Archive for January 2010
This letter to the editor is straight out of the once-bitten-twice-shy school of tourism.
Nottingham Evening Post, 26 January 2010:
Letter: We won’t return to Nottingham
MY partner and myself have just been for our first ever stay in Nottingham, even though we are pensioners and live only in the next county.
We were delighted with the city. Our hotel was fine, as were our visits to Nottingham Contemporary, the Castle Museum and Art Gallery, the Galleries of Justice (what a superb lady guide!) and the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre (where we spent £230 we could not afford, but did so happily as the merchandise was so well displayed in a multitude of shops).
But everything was spoilt at the last going-off, by an officious twerp in the bus station at that shopping centre.
He told us that I could not take a souvenir picture of my partner in the bus station, as it was “private property”.
I told him that I had lost two uncles in the war, fighting Hitler. And now we were breeding little Hitlers like this idiot.
He managed to sour the taste of a great two days in Nottingham. We will not return to be insulted by such people.
We will spend our money in Cambridge instead.
And there, pensioners have free parking and free bus travel from the Park and Ride.
We were astonished to see that the trams in Nottingham do not respect the national over 60s free bus pass.
So that is a second reason why we won’t return.
Carry on scoring own goals Nottingham, and you will get no tourists spending in your shops.
VIN ADAMSWOOD, Woodrow Park, Scartho, Grimsby
The superb lady guide! at the Galleries of Justice is the only one to emerge from all of this with any credit whatsoever.
Presumably Vin travels to various towns and cities and immediately submits equally no-holds-barred analyses of their relative credentials to the local newspapers upon getting back home. Cambridge had better be on its best behaviour.
I’m not sure Nottingham can continue. Not after this.
A new form of civil warfare is plaguing the streets of Britain: sneezing.
Stockport Express, 10 January 2010:
Protester cleared in court of sneezing on security guard
A MAN who held a three-year vigil outside the town hall has been cleared of assaulting a security guard after claims he sneezed on him.
Michael Parnell became a familiar face outside the town hall over three years, at one point standing on the steps 24 hours a day.
The father-of-two held signs bearing simple messages such as ‘Hello’ in a bid to raise awareness of a long-standing grievance with social services.
Gradually relations between Mr Parnell and security staff deteriorated and last summer he was convicted of deliberately blowing mucus onto one of them.
Public support is quickly gathering pace for the UK government’s newly-launched anti-sneeze strategy, the ‘War on Mucus’. However, in a blow to Whitehall chiefs’ hopes of securing victory, home-bred sneezer Mr Parnell has hit back impressively in the battle for ‘hearts and minds’ by having himself inexplicably pictured alongside inexplicability’s Kerry Katona.
Being pictured alongside such an influential alcohol-influenced celebrity icon is, of course, a very effective means of advancing one’s fight for justice. Or, at least, slightly more effective than trying to give someone the sniffles.
The court heard Mr Parnell had been protesting outside the main council offices in October 2008 when he tried to force open the automatic doors.
Security guard Francis Craughwell claimed that when he confronted Mr Parnell, he had blown mucus at him, saying: ‘Here, share my cold.’
[...] Mr Parnell was cleared of common assault but banned from going within one mile of council offices for 18 months.
If you find the tone of this post a bit snotty about a man who is clearly working through some big tissues at the moment you can, frankly, fu-cough. Thanks to Gez Daring for sharing his cold this story.
Just what exactly was this salesman selling?
Bradford Telegraph & Argus, 25 July 2003:
£900 FINE FOR THE CAR PARK FLASHER
A salesman who appeared in transparent tights and flashed at a woman in a gym car park was fined £900 by magistrates.
Bingley Magistrates Court heard that a gym member was “appalled and disgusted” when 42-year-old Mark Hill exposed himself to her in the car park of the Marriott Hollins Hall Hotel gymnasium and health club in Baildon last year.
And on an earlier occasion he struck up a conversation with one of the gym’s fitness instructors in the car park while wearing transparent tights cut off mid-thigh with no underwear. [...]
Prosecutor Charles MacRae said Hill approached Mrs Hollyoak on December 3 at about 5.15pm in the car park, as she was about to go to the gym, and asked her whether his shorts were too thin at the back.
She ignored him and rang reception for help.
Don’t bloody ask reception! They won’t know if you don’t even know while you’re standing right in front of him.
He got back into his silver Audi TT but shortly afterwards stood in front of Mrs Hollyoak and touched himself, with his pants pulled down. A member of staff then approached Hill and asked him to leave. Police were called.
Mr MacRae said that in a separate incident in September, Hill had asked instructor Mrs Shankland, who had just finished taking a class at the gym at about 2.30pm, whether his shorts were appropriate for the club.
Mrs Shankland said the shorts, made from cut-off women’s tights, were see-through and she could tell he had no underwear on.
I like the sound of this Mrs Shankland; she doesn’t dodge the Big Questions and just tells it like it is. I also like the defendant in this case, because he also tells it like it is:
Hill told the court he had the tights on because he had used the bottom parts as covers to protect his stereo speakers from his two Siamese cats and was wearing them instead of cycling shorts because they were more comfortable.
Welcome to the utopian streets of south Manchester, where £50 enables you to rid the entire planet of a vicious and crippling disease while still having enough change to cover a pint and a packet of crisps.
South Manchester Reporter, letters page, 5 November 2009:
People have been generous
THE Rotary Club of Didsbury are pleased to announce that the total of monies raised for the international project supported by UNICEF and WHO to eradicate the world from polio held on October 24 amounted to £46.80. We thank those who donated to our cause.
Rtn P Humphreys, Hon Secretary, Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield
While they’re at it, they should see if they can raise enough money to eradicate the world from miserliness. Hats off to the world’s most sarcastic sub-editor for the letter’s headline, by the way.
Today in the region: heartless bastards strike again.
Basildon Echo, 4 November 2009:
Guide dog Hamish is ‘too smelly’ for Rose cafeBy Max Orbach
A BLIND pensioner is furious after his guide dog was refused entry to a cafe for being too smelly.
Arthur Holman, 73, and his wife Sylvia, 72, planned to have lunch at the Rose Cafe in Northlands Pavements, Pitsea, because their kitchen cooker was out of action.
But the restaurant manager banned Arthur from taking his guide dog Hamish – a golden retriever – inside.
Arthur, who has been almost completely blind in both eyes since 2004, said: “I tried to explain to him Hamish was for my sight, but he didn’t want to know. It was embarrassing and humiliating to be turfed out.”
The manager told Arthur the dog’s smell would put off other customers.
Criminally, the Basildon Echo really leaves the reader hanging on this occasion and fails to specify the nature of the olfactory nightmare in question. Mind you, something suggests Hamish wasn’t emitting an intense and overpowering scent of fresh laundry that day.
Thankfully, Basildon’s wonderful sense of community means it’s the kind of place where everyone knows everyone and a good samaritan will always step forward to offer refuge for those in need:
After arguing with the owner the couple gave up and went to eat in KFC instead.
Result. But ‘gave up’ on what, exactly? Healthy cuisine? Independent cafe culture? Life itself? Again, we’re left hanging. Nevertheless, it’s useful to know KFC will take anyone in; even if your dog does smell like it’s decomposing and exhaling sulphur at the same time.
It’s excellent when a news report concludes with a quote that really makes you take a step back and think:
This is not the first time it has happened to Arthur. He was also barred from taking Hamish into George’s Cafe, in Station Lane, Pitsea, four years ago.
He said: “It is not just for me, there are other blind people in Basildon.
“We shouldn’t be treated like this. We have enough trouble as it is.”
Welcome to the second installment of normal, everyday, bog-standard, middle-of-the-road people like you and me showing off their best vacant stares in Middlesbrough’s Evening Gazette.
Acklam pool fight is over
We’re living in a vice zone, say angry residents
Teesside cabbies in town centre rank row
Row erupts over barriers on East Cleveland road
Thorntree couple demand more action on anti-social behaviour
Get yer coat, you’ve pulled a Gazette Face.
Residents call for action to end flooding
Yobs smash fire engine windscreen on Stockton estate
Stockton pet owner’s warning after dog attack
Middlesbrough street lighting system attracts interest from across UK
Evening Gazette, 13 October 2009 (story):
The hi-tech street lighting scheme was installed in Okehampton Drive in Marton Manor, Middlesbrough, in July and has already drawn two coach-loads of interested engineers wanting to see the system in action. [...]
Last month, lighting engineers from as far afield as Bedfordshire, Doncaster, Newcastle and Scotland made the journey to Middlesbrough for a demonstration of old versus new technology.
And recently 50 more engineers from as far afield as Torbay and Ayrshire visited the scheme.
How far? Jesus. Christ.
Link: Gazette Faces, Vol. 1
Imagine the scene: it’s Christmas Eve and you’ve had a frantic day of last-minute Christmas shopping and pram-dodging out in the freezing cold streets. At the end of it all, you’re gasping for a pint. You walk into a pub and go to the bar, drooling with gay abandon at the prospect of imminently quenching the most overwhelming of all thirsts. All of a sudden, a member of the bar staff asks you to remove your hat. Do you:
(a) take off your hat and relax with a drink in the warm, contented glow brought by the knowledge it is Christmas Day tomorrow; or
(b) run crying to the local newspaper.
Lancashire Evening Post, 4 January 2010:
‘We’re not serving you unless you take your hat off’
By Matthew Squires
With the mercury dropping below zero, a Preston mum-of-one thought her trendy woolly hat would be the perfect protection against the freezing temperatures.
But she was left stunned after pub staff refused to serve her until she took it off. Caroline Lonergan says staff at The Wheatsheaf, Watery Lane, Ashton, told her it was pub policy that she had to remove her woolly hat. When she asked why, she was told it was because it had a peak.
PC gone mad. It’s easy to empathise with Caroline’s anger, really, because she is white, most probably middle class, wears a lovely, elegant scarf, and the hat is from Marks & Spencer, for God’s sake. Thus she is clearly not subject to an ASBO, and has every right to expect to be treated differently to everyone else.
After taking off her hat, she went to the bathroom but realised she did not have a brush.
“I came out and just felt embarrassed,” she added.
“I told the manager and he said, ‘You can put it back on’.”
But when she went back to the bar to get another round she was again told she would not be served while she was wearing it.
She added: “It was just embarrassing circumstances really. If they’d said to me ‘sorry Caroline you have to take it off now please’ and I’d have said ‘sorry I didn’t realise, but if I can keep it on now I won’t wear it again in here’ that would have been fine.”
Oh shut up.
Heartfelt thanks to the excellent Angry people in local newspapers blog for featuring this story.
The websites of regional newspapers and their public comments sections can provide a cruel source of humiliation for those making it into the news.
Online coverage of what may, at first glance, have seemed a fairly run-of-the-mill ‘angler’s life saved by flotation suit’ story in Middlesbrough’s Evening Gazette quickly descended into farce as a result of this picture of the brave angler and Dad-of-five (aren’t they always?) being comforted in hospital by his wife Pam. Thanks to Graeme Bandeira for pointing it out.
No doubt that outfit was just something she threw on. I suppose you have to make an effort when you’re in the paper. And I suppose if you’ve got an Evening Gazette login and enough time on your hands you have to make sure you have your say:
People can be so kind.
It must have been a slow news day in the seaside town of Whitstable, Kent, when the local paper decided to run with the story of a woman who wanted to buy custard, couldn’t find any, eventually found some, but it wasn’t the brand she would really have liked. There are few words to describe such a series of events, but somehow the Whitstable Times found 652.
Thank you to Thomas Oppe for spotting this story and illustrating that the proof of the pudding is in the bleating-on-about-custard-stocks of a 43-year-old holiday rental company director.
Whitstable Times, 25 March 2009:
Whitstable mum in custard shortage
A MUM of three is dis-custard after a hunt for the dessert sauce in the town proved fruitless.
Keen baker Jules Serkin, 43, of West Cliff, Whitstable, needed a tin of custard powder to top off her apple and blackcurrant crumble.
But she was left with a sour taste in her mouth after getting no joy in either Co-ops at Oxford Street and Canterbury Road, and in Somerfield, in the High Street.
Even a trek to Tankerton’s Tesco Express – a corner shop version of its superstores – was wasted.
“I try to support my local businesses, but in the end I had to resort to going to one of the big supermarkets to get what I needed,” said Jules, a holiday rental company director.
The article is too long to reproduce in full here because the Whitstable Times appears to have interviewed all and sundry about this saga. Some of the most telling comments are from Somerfield spokesman Pete Williams, of undisclosed age, who displays an admirable, almost freakish, awareness of his large national supermarket chain’s current stocks and a dogged refusal to adhere to the customer service dictat that the customer is always right.
“We are a bit perplexed about your reader’s trouble in finding custard in the store. It offers a variety of custards including: tinned, fresh, cartons and in powdered form.
“Today (Monday March 23) it has both Somerfield own brand tinned custard and tinned custard made by Ambrosia. The store stocks Somerfield Instand (sic) Custard Mix – to which you simply add water.
I think he’s calling her a liar. Good.
Follow the link for the full lowdown on this woman’s battle to get her just desserts.