-executive leather case. She finds his enthusiasm sweet, and beams proudly when he talks specifications and speed. Until, that is, that he expects her to join in, to affect an understanding of said technology, or, worse, pretend to enjoy playing with such. Today was the day that he collected his much anticipated new iPhone. She knows how to change the jingle on it, and how to text just about , and add numbers to the phone book. And that is that, for that is all she needs to know.
Because, as she is never tired of pointing out, she is a shopkeeper. If someone wants to communicate with her, she is behind her counter pretty much seven days a week. And when she is not behind her counter she is all done with communication. Does it talk to salesmen, run the shop to give me a day off, organise the stock rotation and clean the fridges for me?
But encouragingly she did use it ring him later from downstairs to tell him that he would be making dinner that evening. Little did he know that in her mind it was just a very posh intercom. The Strip Club … Of course Mrs. She does read the rather boring missives from the council, you see.
She took the plans with a pinch of salt: Might even generate a little excitement along the high street, boost the night time economy, at least help her to sell extra ciggies and chewing gum. Most of her fellow shopkeepers were similarly unperturbed. After all, nothing could be as riotous as the bingo hall which was shut down after an ugly incident involving a pencil, a toupee and a chair leg. Anyway, today this very serious, rather spotty young pigeon-like woman popped in clutching an attache case. This woman did not look like a pole-dancer, private or otherwise.
It was probably rather rude, but in truth she had written many letters campaigning on various issues in the past, and this was the first time a councillor had deigned to visit her shop. It was true that the parade was in one of the less salubrious parts of the borough, but surely that should have generated more civic effort rather than less? The poor school children up the road, the parking issues it will create, the denigration of women, the crime!
Public morality is threatened. Would this be the public who swear, spit and urinate in the street, no longer have the common decency to say hello to shopkeepers, rarely help little old ladies in the street, wear their trousers half down and their vest tops half up, and seem to have little respect for anything?
Or would this be the public who have four cars in their driveway, live the other side of the railway, and only cross it twice a year when they experience supermarket fail? If you are talking about the regular public who shop in the high street, and the shopkeepers who work here every day: If it creates parking issues we will have had a result, as the council has proved to be spectacularly blind to the problem until now.
As to the denigration of women, well this is hardly a new problem: The difference now is that this is quite often a career choice for women, and that many regard themselves as artistes. And as for the crime? Really, I believe that a few louche men in the area are the least of our worries.
The extra traffic might even drive down existing criminal activity. A Power Cut … Being a bit international, like, Mrs. Shopkeeper has lived abroad. Shopkeeper is actually from abroad. The truth is that things usually operate a lot better over there than they do over here. Over here ought to be really efficient, as befits what is still a relatively well-known and well developed island in the 1st World in the 21st Century.
Stuff breaks too often. Utilities are frequently inutile. And so today, when all the lights went out, and the till faded, and the music died, Mrs. Shopkeeper, who has been known to jump at her own reflection in the mirror, barely raised an eyebrow. She reached under the counter for her pot of important things and produced a few candle stubs. She did briefly contemplate calling the electricity company and venting some spleen, but as spleen-venting usually left her feeling tearful for the rest of the day she contented herself with making angry bunny shadow-puppets on the wall behind the till.
In fact a wee power cut was little inconvenience to Mr. And in the flat their hot water and cooker were all gas operated. The worst thing about it all was that the inutilities only paid compensation after 24 hours of outage. Today the High Street traders were subjected to a mere hour of powerlessness. Barely enough time to muster any real anger, let alone for Mrs.
Shopkeeper to start planning a nice romantic candle lit supper…. In which someone offers to regenerate Mrs. To this councillor or that. Nice things to brighten up the High Street. A sculpture or two. Money too, as money is always good. The next meeting of the HISTA is but a few weeks away, and she is very aware of the fact that she has little to show for her breezy Pollyanna-esque rhetoric.
She was even starting to wonder if a more pedantic, plodding approach, a la Mrs. It is, after all, just about quotia and box ticking, and neither councillors nor their computer programmes could be expected to show any imagination with regard to the issue. She was therefore very surprised when the little man cleared his throat in a manner that only council officials can muster. In his book, regeneration could only mean one thing: It also caused Mrs. Once they had recovered their composure, the officer explained that as EEC funding was involved they would like to make an official presentation of the money so that they could document it.
He used big words such as heritage, and sustainable, and conservation, mostly randomly as far as Mrs. This would have been appropriate had he have been talking about a historic thoroughfare, but in fact the high street in question consisted of two rows of particularly nasty examples of 50s — 70s architecture featuring a lamentable amount of mock Tudor beams. Anyway, the upshot of it all was that Mrs. After the little council man left, a big grin spread across Mrs.
ABC would never forgive her for this oneupshopkeepership. And then, just as suddenly, she began to frown. A Pair of Anniversaries … Today is kind of a big deal in the Shopkeeper household. You see it is the anniversary of both the shop opening, and Mr.
In different years of course. Just in case you thought that they opened the shop and got married on the same day. That would patently have been silly. The shop was opened exactly ten years ago, and as it is their joint creation they both take much pride in celebrating its birthday each year. Even though it is but a barely-profitable and slightly comical cornershop in suburbia. So each year there are balloons and jelly and ice cream for the customers, and usually a few special offers of the BOGOF variety. Cake is taken round to all the neighbouring shops much to their general bemusement.
And Master Shopcat gets to wear a ridiculous bow round his neck. The wedding thing came about because of the shop thing. Anyway, the conversation between Mr. You mean YOU want a holiday. I do indeed — but that is not what I meant. I know this because I found your electric screwdriver in the fridge yesterday, and the butter in your toolbox. Do we have to talk about this again? Not quite sure what doing, but hey. And important is relative. What a terrible idea that would be, eh? All because the lady wanted a holiday. Today was their fifth wedding anniversary. And tried to work out what stunt they would need to pull in order to take another holiday….
In which the shop closes for two whole days … Mr. Shopkeeper open their shop for around days a year. They shut on Christmas day and Boxing Day. And so the 25th and 26th should be much cherished days of rest for them, albeit festive, bauble-adorned rest. Except, somehow, this never happens. This year Granny Shopkeeper decided she would come and stay. This decision was at the very last minute followed by the announcement by Mr.
This puzzled both of them for a while, but eventually the invitation was traced back to a throwaway comment by Mr. In all, twenty guests were coming to help Mr. So Christmas Eve saw Mrs. She also spent a while in the attic making a lot of noise before appearing with a big armful of cellophane wrapped boxes. There were mugs with coffee in them, mugs with marshmallows in them, mugs with shaving foam in them, mugs with toys in them and mugs with cupcake moulds in them. These were dumped in front of Mr.
Shopkeeper, who was rather cross at this interruption to the Only Fools and Horses Christmas Special Repeat, and he was instructed which one to wrap and for whom. This had the effect of making her look like she was really quite drunk, but Mr. I was planning to buy all their Christmas prezzies on Boxing Day, but I have not been given the luxury of time. So this is Operation Recycle. Christmas Day went off very well.
Well, as well as could be expected when twenty two people sat down for lunch at a table designed for six, in a pokey two bedroom flat above a shop.
Everybody seemed to love their mugs, notwithstanding the fact that Mrs. When they had all gone home, and Granny Shopkeeper was tucked up in bed, and Master Shopcat was asleep under the radiator, Mr. It had been a good day.
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Worried that it was the alarm people, Mrs. Re-open on the 27th, at noon. Have a good day. This proved to be the first of many such calls, so they took the phone off the hook. She doubled back inside, pulled up her hoodie, wrapped her face in a scarf, and did a rolling breakfall out the back way to avoid being detected. December 6th — 24th Shopkeeper would like to apologise for the temporary lapse in diary-keeping. This has everything to do with it being Christmas and she and Mr. Shopkeeper may love Christmas. But there is a definite art to seasonal merchandising and parcel wrapping, and Mrs.
She shows not a scrap of aptititude in this department. But does it stop her trying…? Today she decided that she was going to try and assemble some hampers. How hard could it be? So she purchased a selection of wickery things and stripey cardboard boxes, and a box of assorted ribbons. She also paid a quick visit to Flora Flowers and persuaded the latter to give her a great wad of cellophane. The first thing she discovered was that you need an awful lot of padding to make your hamper contents sit up and look pretty.
Her first effort comprised tea and biscuits and sugar and things, and looked rather good. Until she tried to wrap it. She seemed to have used all of the cellophane and half a roll of sellotape on just one hamper…and it looked utterly ridiculous. And then she noticed the office scissors, proudly displayed right in the middle of the hamper. The chocolate bribe worked, and even though Mrs. And so does the accountant.
The holly-jolliness of it all, the bright colours and tinselly add-ons, the general sense of bonhomie which prevails. Most of all she loves the fact that at Christmas you can get away with the sort of tackiness and kitsch that for the rest of the year would mark you out as being, well, vulgar.
Squirrel's World: Hang in there
So today saw her in a frenzy of rummaging as she tried to find the Christmas decorations, followed by snipping and cursing as she attempted to create some paper-chains out of old till rolls and felt-tips. Shopkeeper knew better than to try and slow the unstoppable machine that was his wife during the countdown to Christmas, and so sat in the backroom quietly fixing the paper chains that she broke along the way. Anyway today he was procrastinating. The accountant is due to visit tomorrow to collect the quarterly VAT figures.
Shopkeeper is very good with figures, and nothing short of prodigal at mathematics, but he is not very good at getting himself motivated. Shopkeeper fortunately noticed him scowling in the general direction of the computer, and as soon as he had popped out for some fresh air euphemism for a cigar she dusted off the desk and made him a cup of tea, Earl Grey, hot since seeing Captain Picard order this on the Enterprise NCC D, Mr.
Then she went to the office cupboard and produced a shiny new leather notebook, a fountain pen and two HB pencils, which she then laid out in front of the keyboard: The pen and pencil and note pad were of course quite unneeded, but she notice him fondling the notepad occasionally. In which it is decided that times are hard … Mrs. He is very careful not to give her the impression that he has her under observation, although in truth little escapes him.
So it was with trepidation that he sat Mrs. He had noticed that in the past three months Mrs. Which seemed a bit daft. At the same time the takings had been less than healthy, but he was hoping not to have to mention the money stuff to Mrs. Um, any which way, it seems a bit silly, no? This strange analogy at least made Mrs. But she was still straight on to the defensive, as she always took any implied criticism completely personally. Shopkeeper, resisting the temptation to ask his wife what on earth the stencils were all about.
You want to let Anya go, then? The Blonde was due in in twenty minutes and he did not want them all to have to work in a doomy gloomy atmosphere. Anya actually turned up a little early, looking anxious. They both immediately assumed she was going to tell them she was pregnant: And the Blonde beamed because that had all been much easier than she had thought….
Shopkeeper is actually permitted to detach herself completely from the bit of elastic that ties her to the till. Because once a year she goes on a girlie jamboree with five former school friends. The first year it happened Mr. This delusion can be both endearing and irritating, but it is one under which most women will happily allow their significant others to labour, as it lends the female gathering in question a degree of power and mystery. And it means that the menfolk in question are on their best behaviour for a while prior to the threatened meet-up.
Thus it was on Friday that Mr. Shopkeeper was up bright and early to make a cup of tea for his wife, and carry her case to the waiting taxi. In retrospect flinging herself into his arms and choking back a sob was perhaps a slightly OTT display of affection, especially as she was only to be gone for three nights, and by all accounts would be having a spiffing time.
There is, however, a kind of pathos in leaving a loved one behind which, for those of an over-imaginative disposition, can be almost unbearable. The thought of Mr. Shopkeeper dining alone, or gazing at the empty toothbrush rack, or talking to Master Shopcat more than usual: But not quite… Of course as soon as she was on the train, she was filled with a woop-de-doop sense of adventure, although she did remember to send Mr.
Her destination was the same as every year, a wondrous green playground where she and the girls could indulge their inner tomboys, breathe the air, drink some plonk and not chat about their menfolk. Audiologist collected her from the station, all of them grinning like seven year olds. Soon they were joined by Mrs. High-Flying Civil Servant usually referred to as Mrs.
Sheriff , and Mrs. Histopathologist normally referred to as Mrs. Doctor, as it sounded less scary. Doctor, who was actually forbidden from tlaking about her work as they were all hypochondriacs , although she is usually more reticent to talk about her own working life. He did of course remember to text Mrs. After a delightful long weekend of climbing trees and cycling and reading and wistfully planning unfeasible little weekend breaks with Mr.
She was sad to leave her girlie haven, but the thought of seeing Mr. And, on a whim, he cooked her dinner. They were happy shopkeepers this evening. Shopkeeper loves dressing up. There are some on the High Street who would say, not unkindly, that Mrs. She would, in truth, have been quite at home running Mr. Jack-o-lanterns appear in the cornershop windows, Master Shopcat is allowed to stroll around the shop more even though he is not black, and is over-familiar rather than just plain familiar , and Mrs. But he draws the line at dressing up himself.
How the multiples fill with aisles of ready made this and that, spooky bric-a-brac and tack for a lazy comsumer society. And how the US practice of trick or treating has become an insidious way for a child to bump up its pocket money. A trick or treating teenager is in fact one of the greatest menaces a shopkeeper can face. Best not ask her about her feelings on the issue, as she can be uncharacteristically vociferous, even when standing behind the till.
Anyway, this year she had a plan. A plan that she reckoned would leave everyone happy, and would mean that she did not have to lock the shop early for fear of teenage intimidation. She had opened an apple booth in one corner of the shop.
Each child who entered the shop could bob for an apple, and then slice it or peel it to see their future partners or make it into a stamp because Mrs. The Blonde was assigned the role of apple queen for the evening, and sported a fetching green wart. They looked utterly appalled. But they were, as Mrs. And very quickly turned to flee…. A school visit … Mrs.
ABC, for what is life without a frisson of spice or the hint of a challenge? She makes an effort to get on with her non-retail neighbours too. The vicar pops in regularly for example, although he always looks slightly uneasy: Shopkeeper is quietly convinced that he gets his weekly adrenalin from visiting a conspicuously foreign corner shop and playing the brave missionary abroad.
Although it is of course hard to play brave missionary when chatting about the Archers over tea and cookies. And then there is what she likes to call her outreach programme. As far as Mr. Shopkeeper can see, this largely involves giving things to bazaars and as raffle prizes, and spending a long time chatting at the till to PTA types.
Anyway, occasionally she is to be found giving talks to local schoolchildren about shop stuff, and then, once a year, said schoolchildren come into the shop. To learn how to shop, how to handle money and change, and occasionally to play on the till or to price things. Not all at once, mind you — that would clearly be barmy. Little groups of them, all under around 45cm tall Mr. Which is enough to send him running a mile well, a kilometre — Mr. Usually the shop has notification that said parties will be visiting, but today they had had no such notice. And so the eager and apparently twelve year old teacher found Mrs.
Which was not the image that Mrs. Still, she quickly assumed her role as Mr. And then defrosted again. Actually, the next shopkeeper is a good Muslim, but maybe the one after next. Anyway, suffice it to say that she has no issues with people buying alcohol, consuming alcohol and getting a little merry therein. Live and let live and all that. But like any shopkeeper she does have a problem with drunks when they cross the threshold of her shop. Because there is no reasoning with someone who has incomplete or no control of their faculties. And if they fall over in the shop, it is well nigh impossible to get them out again until they decide they want to leave.
Whilst appallingly sloth-like on many counts, Mrs. Shopkeeper actually has laser-sharp reflexes and heightened sensibilities when it comes to all things shop-shaped. Being a teensy bit of a comic geek, Mr. Anyway, today even she was caught off-guard when a particularly inebriated fellow fell against the shop doorway. Before she could vault over the counter and usher him back out, he had crossed the pivot point and tumbled into the shop, landing in a malodious, spluttering heap at her feet. Not only was he plastered, they could not have communicated very well had he been sober.
Most alarmingly, he looked as if he was about to use the hem of her skirt to with which to wipe his nose. Still, he did at least seem to be getting to his feet relatively steadily. Time to deploy the C-Plan. So tapping her watch and rubbing her tummy in itself a hard combination , she addressed her unwanted guest.
Much to her relief he got the message, and, colliding only slightly with the door frame, lolloped off into the street. Swiftly she locked the door behind her and went to hide in the back room. The average drunk has an attention span of about a minute, and so after five minutes she was back behind her counter. Shopkeeper unveils a surprise for Mrs.
Shopkeeper has been away for a few days. Visiting relatives and that kind of thing. This evening upon her return she was very surprised and more than a little worried to see Mr. Even more worrying was the fact that he was carrying a bunch of flowers, and held the taxi door open for her to alight. This was only the fifth bouquet that he had bought her. Not that she was keeping tally or anything, but women have a built in meter for this kind of thing. This would have been a wonderful albeit clumsy greeting, had not their anniversary been a couple of months previously.
And with that he guided her into the second half of the shop, where he commanded her to open her eyes. Shopkeeper has been with Mr. Notwithstanding the fact that either of those items would have looked a little odd in a cornershop. But he seemd so please with himself that she instinctively knew that it was not one of his more worrying shop initiatives. So as she opened her eyes she smiled immediately. They were looking at a workbench, the purpose of which was not awfully apparent.
After their failure to secure a bread oven to make fresh bread each day, Mrs. Not just to steal a march on Mrs. ABC, but to give her a little creative outlet, as she liked to put it. This was clearly the beginnings of her in-store kitchen. Shopkeeper had clearly gone to lots of trouble to make room for it. Which clearly deserved a big hug. And they decided to shut the shop a little early that evening…. August 28th — October 5th Shopkeeper faffs around with a sponsored walk, a supper club and a book launch. It is, most often, a question of convenience: Hey, the arrangement simply suits them.
Shopkeeper feels the need to go herself. Just to keep her hand in, like. And as, like Mr. Weather , they are rarely seen out at the same time, today she embarked on such a mission whilst Mr. She took the Blonde along, telling Mr. There are some things in life which, no matter how many times she does them, she still finds incredibly grown-up, and being able to shop at this big, trade-only warehouse is, oddly, one such.
The fork-lift trucks, the raucous calls of the shelf-stackers, the sheer volume of goods in stock, the piles of pallets…these all add to the overall marvel of the place in her eyes. So she always approaches the place in a spirit of eager anticipation. Displaying unusual powers of forward thinking, she always parks as near to the exit as possible.
In the end, after the production of Mrs. The Blonde seemed impressed by the size of the place, but willingly helped Mrs. In fact Anya helped them to get round in record time: A wander that took them from their bacon butties, through the clothing department, the electronics section, past the perfume counter and ended up in stationery.
And which somehow managed to fill a second trolley. And some of the items were to sell in the shop. She so rarely has the opportunity to shop, after all…. The check-out at Makro is something to behold. Everything is scanned whilst still on the trolley, causing the cashier to contort, mutter and roll their eyes a lot.
It is only at this point that the occasional visitor remembers that: Oh, and maybe character building. The final check out procedure is clearly designed to be entertaining so that customers who would otherwise stand and scowl at their bill are merrily distracted.
It never fails to astonish Mrs. All in all it was a happy outing for the two girls. Notwithstanding a nagging feeling in Mrs. It had been put off several times, but then the riots had occurred, and four days ago Mrs. The missive was so laden with melodrama, hyperbole and self-importance that Mrs. The Blonde had just returned from a dentistry student summer camp. Shopkeeper was not entirely sure what that entailed, but she noted that it would seem to have involved plenty of strapless sun-bathing.
Anyway, the shop was covered, and so at 11am Mrs. This proved to be a source of great entertainment, as the chairs in the Wimpy are actually all screwed to the floor, rendering the rearrangement of furniture impossible. The plan was not to present it as a rival to Mrs. She had already advised the Chair that she would like to address the assembly for a few minutes, and had rehearsed her oration in front of a dazed Mr.
The meeting was a tad busier this time: The betting shop manager was there, and the landlord from the Market Arms, and Lewis, from the chippie, together with a greasy looking cub reporter from the local rag. The meeting commenced with Flora Flowers whispering the minutes from the previous meeting: ABC got to her plump little feet and began to address the meeting. The gist of Mrs. It was a triumph of irrelevant nonsense: ABC got around to the agenda, there was an audible sigh of relief.
But here again she only had so much padding to offer. Flora Flowers had had but one reply to her council-lobbying letters, inviting them all to the next council meeting. ABC, sensing a sudden lull in her oratorial wind, vowed that they would renew their letter-writing, and apparently as an afterthought, invited Mrs. Shopkeeper could not have asked for a better introduction.
She cleverly worked in the local riots, by explaining that in order to engage local kids more the shopkeepers would have to be prepared to put a bit of work in and give something back. Her coup de grace was to offer to handle the relevant paperwork herself — applying for permission, funding etc. And that, she explained to Mr. A Birthday … Mrs. Seldom has so much effort gone into pretending that something is a non-event.
Because, being a Leo and all that, Mrs. She spends the rest of the year planning jolly little things for or involving other people regardlesss of whether they are willing to be jolly therein , and lives half her life in away with the fairies in the nicest possible sense. Which is just fine for Mr. The post Episode A new episode about every 15 days averaging 73 mins duration. What if radio played only the shows you care about, when you want?
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A Tribute to Forbidden Dimension — Creepsville Revenge Of The Naughty Episode How about a second helping of the podcast that makes you get into the Halloween spirit? Happy Birthday, Gravediggers Local GdL16 turns 10 on Sept. Rest In Peace, Pete Pardalis. We conclude our retrospective trilogy with some of the best psychobilly that has come out in Monstermatt Patterson does his best P. Feeling a little low? We celebrate with an episode full of psychobilly, horror punk, surf music, bad monster jokes and more.
Strange Jason and John Jughead fool around with the spirit world, only to find themselves up to their knees in danger, death and surf music. Monstermatt Patterson hangs ten in a Lights…give me some Christmas lights! The frame around teddy I cut from one of the Curiosity Corner papers. All of the above ingredients are available at The Stamp Basket store - the links should take you to the right pages. Sorry to photo is so dark - I think I need to get Toad up a ladder to wash the conservatory roof!
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