January 2014


Friday, 17th January - Hanley (big shop)

pound1401 pound1402

Enemy of the State DVD.

The Wolfman DVD.

Black Hawk Down (2 disc set) DVD.

Get Shorty DVD.

1 pack of blu tack original



2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.


1. A few weeks ago I was stood in the Cheshire Oaks Shopping Factory Outlet Village Complex Factory Village Many Restaurants And Entertainment Including Cinema And Bowling Arcade Conundrum smoking my pipe whilst the good lady wife was inside one of the many shops selling clothes (the shops were selling clothes, the g. l. w. was just looking with a mind to purchase) when this lady comes on the tannoy and says “We would like to remind customers that there is no smoking on the covered walkways or anywhere else in this etc.” Now, leaving aside the fact that I was standing right on the edge of the walkway (“not the grass” © Piggly Plays Truant), next to a big car park where those monster trucks that people seem to favour these days were driving around with gay abandon filling the air with carbon monoxide, and was actually being rained upon, so that’s how far I was from actually causing the sudden death of any passing Roy Castles, it did confirm the suspicion that we are being watched. All the time. Wherever we go. It’s not just the N.S.A. reading all our online conversations, hoping to spot one that mentions terrorism or bomb or jihad - bugger.

We’d gone to Cheshire Oaks...  because the man who chooses the films we’re allowed to watch in Stoke has summat against Robert Redford (as have the people who choose what’s going to win Oscars). Since the good lady wife has been a fan ever since he donned the moustache of the Sundance Kid, we were required to travel many miles to view his latest photoplay, All Is Lost, which is a rather grim study of what happens when you find yourself on a boat in the middle of the ocean and it sinks. It was good. And Mr. Redford should have been nominated (at least) for an Oscar, instead of Christian Bale who gets nominated for fat acting and Matthew McConkey for thin acting and Leonardo DiCaprio for long Martin Scorsese film acting. And how come Bruce Dern gets nominated for old acting and Robert Redford is ignored?

But I digress. Last month I mentioned the worrying arrival of a 2 pound section in the Hanley big Poundland. I had assumed that this was a national policy, but I have received dispatches from one of my agents in the South, indicating this is not the case. He surmised that Mr. Poundland was following the tradition, common since the Industrial Revolution, of the Southern States exploiting the North, which is fully in keeping with the current government policy of getting the poor to keep the rich in the manner to which they have become accustomed. However, I disagreed, for, not wishing to think ill of Mr. Poundland, I preferred to see it as more of a laboratory experiment, with the Hanley big shop standing in for one of those places with bunsen burners and retorts and those two metal balls with lightning flashing between them, to see the effect of such a major policy change on the shopping habits of the rats, sorry, people, who buy their DVDs from his emporium. As well as checking his sales figures, he also collects data from the checkout personnel who have been given a series of questions to ask the customer as he stands there wondering whether he should have bought Get Shorty. This is a new procedure (i.e. it did not happen in December, but then again that was coming up to Christmas, so there were probably temporary staff personning the checkouts who would not have been trusted with such sensitive data- gathering techniques) but after being asked if I wanted a bag (a rather standard opening which has been going on for a while since the legislation to make us pay for plastic bags has been hovering around the Queen’s Speech for a few years now), I was then asked if I wanted my receipt. I have never been asked this before - they just shove it in the bag, for it is of no use to them. Having to think about it, I replied “No, thank you” for in the past one never had to worry about returning faulty goods to Poundland (that was one of its delights) for it would cost more in petrol or parking than the refund. To which the data-collector said, “What about the DVDs? Maybe you should take it.” At which point, I realised how much Poundland had been changed by the introduction of a 2 pound section. Would I now return the 2 disc edition of Black Hawk Down if the second disc did not work? A pound is one thing, 2 pounds is another. So I took the receipt. Then the lady said, “Sorry, I’ve got a cold.” I haven’t worked this one out yet. Was this part of the script she had been made to follow like those Indian gentlemen who ring you up and ask if your computer is slow? I got one of those, he was called Steve, and he said he was from Microsoft, and I considered telling him that all computers are slow because that’s the way Windows works, maybe he should have a word with Bill and tell him not to keep backing it up until there’s no space to do anything, but, instead I asked him if he could see all the computers in the world and could tell that mine was running slow. And he said, “Yes”, so I said that was silly and put the phone down. Maybe she had a cold and was looking for some sympathy, or maybe it was an attempt to engage me further in conversation so that she could collect more information on my purchases and find out why I had bought a copy of Enemy of the State for 2 pounds despite having a proper video of same.

I think that Cheshire Oaks... could learn a lot from Poundland. Their surveillance system, although perfectly scary when it comes to chasing people out into the rain, does not add any information to their database which can be used by the various shops selling clothes. The one thing it does tell them is that owd men smoking pipes on the walkway (“not the grass”) are not being catered for by the shops selling clothes and the problem would be solved by opening a Poundland.

2. I bought the Blu-tack (original - I could have bought some wite-tack, but I’m a traditionalist) because we ran out at Christmas when we needed to stick some things  up, so I thought it best to get some more in case we need to stick some other things up, for that is its purpose.

3. I’ve mentioned most of the DVDs, but I’ll expand a little. Black Hawk Down is part of my ongoing project of re-evaluating the films of Ridley Scott. This one I actually liked, although I was prepared not to, since I was expecting it to be all gung-ho and American, but it turned out to be more downbeat and depressing. To me, it was more like a horror film than a war one. If we want to play the auteur card, then it resembled Alien, with a clash between two totally different cultures, although in this one the alien wins. As such it has relevance for all the post-9/11 idiocy. Enemy of the State is a really good film and I did buy it on video, so this was probably a daft purchase, but one feels obliged to keep up with the times. The Wolfman was the first DVD I watched on a proper flat-screen HD-ready with upscaling telly at No. 2 son’s house and I was mightily impressed with the quality of the picture, although the film itself is not as good as the 1941 version with Lon Chaney Jr. However, bits of it were filmed around here - at Chatsworth House - and I thought I should have a decent copy to see whether it looks as good on my flat-screen HD-ready with upscaling telly. Get Shorty is one of the few decent films made from an Elmore Leonard novel, but I iffed and aahed about it and was on my way back to the checkout when I remembered the First Rule of Poundland and so I went back and got it. So, there it is, I bought it because it was only a pound, so I didn’t have to worry about it. That is what we have lost with the 2 pound section.

“Sorry, I’ve got a cold.”
“I bought Get Shorty because it was only a pound.”
No, that wouldn’t have worked. We would have been arrested as Russian spies, or else recruited for a touring production of Waiting for Godot. Mr. Poundland needs to work on his script.

I had another phone call from Steve the other day. He’s not working for Microsoft anymore, he’s doing surveys now. He sounded a bit nervous, probably first day in the new job, but I had to decline his invitation to answer some questions. I’m being watched enough, dunner want make it any easier for them.

Monday, 20th January - Burton-on-Trent

pound140303 pound140402

The Mercenary Blu-ray.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2 disc set) DVD.

Wagner The Werewolf by George W. M. Reynolds.

The Taking of Pelham 123 by John Godey.

Belkin Flat Scart Video cable - 3 ft.

1 roll of 3 metre wrapping paper.

WeightWatchers 6 Raspberry Mallows.

8 Orange KitKats.

8 Wagon Wheels.

70 One Cup PG Tips tea bags.



2 packs of 4 Sony C batteries.

2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.

2 cans of Right Guard Total 5 Defence.

1 pack of 10 Kleenex Strawberry Aroma Tissues.


Rejected Item:

A Bumper Book of Joseph Conrad. This would have looked dead smart in the basket and I was loath to let it go. A bloody big book of some of Conrad’s novels, including Nostromo, Lord Jim and The Secret Agent, as well as a selection of short stories, including Heart of Darkness. If I had taken that to the checkout I would have been marked as a man of fine literary taste and no doubt the staff of Burton Poundland would still be discussing my excellent purchase as we hit the A50. But, I was aware that over the years I had bought several works by Mr. Conrad and had not read them, but I could not remember which. In fact, I had only read Heart of Darkness and a novel he wrote in collaboration with Ford Madox Ford, entitled The Inheritors. So, I let it go. And when I returned home I found Nostromo, Lord Jim and The Secret Agent on my shelves. One day I must get round to reading them.


1. First, I must apologise for any overlapping subject-matter or trailing wispy vapours of thought, between this entry in my Poundland diary and what has gone before. Ideally, when I return from a trip to Poundland I should take the photographs, list the contents of the bag, then sharpen my quill, dip it into the inkwell and make my report on my purchases instanter. Then call my man and have it conveyed by hansom to the printer’s. However, this process is sometimes interrupted and I am obliged to leave my musings for a time and concentrate on other matters. In this particular case I was deeply involved in a discussion with a collector of Robert Buchanan novels (perhaps the only one in the world) concerning certain irregularities in the great man’s corpus relating to the appearance of several titles in the journal, Reynolds’ Miscellany in the early 1860s, which bore a strong resemblance to certain works of Buchanan - specifically his first play and his last, posthumously published, novel. Buchanan did not recognise the concept of plagiarism and so I first assumed that he had adapted these stories and issued them as his own. But there was also the possibility that he, in his early years as an impoverished, struggling author in London, had written the stories himself - both had obvious pseudonyms attached. So, by the time I’d come to my rather speculative conclusions, we’d taken a trip to Burton-on-Trent and I found myself in another Poundland. One of my purchases was another of those Wordsworth Classic reprints of Victorian literature, Wagner The Werewolf by George W. M. Reynolds. I knew nothing about the book, or the author (or so I thought), and, since I have lately become sick and tired of the whole vampire/werewolf/zombie procession on our screens, big and small, I assumed it was my purchase of The Wolfman last time, and my affection for Mr. Wordsworth’s work which made me put it in the basket. However, when I return home and have chance to examine the book as on my couch I lie, I find that George W. M. Reynolds is the Reynolds of Reynolds’ Miscellany and there is a bibliography in the book which attributes one of the disputed titles (which I thought was the source of Buchanan’s first play) to him! So, again, I ask the question. How did Mr. Poundland know about my discussion with the Buchanan collector, is the N.S.A. sharing my emails with him? And how did he know I would be in Burton-on- Trent on January 20th!

2. Another question, of course, is why did we go to Burton-on-Trent? That’s easily answered. The good lady wife is a fan of the noted chantoosie, Emily Maguire and is going to see her in Burton-on-Trent next month, so she wanted to do a dummy-run to find the place and check available parking. Having done that, we wandered into a nearby shopping centre and had a cup of tea. Since we had not stopped in Burton before, merely passed through on one occasion which neither of us could remember, I thought it behooved me to check for Poundlands. We’d entered the shopping centre through the back door where I’d spotted a Poundworld, which did not augur well, but I had a look up and down the aisles in case I could spot the genuine article. But no, there was nothing, so we went out the front door and were walking back to the car, still discussing what had brought us through Burton before, when I spotted another shopping centre across the road. There seemed to be too much work involved in this quest for a Poundland - I have found that when you put a lot of effort into something you are bound to be disappointed - but we decided to try it. I was momentarily distracted by a branch of The Works, but the g.l.w. had continued the quest and came running back (note to whoever’s watching, she didn’t really run, it’s just easier than saying walked as fast as her two titanium hips and knee would allow - just thought I should say that in case Channel Four come round our house and want to do a programme about our street and the evil scum who live here) to tell me that she’d found a Poundland. And what a Poundland it was! Situated right at the end of the shopping centre, taking up its entire back wall, a vast, semi-circular space devoted to goods which only cost a pound, many of which ended up in our basket - a double-bagful as we call it in the Poundland-buying community. Admittedly, most of it is fairly standard fare, biscuits, batteries and stinky stuff, and requires no comment, but apart from the werewolf book, I also bought a 2 disc special edition of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a film which disappointed me slightly, particularly in its portrayal of Captain Nemo, but which was only a pound.

3. I reiterate, it was only a pound, there was no sign in the Burton Poundland of a 2 pound section. From which I conclude that the Hanley(big shop)’s section is not an attempt to continue William the Conqueror’s Harrying of the North, but is a localised experiment under laboratory conditions, absence of big metal balls shooting lightning between them notwithstanding. So I was right. Stoke-on-Trent and Burton-on-Trent are both in the north, and you can tell by their names that they are connected by a river. In fact we could have taken a canoe from our house and ended up in Burton, although it would not have worked as a dummy-run since the good lady wife intends to motor across to see Emily Maguire, not use the canoe, if we had one. No, there is no 2 pound section down south and there is no 2 pound section in an equivalently northern town. There’s just one in Stoke. Tinner fair.

4. What’s more the Burton Poundland had also got Blu-rays - admittedly only two, but it shows how up Poundland is keeping with ever-changing technology. The other one was a Stephen Merchant stand-up routine, which I’d caught a bit of on telly and I was left unamused by his antics, so I opted for the other, which was a proper film, although judging by the list of special features - ‘Trailer’ - it was not taking full advantage of the extra capacity afforded by the Blu-ray format. The Mercenary turned out to be a bit of a curiosity. As well as being the first Blu-ray I have bought from Poundland, it is also the first Blu-ray which will go into one of the many boxes of rubbish DVDs which I keep in the cubby-hole. Given the presence of Gary Daniels, a kicker of some repute, I expected The Mercenary to include many scenes of kicking. There were two. Plus, I wasn’t sure who the eponymous ‘Mercenary’ was. I guess it was Mr. Daniels, but he didn’t seem to be in the film long enough to deserve the eponym. There was also a mystical element in the film, provided by Danny Trejo who played Lazarus, fed up at still being alive and having to go round healing people. Admittedly a neat idea and one which I have used myself (see The Dark Brethren) but in a film called The Mercenary with Gary Daniels and Danny Trejo you expect Gary Daniels to spend some time kicking Danny Trejo, which he does not do and thus one feels disappointed and no amount of mysticism will make up for it. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the film, which was made in 2010, is the appearance of a young Forest Whitaker. This was very confusing since he looked and talked just like him, and had also adopted his physical mannerisms, sans the lazy eye. In fact, if I had been watching the film in company, I would have cried out “’Tis Cinna, I know him by his gait” and we would have all laughed. Throughout the film, right up to the very confusing ending, where everybody seemed to get killed then healed then died again, I was puzzled by this time-travelling- actor element but all was revealed in the credits - it was Damon Whitaker! I looked him up on imdb and he’s Forest Whitaker’s brother. They should make a film together where one’s evil and one’s good. Or they could team up against Jean-Claude Van Damme and his brother and be evil or good depending on what the writer says. That’s one Blu-ray I would definitely purchase from Poundland.

5. One of the delights of the Burton Poundland is the fact that apart from having the usual DVD and book section, they also have smaller stands dotted hither and thither with just a few items on, so that you are not overfaced and can spot something like John Godey’s The Taking of Pelham 123, which I thought I should buy since I am a great admirer of the first film version with Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw, but less so of the remake featuring Denzel Washington and John Travolta.

6. You know how supermarkets always put some chocolate bars near the checkout to trap unwary parents with fat children. It does not reflect well on the moral character of supermarket managers. Poundland unfortunately has begun to ape this practice in its larger stores, but I am immune to their wiles. However, what I can’t resist is a big bucket full of wires and they had placed one of these at the end of a row of sweeties, so I was obliged to root through it and found the Belkin scart lead. I am not fully digital yet and still require scart leads to connect my bits, and this one looked so delicious in its big plastic case that I was compelled to add it to my already overflowing basket.


March 2014


Thursday, 13th March - King’s Heath, Birmingham

pound1405 pound1406

Men In Black DVD.

Face/Off DVD.

BIC 4 colours mini ball pen.

1 packet of WeightWatchers 6 Caramel Mallows

1 packet of WeightWatchers 6 Raspberry Mallows


1. This was another Emily Maguire scouting trip since she’s due to appear at a venue in King’s Heath, Birmingham at the end of the month and the good lady wife wanted to find out where it was and whether there was parking etc. After the last trip to Burton- on-Trent on a similar errand I ended up getting pneumonia, so god knows what I’m in for now. Just in case, my financial advisor has kindly arranged for some life insurance for me and I had a strange conversation with a chap on the phone who wanted to confirm that I actually wanted the policy and that the good lady financial advisor wasn’t planning something of a nefarious nature. He also asked me what I was having for tea, which I thought was no business of his, but I told him anyway, in the hope that he’d be satisfied that I was fully compos mentis and would go away and leave me alone. It’s one of those Michael Parkinson policies where you get a free pen and don’t have to have a medical (I seem to remember Gordon Jackson used to do them before Mr. Parkinson but then he died, so much good the pen did him, silly bugger falling for that German’s “good luck” getting on the bus, which he of all people should have been keeping an eye out for since he was the one who’d drawn attention to it earlier in a Chekhov’s linguistic trick way) but it turns out the pen’s been upgraded now to a kindle or a pocket camcorder or a load of vouchers. My financial advisor had chosen the vouchers since I already had a kindle and she can take films on her phone. The chap asked me if I had any questions and other than asking him why he wanted to know what I was having for my tea, I really wanted to know how you get them big insurance policies which they have in films where somebody gets murdered and Edward G. Robinson works it out. This one of Mr. Parkinson’s with the free pen (or whatever) just gives you enough to cover your funeral costs (and then not a big affair with the horses and the bloke walking in front, more the wicker basket and a do after in Milton cafe where you can get a big breakfast (5 items) for £2.50) so it’s hardly worth chucking anybody off the back of a train. But I was getting the tea (gammon, egg and chips, if you must know) so I kept my counsel.

2. King’s Heath Poundland is not one of the best, but I did manage to find a couple of DVDs which I would probably have rejected in the Hanley big shop since they would have been in the £2 section. It is worth noting that the King’s Heath Poundland does not have a £2 section. Men In Black was a special edition with loads of extras and Face/Off is one of those films I feel I should like more than I do. Other than that the good lady wife purchased the four colour biro since she hadn’t seen one for years and the WeightWatchers caramel and raspberry mallows. She is currently on a diet which seems to depend on buying a lot of cakes and biscuits made by Mr. WeightWatchers. There is some sort of points system involved, which I cannot comprehend, but it seems to be that if she eats all these special cakes and biscuits she will lose weight. However, when we were casing the joint where Ms. Maguire is due to perform, we each had a big piece of non-WeightWatchers cake, which neither of us could finish, and when I asked how many points that would be, the good lady wife said “7”, in what I thought was a rather cavalier fashion, and not really in keeping with the rules of the game.

3. I noticed on the news that Poundland has been floated on the stock market and its shares were valued at £3. I mentioned this to my friend Clive and said I thought the shares should be £1 each and should remain so, but he said that would defeat the object of putting the company on the stock market. He is more savvy than me when it comes to the world of high finance and thus does not need a financial advisor, although, come to think of it, he does travel by train more than I do. Perhaps I should have a word with mine. I wonder what he’s having for tea.

Monday, 31st March - Worthing

pound1407 pound1408

Redline Blu-ray.

The Body DVD.

Mission Impossible III (2 disc set) DVD.

Dodger by James Benmore.

James May’s Man Lab: The Book of Usefulness by James May.

A cuddly lion.

A lorry.



1 pack of 4 Sony C batteries.

2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.


1. I have to stop doing this. I spot a blu-ray in Poundland and immediately think, “that’s a bargain”, and despite reading the blurb on the back (“On the streets of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, daredevil drivers race the world’s most exotic cars for million dollar bets. But as the stakes rise, so does the danger - from deadly crashes to kidnapping and murder - and only the fast survive. With adrenaline-pumping action and some of the rarest, most expensive high-performance vehicles ever raced and obliterated on film, Redline roars into high gear and doesn’t let off the gas until the final explosive   rush.”) I put it in the basket. I am not interested in cars, exotic or ordinary, expensive or cheap. If this had been a dvd I would have pooh-poohed it and moved on, but it is a BLU-RAY and that is a BARGAIN. I am a fool.

Then I compound my folly by looking up Redline on imdb. Usually you get one user review saying this is the best film ever made and one saying it’s the worst. As I trawled through the 90-odd reviews of Redline I could not find one that had anything good to say about it.  Now I have to watch it. Bargain, indeed!

2. The Body, on the other hand is a very good film. It’s about the possible discovery of the bones of Jesus Christ and the problems that would cause for the Catholic church. Olivia Williams is an archæologist and Antonio Banderas is a priest. High jinks ensue. The other interesting thing about the film is that Kathy Reichs (writer of the novels on which the TV series, Bones, is based) wrote a book called Cross Bones with exactly the same plot and some of the same scenes. I thought there might be some comment online about the similarity between the two works, maybe even some talk of plagiarism and a lawsuit, but all I could find was one review of Cross Bones (2005) on amazon which mentioned Richard Sapir’s The Body (1983): ‘Too much like “The Body” to be totally comfortable with the story. I’ll go ahead and finish reading, but am very disappointed in what is almost a copycat book.” That’s it. Strange. However, my research (for I do not just throw these things together) did reveal that the author of The Body was the same Richard Sapir who co-wrote, with Warren Smith, the Destroyer series of novels featuring Remo Williams and Chiun, the Master of Sinanju (immortalised on film by Fred Ward and Joel Grey). So that’s interesting, to me anyroad.

3. Mission Impossible III, or to give it its correct title, M:i:III, I thought might be another mistake, since I couldn’t remember whether I’d bought it before, but we were in a bit of a rush since we had grandson Eric with us and we were trying to get a lot of stuff in (Shoreham airport to look at planes, Poundland, walk on the beach collecting pebbles in a bucket, have us dinner at the Lido) before he got tired and needed a nap, but I did manage to get him a lorry, which he pronounces ’orry, for that matter he says ‘bas’ instead of the accepted Stoke pronunciation of ‘buz’, in fact for a lot of the time I’ve no idea what he’s going on about at all, bit like watching bloody Shetland. Anyway, when I got home I checked and I hadn’t got it so that was good - doubly so since III is the one I can never remember apart from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman being the villain.

4. The James May book is a present for friend Clive, who, despite only riding a pushbike, is an avid watcher of Top Gear - go figure. As stated above, I have no interest in cars, despite buying Redline, but I do find James May the least annoying of the Top Gear triumvirate.

5. There are two types of novels based on the peripheral characters in other, more famous novels. One is of more literary bent, such as Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, which is the tale of the mad woman in the attic in Jane Eyre. The other is a more rollicking adventurous kind, such as the Flashman novels of George MacDonald Fraser. So, I must congratulate the manager of the Worthing Poundland Book Department for putting an example of each on his or her shelves. Of the first type we had Havisham by Ronald Frame and of the second, Dodger by James Benmore. Since I knew what happened to Miss Havisham and after being jilted at the altar she spends the rest of her life growing cobwebs until Pip appears, I guessed there would not be much time for her to have rollicking adventures, so I chose the other, which follows the later career of that cheerful cockney scamp, the Artful Dodger. I reckon I chose wisely.


April 2014


Friday, 18th April - Crewe

pound1409 pound1410

Broken Arrow DVD.

Constantine DVD.

Fool’s Gold DVD.

Fantastic 4 DVD.

October 22 DVD.

S.W.A.T. Police Car.

Fun to Learn Mini Libary.

A coffee mug.

2 trays.

A photo frame.

A storage basket.

2 packs of WeightWatchers 4 Raspberry Mallows.

1 pack of 3 walnut whips.

A box of Maltesers.

1 pack of 8 Wild Bird fatballs

A 1.5kg bag of Wild Bird Special bird seed.

By the way, I watched Redline and thought it was ok. There were car crashes and a kicky man and some eccentric thesping from Angus Macfadyen, I don’t undertand what the imdb people were so upset about. Maybe they were all Michael Haneke fans and don’t like films where summat happens.


1. ’Twas Good Friday and what better place to spend that most dismal of feast days than Crewe, although the sun was shining and the town had a happier air than of late. On the outskirts I noticed several new industrial warehousey-type buildings (I apologise for the vagueness of the description, but my name is not Architect David Vincent) which was a sign of the upturn in the economy which the government is always going on about and which I thought only referred to London since I’ve seen no evidence in Stoke to date. But Crewe appeared to be on the upswing and we spotted what looked like the construction of a new car park for the railway station which will make things easier when we have to go to Crewe with sundry sons to catch a train. Civic improvements indeed, which will no doubt fool Calvera when he pays his next visit. Presumably this is all down to Crewe being on the proposed HS2 line, whereas Stoke can look forward to no such boon to its economy and the attempt by the Council to change the government’s mind on the matter came down to them getting a bloke to draw them a picture of what an HS2 station would look like in Stoke and putting it in the Sentinel so we could all be struck by wonder and amaze.

2. It was a hefty haul from Crewe Poundland, a three-bagger, but that was mainly due to buying two new trays from the Macaroon range to replace the last one we bought which had started to split - comic capers when eating us dinners in front of the telly having thus been averted.

3. The police car and the tiny books were for the grandson, and we could have bought a lot more, but restrained ourselves.

4. The bird food items require explanation. They were purchased for the new William Cat Memorial Bird Sanctuary which was opened last month by the Duchess of Kent. After the good cat William had shuffled off the mortal coil we decided not to replace him, but in order to give me something to look at when I’m doing the dishes, we thought we would try and entice the birds back to the garden. Obviously we could not put up notices saying cat-free zone, or even place little crosses under the apple tree to give them a hint as to where the bodies were buried (three in total, plus one hamster), so we hung a couple of bird-feeder things on the tree and waited. As the good lady wife said, “Build it and they will come”. And they did. Four fat pigeons, a jackdaw, a magpie, two tom-tits, two blackbirds and a load of sparrows, plus one thing that we did not recognise - it looked like a little pigeon but was a different colour and just sat in the tree looking miserable and made no attempt to eat anything. Bit like me really. I consulted my 1958 edition of the Observer Book of Birds but that was no help since most of the illustrations were black and white, as the world was back then, and this thing was coloured (not in a racist sense I hasten to add). At one point I counted three fat pigeons and ten sparrows swarming round the fatballs - all we needed was Tippi Hedren and we could have made a film but the good lady wife can only do Kevin Costner. So the William Cat Memorial Bird Sanctuary is a great success. So much so, in fact, that we can no longer afford the fancy bird seed and fatballs we were buying from garden centres and have had to resort to Mr. Poundland’s produce.

5. I suppose I should say something about the DVDs but I just seem to be throwing everything into the basket at the moment with no thought given to the growing pile of DVDs on the piano which I never find time to watch. October 22 was the choice of the good lady wife, and although I have my doubts about it (going by the blurb on the back it would appear to be of the three-people-in-a-room-moaning genre) at least we have not seen it before. My choices ranged from Broken Arrow (the John Woo, not the Jimmy Stewart one), which is probably the best of the bunch, to Fantastic 4, which is probably the worst - although others would place Fool’s Gold last, but, despite my own resistance to the charms of Matthew McConkey and Kate Hudson, I do have a soft spot for treasure-hunting films. Constantine I don’t remember at all except Peter Stormare was good in it. All four are on the pile and await my viewing pleasure.


May 2014


Friday, 23rd May - Hanley (big shop)

pound1411 pound1412

Backdraft DVD.

The Matrix DVD.

1 Belkin USB 2.0 Cable

2 rolls of wrapping paper.

1 pack of 4 WeightWatchers Raspberry Mallows.

1 pack of 4 WeightWatchers Caramel Mallows.

1 pack of 4 WeightWatchers Chocolate biscuits.

1 pack of 3 walnut whips.



2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.

2 packs of 8 Wild Bird fatballs


June 2014


Wednesday, 11th June - Crewe

pound1413 pound1414

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince DVD. No. 6 in the series.

Film 2000 with Jonathan Ross CD.

1 fatball holder (not pictured).



1 pack of 8 Sony AA batteries with 2 free.

2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.

2 packs of 8 Wild Bird fatballs (1 not pictured).


     “Eh up what’s gooin on ’ere, then?”
     “Good evening vicar, what a surprise, please come in. We were just watching ‘Poor People Do the Funniest Things’.”
     “Oh. I prefer “Poor People: Why Are They So Fat?”
     “Oh we watch that too, and “Poor People Will Rob You of Everything You’ve Got If You’re Not Careful.”
     “Never miss it. As Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us so there’ll be no shortage of telly programmes’.”
     Well, he’s a vicar so he has to bring religion into it. “Where are my manners, would you like a cup of tea?”
     “I would indeed for I have a matter of great import to discuss. You go Poundland up Hanley (big shop) on 23rd May and list all your purchases as per usual, but then dunner put anything about ’em. Instead you just go Crewe two weeks later. Thus I reiterate; eh up what’s gooin on ’ere, then?”
     “Ah, vicar, I must apologise. Usually, after I have been to Poundland I write my report immediately, in the first flush of excitement. However, in this case, I was too busy with other work ...”
     “Robert bloody Buchanan,” muttered the good lady wife.
     “... and when I did find time to consider what I had bought, a curious ennui...”
     “Oi,” interrupted the vicar, “I’m not a racist but mind your French.”
     “... had descended upon me and all of life seemed a bit pointless.”
     “So, you neglected your solemn duties.”
     “Just so, vicar.”
     “I’m not a racist, but mind your Kipling.”
     “Then, of course, it was the election of UKIP throughout the land and there was great rejoicing in the streets and private arbors and new-planted orchards where we may walk abroad and recreate ourselves as Nigel doth deem it meet and fitting.”
     “I’m not a racist, but that was truly a glorious day.”
     “So, by the time I came to write something about the Hanley big shop and my purchase of a wire for my scanner to save me having to disconnect the printer every time I want to use it, it so happened that the time had come for our visit to the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe to see Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap with good lady wife, aged parent in tow, and since we arrived early I had time to nip round to Poundland to buy some lighters, of which I had reached a low ebb.”
     “Ah, I see. What did you think of the play?”
     “It was very enjoyable, despite my knowing who did it.”
     “I was sworn to secrecy by the killer at the end, who came to the front of the stage and made us swear an oath never to reveal his identity and thus spoil it for others. An oath, I have to say which was broken by whoever did reveal it to me - I seem to remember reading it somewhere, probably in some comedian’s column in The Observer.”
     “So what else did you buy?”
     “From up Hanley? Backdraft because I hadn’t got it on DVD and it’s been years since I last saw it. And The Matrix, mainly because of the Hugo Weaving speech: ‘Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.’ I’ve avoided it till now because the sequels were so bad, and I’ve never been sure about the ‘needing a messiah to sort everything out’ message.”
     “I think Jesus was one of them. Is he in it?”
     “No, Keanu Reeves.”
     “And some fatballs for the William Cat Memorial Bird Sanctuary.”
     “That was a good do, when Duchess of Kent came round your house. Although, I must say you just seem to be attracting fat pigeons. I think telly should do an exposé about ’em. Bloody obese birds what dunner add anything to the economy just live off charity and handouts. They could call it ‘Poor Pigeons Eat All the Fatballs What Are Intended For The More Colourful And Entertaining Species Like Tits’.”
     “‘Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap but some daft sod will provide them with fatballs from Poundland’. Matthew, Chapter 6, verse 26.”
     “I had to buy more fatballs from the Poundland in Crewe because they get through them at such a rate, and I also bought a fatball holder and extra fatballs for the good lady wife’s aged parent (not pictured - the fatball holder and extra fatballs, not the good lady wife’s aged parent - and I should also clarify that the good lady wife’s aged parent had asked me to acquire said items for her garden, just in case anyone should think that’s what we feed her on and ring up Panorama). I also bought a Jonathan Ross CD, not that he’s singing on it for that would not be good, nor has he selected the tracks, in fact, I suspect his only contribution is to agree to have his name on the cover. It is a double CD with one good one featuring some music from old films and one not so good with a more modern selection. And, in a moment of madness, I decided to embark on a project. I purchased the sixth film in the Harry Potter series, and thought it would be fun to try and collect the other seven from branches of Poundland. That way, I don’t have to watch them till I’ve got the set and so they do not need to be added to the big pile on the piano, but may be stored elsewhere.”
     “Well, I must be off, it’s nearly time for “A Hardworking Family And Their Doings Which Serve To Make This Country What It Is.”
     “You mean ‘Downton Abbey’?”
     “I’m not a racist, but of course. Cheerio.”


July 2014


Wednesday, 2nd July - Hanley (big shop)

pound141502 pound141602

The Gift DVD.

Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros, and the Politics of Murder by Gus Russo and Stephen Molton.

1 Signalex HDMI Cable.

1 pack of 4 WeightWatchers Raspberry mallows.

1 pack of 4 WeightWatchers Caramel mallows.

1 pack of 4 WeightWatchers Chocolate biscuits.

1 box of 16 WeightWatchers Mixed berry cookies.

1 bag of flying saucers.

2 200g bars of Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations - Cola Pretzel Honeycomb flavour. (Special offer, 2 for a pound.)



2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.

1 660g bag of National Trust Spring & Summer Mix Birdseed.

1 800g bag of National Trust All seasons ‘general mix’ Birdseed.


1. Now, this is more like it. Two big bags full. Although when emptied they do look like the weekly shop from Mr. Morrison’s, bar the absence of cheese and taters. Still, on with the motley.

2. Brothers in Arms was for the good lady wife who is an avid reader of Kennedy books. I didn’t bother reading all the blurb on the back since they’re all much of a muchness: Lee Harvey Oswald, grassy knoll, book depository, Jack Ruby, mafia, Castro, Marilyn Monroe. I think in this one Jack and Bobby go to Cuba to kill Castro but find out he’s their long lost brother in arms and they have a party which is spoiled when Lee Harvey Oswald jumps up from behind his grassy knoll and deposits books on them. Marilyn Monroe. Mafia. Jack Ruby.

3. I bought an HDMI cable since I’d been looking for one ever since my mate Clive bought one and declared it indistinguishable from the expensive kind you can get from Maplins (which is a store frequented by knowledgeable chaps like Clive and therefore unbeknownst to me). Quite a bargain, although I do not have anything to connect it to at the moment.

4. The Gift was a bit of a random choice, but I wanted to get something for myself and that was the only thing to catch my eye. I remembered it was directed by Sam Raimi, who makes good little films and not so good big ones, and since this was one of the former and had people in it (unfortunately one being Cate Blanchett) and I couldn’t remember anything about it, I thought it was worth a go.

5. The rest was food either for birds or humankind. The birdseed is made by the National Trust, who need a sideline since in these times of austerity nobody can afford to visit all their big houses and go ooh at the nice way our betters used to live. According to the bags these seeds will attract such fine feathered friends as the dunnock and siskin. I will hold them to that and if I don’t spy a siskin before the seed runs out then I will write a strong letter to the National Trust and will also tell Mr. Poundland about my disappointment. What is a siskin?

6. One of the best bars of chocolate out there is the Cadbury Marvellous Creation Cookie Nut Crunch. Mr. Morrison sells these at an exorbitant price, but occasionally has an offer on them and we poor folk can emulate the life of them people in the National Trust big houses with their dunnocks and siskins. They also make another variety called ‘Cola Pretzel Honeycomb’ which sounds a bit rubbish and so I never bought that one. Apparently everyone else followed my lead and Mr. Morrison has been forced to offload all his excess stock on Poundland where they can now be acquired for 50p each, or two for a pound. Quite a bargain. Although I never liked them little jelly cola bottles, and pretzels are one of those confusing food items like waffles, where there’s one kind that tastes like stale bread and another kind with sugar on them so they’re more like a cake. I suppose the honeycomb will be ok though, since that’s like a Crunchie, so I can always eat them bits and the chocolate coating. You’d think they’d have some kind of quality control down at Bournville and somebody would have said, just stick to biscuits and nuts and honeycomb, maybe even try a raisin or two, but cola’s for drinking and pretzels are stupid. I reckon Mr. Morrison will complain and whichever Oompa-Loompa decided this was a good idea will be chucked out into Birmingham and there will be red faces all round.

But hark! What is that I espy in the branches of yonder apple tree?


Mayhap it is that fabled bird, the mighty siskin.


Yes! See it there, feeding on the National Trust Spring & Summer Mix Birdseed.


Farewell, noble siskin, adieu, adieu!



On to August


{Home}  {2008:1}  {2008:2}  {2009:1}  {2009:2}  {2010:1}  {2010:2

{2011:1}  {2011:2}  {2012}  {2013}  (2014:1)  (2014:2)  (2015)  (2016)