Tuesday 26 November 2013


This week I have been socialising with one of my old school friends who is visiting from Seattle. We talked a lot about our school days and I was amazed by the cruelty and imagination of some of the nicknames that the children were given:

  • Pasty
    My friend, who had a face a bit like a pasty.
  • The Sherrif
    A ginger boy who used to strut around with an amazing sense of entitlement.
  • Leatherface
    A girl who didn’t have excellent skin.
  • Splinterprick
    A boy whose surname was Woodcock.
  • Ghee
    A boy with a distinctive laugh.
  • Flaky-bake
    A girl with mild eczema.
  • Lead-Head
    A boy who once had a pencil thrown at him.
  • Bottlebank
    A girl alledged to have done something unseemly with a beer bottle.
  • Point
    A boy with a pointy head.
  • Wan
    A boy called Ivan whose name was once written clumsily in capital letters.
  • Pro-Wan
    A boy called Wan who always had the best of everything.
  • Pivot-Pro-Wan
    A boy called Pro-Wan with an unconventional basketball technique.
  • WPC-Pivot-Pro-Wan
    A boy called Pivot-Pro-Wan who wanted to be a policeman.
  • Ladies-Love-WPC-Pivot-Pro-Wan
    A boy called WPC-Pivot-Pro-Wan who French kissed a girl at a party.
Richard "You've got a point there Andy" B

Sunday 24 November 2013

Trago Mills - Newton Abbot or Liskeard which is better?

Please find below a report about Trago Mills from the perspective of a non-Janner.  This report is being shared at the request of rjb who was present at both 'field' trips to said stores.  NB: no corned beef sandwiches were provided on the field trips (as promised) but a pasty was consumed in Looe.

Trago Mills - Newton Abbot or Liskeard which is better?

Recently there has been some debate about which Trago Mills store is superior Newton Abbot or Liskeard. In order to answer this question this report will focus on three key factors: shopping experience, additional facilities and location. So, how does the overall shopping experience at the two stores compare?

It is true to say that there is definitely a ‘great deal happening’ at both of these discount stores! The range of low cost goods available at both Trago’s is unrivalled: from carpets to motability scooters, musical instruments to equestrian supplies. Although the quality of some items could be called into question, these discount superstores also stock well known, household brands such as Farrah. The Liskeard store is easier to navigate than its sister store and the arrangement of checkout tills seemed better organised and less hectic than at Newton Abbot. However, the excitement of the carpet shoot (slide) was soon quelled but the surly attitude of staff when conducting a perfectly reasonable product test. Furthermore, the Newton Abbot store offers shopping opportunities not available at Liskeard such as; drive through garden supplies, the sale of live pets and Trago2wheels.

The Newton Abbot store clearly offers the best shopping experience but what about the additional facilities that can really make that dreary shopping experience into an enjoyable family dayout? Liskeard boats two eateries the Keg & Kettle restaurant and the Aviary Tea Rooms. Moreover, you can stroll along the beautiful Woodland Walk, where there are seating areas and space for you to have a picnic or BBQ. However, these facilities cannot compare to the Family Fun Park at Newton Abbot's Trago Mills! Set in 110 acres of prime Devonshire countryside, one can enjoy a ride aboard a steam railway, bounce on a trampoline and speed away on the ‘Eagle Go Karts’. The Theden Animal Park will delight adults and children alike! Who doesn’t enjoy watching hairy pigs wallow, feeding foul and smoothing ponies! 

Without doubt, the Trago Mills at Newton Abbott has superior facilities and truly earns it title as Swilly Disney amongst local folk. Trago Mills in Newton Abbott has proved superior in terms of overall shopping experience and additional facilities but how will it fare in terms of location? For local Plymothians, this question may seem a nonsense as Newton Abbot is deemed the better store as one does not have to cross the border into Cornwall. However, from a different perspective the contrary could be argued. The opportunity to cross the Tamar on a chain link ferry or on the exciting ‘suicide lane’ of the bridge only adds to the excitement of the trip. Furthermore, it’s close proximity to Looe and Polperro (popular tourists destinations) means that shopping can be combined with a family day out to the seaside. On the other hand, there is an additional cost factor to consider when crossing the Tamar (£1.50) which is not incurred when travelling to Newton Abbot. Furthermore, Newton Abbot itself is also home to such tourist draws as the House of Marbles! After much consideration, the Liskeard store has the most superior location being to so close to beautiful town of Looe.

In conclusion, although the Liskeard store is in the superior location, Trago Mills Newton Abbot offer the best overall shopping experience and is abound with additional facilities. Where else can you encounter peacocks whilst buying a kitchen sink. There is indeed ‘a great deal happening’ in both store but Newton Abbot is the better 

Monday 18 November 2013

The Idiot Samaritan

At the weekend I found a front door key in the street. I must have belonged to someone with the same type of front door as me, and judging by the parking spaces I found it near it must have been somebody who lived roughly opposite me. I knocked on their doors but no-one was in. The next thing that I did was probably technically burglary. I tried the key in a couple of doors and it fitted the door of the house that the hot single mum used to live in.

The owner of the key wasn't at home and I wanted to give their key back to them so I posted it through the letterbox. Before it had even hit the mat I realized how stupid I was. If there's a single locked door in the whole world that you shouldn't put a lost key behind, it's the door that that key opens. For the rest of the day I dreaded that they were going to have to call a locksmith who would break in and then find their key on the mat.

I'm glad to say that the chap who lost the key lives with his girlfriend and she had another one. It also turns out that she knows my new girlfriend (the drunken wedding guest from last month).

Richard "small world" B

Tuesday 12 November 2013


Last week I found myself in a songwriting cliché. It wasn’t the summer of 1969, it wasn’t my first real 6-string guitar, but I did play it until my fingers bled. It sounds like a badge of honour, but all it really means is that I’d been on holiday and let my fingers get soft. It didn’t impress anybody, it spoiled the rehearsal, and for several days it was too painful for me to play any guitar, or wash up, or lift a hot cup of tea.

Richard “Barry quit Jamie got married, should've known that we'd never get far” B

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Night Out

On Saturday I went out drinking in London with a friend who is my ex-lodger and my ex-drummer. It was an exceptionally drunken affair to mark his friend's birthday, and there are large sections of the evening that I can't remember.

I know that we started off in a pub, and then moved to a very fashionable bar. As a party we were then asked to leave the fashionable bar due to vomiting and we moved to another pub. In the bar it took a very long time to get served, and they didn't sell any draught beer. As though we didn't already look gay enough, to avoid too much queueing, my friend came back from the bar to our candlelit table with a bottle of wine and two glasses.

Neither of us knows what combination of night busses it takes to get from Clapham to Mitcham, but I know we did somehow get home. Neither of us knows where in deep south London we changed busses, but we both have a vague recollection of breaking our journey, eating a kebab and narrowly avoiding getting into a fight. I thought I could remember what the kebab shop looked like, it was on a corner and had huge windows, the lights were glamorous and inviting in the night. It turns out that I was actually thinking of a Hopper painting called Nighthawks.

Richard "hangover" B