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Willy Poole column.

Byline: By Willy Poole

It is always interesting to hear how people describe this column ( some describe it as "your letter"; some as "your receipt" or "recipe" and of course there are those people of the baser sort who refer to it as: "That load of s---- ye write for the Joornal. Man, ye surely divn't get paid for that do ye?'.

To which I can honestly reply with the old rhyme: "Muckle work and mickle woo', As the Deil said when he clipped the soo'

Anyway, call the column what you will, this will be the last one written at dear Breamish Parks.

Next Sunday I shall be tapping away in my padded cell at the Percy Arms.

I am now starting to regret mentioning that splendid place as a lot of people from the rougher strata of society (people such as Michael Hedley, Peter Stott and Manners the Transport) have declared their intention of drinking long and drinking deep there and putting the damage on my bill.

I am here to tell them that may be the stuff that dreams are made of but the actuality will be starkly different.

There will be none of that nonsense, thank you very much.

Now I am going to seek the patience of the Boss by using a little space to forestall the litany which I am subjected to by everyone I meet:

1) Yes, we are moving to France.

2) Yes, we shall miss the Cheviots

3) Where are we going? C. 40 Klicks due east of Poitiers

4) Where? Poitiers lies on a direct line from Paris to Bordeaux (about half way).

5) Where? About 4 Klicks from La Puye.

6) Where? Buy a map ( better still buy the Michelin Motoring Atlas of France, turn to page 167 square D1.

"Le Petit Depot" is marked on the map, but please do not think of visiting for at least a year after we move (early February). There is work to be done.

There, I think that that covers it.

One last point ( I think that the Boss should change the picture to one of me in my beret ( yes, of course I have one.

Two world famous chefs made me buy one in Cahors, three years since. It suits me.

But back to Northumberland. One of the sad declines (amongst many) that I have witnessed during the last 25 years is that of the Village Shop.

When we first came up here there were thriving village shops in both Glanton and Whittingham. Shops where you could buy all the basic staples of life and not a few little luxuries.

Both have gone, although the post office and shop in Glanton is now coming up on the rails.

However, it is heartening to report that David Carr's tiny shop in Longframlington is not only alive and well, but is thriving ( thriving to the extent that David has just won another prize in some sort of "Small Shopkeeper of the Year" competition and richly deserved too, in my opinion.

My only reservation in my praise of this "Aladdin's Cave" of the grocery trade is that it is so tiny and so full of goodies that I can only move sideways down the alleyways and I ain't got much sideways, even in the new streamlined version.

It is almost impossible for me and one of the larger sort of customers to pass each other without a pile of tins or packages crashing to the floor.

Still and all it is a splendid shop which I happily recommend ( just do not go there when I am in there ( cross the road and buy some of Mr Greene's excellent sausages (best in the North) until I have vacated the premises.

Talking about large sizes, I do think that the chaos of the XL designation in clothes should be standardised.

The present system, or lack of it, is maddening ( take for instance shooting waistcoats, which are very useful garments with all those pockets and things.

I ordered a 3 XL, which with some manufacturers is a good roomy garment.

This one turned out to be a mean and pathetic thing suitable only for a "Person of Restricted Growth".

I finished up with a 6 XL, which is a ridiculous size for a slim line like me. I believe the problem lies with manufacturers who laid down size standards in the 1930s and have not twigged that the average sizes have greatly increased since then.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 15, 2005
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