A veritable smorgasbord of East Coast misery (Day 3)

Sunday morning came, and it was time to say goodbye to the quaint little B+B that had been our home for the previous two days. Micl/Mike was there to see us off (and to waft the credit card reader under our noses), we had a brief chat, mainly about Seaton Carew and John Darwin.

And with that, we left. We put the bags in the car, but left it there,, as it was still a bit early to set off. And of course, Chris had to make sure there was no beer circulation, as he’d be the one driving.

There were still a couple of places we hadn’t visited, such as the shopping centre. There wasn’t much there, except for a Home Bargains, and a beer shop. I stocked up on crap from Home Bargains, and beer from the… Er, beer shop. Naturally.

I think it must have been about 11am at this point. As we left the beer shop, we both caught sight of the drunkest “woman” I think we’d ever seen. Clearly still worse for wear from the night before, she was staggering about, trying to hols onto, what I can only assume is her long-suffering boyfriend, whilst clutching onto a McDonald’s cup. I genuinely felt sorry for the bloke, as she exits the shopping centre, and throws the cup to the ground. The boyfriend, admitting defeat, picks the cup up, and deposits it into a nearby bin.

Stay Classy, Skeggy.

We popped into a nearby cafe to grab a bit of breakfast, whilst recapping the events of the weekend, and where to go on our way home. I wanted to go the Humber Bridge way, as I’ve never been over it (except in Euro Trck simulator 2) and then stop off at Beverley, a place I’d heard of, but never been to. Never even looked at it on Google Maps. It shall be a surprise.

We waved goodbye to Skeggy, and typed Humber Bridge into Googley Maps. Apparently it was about an hour from where we were, and I’m not sure which way we went, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the most direct route. We must have hit every twisty road going. At one point, the maps gave up, went off, came back on, and said “Do a U-turn.” You know what? Nah, we’ll just keep going, how’s about that?

So, Sally Sat-Nav was silenced, and eventually, the roads opened out into proper A-roads, and a few miles away, we could see the towering structure of the Humber bridge

It’s certainly impressive as you go over it.

I hope the photo was worth it, as it cost me £1.50 for the toll.

Beverley was a short ride away, and before we knew it, we were parked up. I tried to befriend one of the nearby resident, but he didn’ t want anything to do with me.

I must say, I have to give a full 9/10 to this place. I liked it a lot. It reminded me a lot of Thirsk, but bigger. Just as quaint though, with its market square and knitted characters on the pillar boxes…

Of course, there were charity shops, but to be honest, even I was getting a little burned out with them. I didn’t keep a tally on how many we went through, but I’m certain it must have been a record. It was approaching 4PM at this point… The time when everything closes on a Sunday, so I made one last stop into an Oxfam. The last CD I purchased turned out to be the best!

Yeah, Neil Sedaka. I know. I only bought it for the one song though, “Bad Blood”. A jolly little 70s tune, which reached number 1 in America, but failed to chart over here. Has Elton John on the backing vocals so I’m surprised it didn’t do well over here.

I have this actual album on LP, but was very surprised to see a CD release of it, so snapped it up. Definitely paid over the odds at £1.99 but I’ll probably never see a copy again.

And that pretty much concludes the trip. We headed back to the car (unfortunately my feline friend had long gone by this point), and completely guessed at the route home. Turns out we went a but further south than we needed to, but it took us through a couple of picturesque little villages, so all was not lost.

We somehow ended up going through the outskirts of York… Not sure how we ended there, and it was here that I learned that Chris does like a little bit of road rage! Not quite sure if it was the actual other drivers, or my choice of music after three days. I suspect a little from column A, a little from column B…

Thankfully for Chris, the journey ended shortly after. I was home, and the rest of the night was spent watching snooker and cataloguing CDs…. A process that took roughly a week, and the main reason you’re reading all of this long after it happened!

Of course, the big (and final) question is, where to next? I doubt anyone has reached this far after three days, but feel free to leave a comment….

A veritable smorgasbord of East Coast misery (Day 2)

And so, onto a nice, sunny day 2. It was time to explore some of what Skegness had to offer.

The first stop would be the pier. As I mentioned yesterday, the B+B we stayed in was really close to the seafront. A single street away, in fact.

The scooter rally thing was in full swing by the time we got there, and a huge long row of scooters were parked along the front. I probably should have got a photo, but scooters don’t really interest me that much. instead, I got a photo of this amusingly named hotel…

I wonder if they had beef curtains… Ahem.

Onto the pier itself next. It’s funny, I live about a mile from the sea, yet I still chose to fill my phone up with pictures of exactly the same sea…

On the way back, I noticed this sign on the floor…

I said to Chris “I like the way that they put the ice cream sign on the floor so the dogs could read it”…

“Oh yeah, good idea that”, he replied. I don’t think he was really listening. I just shook my head.

Time for some breakfast next, and we went to the lesser known cousin of Harry Ramsden for some chips.

A bit pricey, but I guess that’s what you pay for in a seaside resort.

Of course, a trip to any seaside resort wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the arcades. It’s nice to see just how many of them had error messages on the screen…

I was not disappointed.



We also picked up some candy rock. Haven’t had any of that for years. Must admit I’m a bit partial to the old Aniseed flavour myself.

Time to hit the fine charity shops of Skeggy, then. The first one we went into was the Butterfly Hospice shop. I was quite amazed to find an actual decent pile of records. Every single one of them from the 80s / 90s, and unfortunately, every single one priced out of my range. The lady told another customer that a relative donated them, so they looked them up to see what they’re worth and priced them accordingly. NO, charity shops. NO. Stop doing this. If I wanted to pay whet something was worth, then I’d just get them off ebay / Discogs. Anyway, rant over.

Turns out there were more charity shops there than I’d imagined. None of them could change a tenner, meaning I was picking up maybe a quid’s worth of CDs and then having to pay with card. Wonder how much they got charged for that.

That was that for the charity shops in Skegness. Of course, there were other shops, including this one that seemed to just sell animals made out of resin

And that was that. We went back to the car, and headed to the nearby town of Boston. It’s about 25 miles south of Skeggy, but I’d been informed that it was possibly a good place for charity shops.

Despite it only being 25 miles, the fact that it’s all just one twisty road made it feel like 50. I don’t think my choice of music helped either. I’d exhausted the “good” songs on the way there (My Spotify favourites list), so I went through the Top 40. I can quite categorically say that today’s music is shocking. Luckily, Lincolnshire is very flat, so there were no cliffs for Chris to drive off.

We endured another brutal one-way system, and got parked up. Time for another two hours of charity shop mayhem.

While there was no shortage of CDs, three was a shortage of things to carry them in. Now that carrier bags actually have some monetary value, charity shops have stopped giving them out, and cleverly, I forgot to bring one, therefore most of the day was spent swapping CDs between us, Chris would hold onto the horde while I ferreted through the shelves of whichever charity shop we were in.

There was quite a considerable collection picked up from the last shop we were in (the name escapes me), only to find out they didn’t do carrier bags either. Aaargh, I could have screamed. Thankfully, the lovely lady behind the counter had a rummage (oo-er) and picked out one. It was the most effeminate looking bag you could have imagined (not quite as bad as the Guisborough bag), but it held CDs and was sturdy enough, so problem solved.

It was going onto 4PM at this point, and things were starting to close. We headed over to the “Boston Stump”, a huge spire. I don’t think anyone knows why it was called a stump, as there’s nothing stumpy about it.

There was one last stop, a clothes shop, as Chris wanted to pick up a shirt, and we arrived back at the car with about 15 minutes to spare.

We drove back a slightly longer, but more picturesque way. It added about 10 miles onto the journey, but it was better than the flat scenery of the journey there.

We arrived back probably about 5PM. Enough time for a bit of a sit down, and decide which eating establishment we were going to sully with our presence. Just along from the Indian restaurant we attended last night, was… Another Indian restaurant. This one was slightly cheaper, and arguably the nicest of the two, and the nicest naan bread I’ve had since the trip to Blackpool many, many years ago. The curry was nice and the beer was cold too. 10 points all round. If I had any complaints, it was a tad slow, but it was packed, and as the old saying goes “Good things come to those who wait”…

Onto the pubs. Now, it was still pretty busy thanks to the mod weekend that was continuing, so the majority of places were once again packed out. We even gave the Tipsy Cow a miss. We wanted to explore some of Skegness’s culture. there was only one place for it. And yes, I’m having to rely on Google Streetview for this one.

“Oh, Smithers! Let’s go slumming!”

We walked through the door. The bloke behind the glass cabinet / fishbowl asked us to sign in. Chris did the honours our names and the town we were from… “Remember to spell ‘Artlepool with a H”, I quipped wisely. Crickets chirped. The guy inside the fishbowl stared blankly. Well, I laughed.

Unfortunately, the Bingo was on. Now, I’m from such an upbringing to know that nothing, and I mean NOTHING interrupts bingo. We got a drink from the bar, and it felt like 120 sets of eyes were glaring at us. Chris went to the bog, came back and gestured there was another room to the side where there was no bingo! Hurrah! this room has even less atmosphere than the bingo room. There was a completely empty bar, the optics had been stripped clean. It didn’t look like anyone had stepped foot in there for a decade. At this point, I spied another room. Something with a bit more atmosphere. There was a games room! Praise the lord. 80s music, the sound of other people talking, and it looked like there was a darts match going on.

As we were in a games room, I suggested going to the bar, and asking if they had any dominoes. It was a bit tongue-in-cheek if I’m honest, but Chris did the honours, and I was a little more than surprised came back with a set. The games commenced. In the first couple of games, Chris laid a 5-2…. and I also laid a 5-2. Wait, what? Yeah, it turned out these particular dominoes had some duplicates. By the time we’d weeded them out, we were playing with a set of 21 dominoes…. and call be paranoid, but I’m sure that Chris memorised some of these, because he absolutely trounced me. Maybe he was seeing the reflection in my glasses? I will never know. We need a rematch with a full deck.

While this was going on, I was keeping my wonky eye on the pool tables. I’d not played for an exceedingly long time (6 months), so I was itching for a game. A group of teenagers had been hogging the tables for most of the night, but seeing as it must have been their first ever night out (they’d never had Jaegerbombs!), they lost interest in the pool table pretty quickly. I inserted my 3 20p pieces (that’s inflation for you!), and racked the balls up. I went to retrieve the white from the other end of the table, aaaaand nothing. Not only did the dominoes not have a full deck, the pool table didn’t have a cue ball. What type of insanity was this? Chris asked the guy behind the bar. “Oh, I’ve already given the white out”, basically saying we were shit-out-of-luck. Naaaaah, not having that. I went over and commandeered the cue ball off the other table, which was also now sitting vacant.

Halfway through the first match, the barman produced a cueball… Apparently, he’d given it to the people on the snooker table, thinking they wanted to play pool. Oh well, not that it matters. I lost the first rack of 2022, after potting the 8-ball in a particularly elaborate, yet unintended trickshot. Not only did I lose at dominoes, was I now going to lose at Pool?

No, I didn’t. The next two racks were convincingly wrapped up, and I ended up winning 2-1 before the 20p supply ran dry.

And that, as they say, was that. Time was pushing on by this point, and the afore-mentioned vindaloo and beer was giving me acid, so we headed back.

We walked back through the main room where the bingo had been held. The sound of clattering balls and 89 old ladies sinulatenously shouting “Fuck!” had been replaced by an Elvis “impersonator” in the loosest sense of the word. The spirit of Phoenix Nights is still alive and well.

This concluded our final night, and yes, once again, I couldn’t help but take a photo of the SOX lighting…

And while Skegness was over, there was still the journey home to enjoy. Would there be more charity shops?

Well, what do you think….?

A veritable smorgasbord of East Coast misery (Day 1)

A couple of years ago, during the height of what I affectionately call, the Panny-D (admittedly, not a name I invented myself), I came up with the idea of going to a random town, spending a couple of days there, and ultimately raiding the nearby charity shops. I thought it would end up no more than a drunken thought at the height of an insanely depressing time. A couple of months ago, I spoke to Chris about the idea… and he bloody loved it. He also thought it would be great to visit some… er, “lesser known towns”, and explore the sights, sounds, and almost certainly, smells of these different places. A plan was concocted, and before I knew it, we were booked up and winging our way down to the lovely fishing village of Skegness.

So, Friday came, I packed the essentials (a memory card full of music and a couple of T shirts), and off we went. Of course, just going to Skegness would have been a bit of a wasted journey without other stops, so on the way down, I chose a couple of other places, namely Scunthorpe and Grimsby. Chris almost forgot about the Scunthorpe bit, but luckily I reminded him about it with only 0.9 miles to go before the turn off. This would turn out to be the best move of the day. More on Grimsby later.

I had plotted a few places to look at in Scunny, (well, two car parks and a charity shop). Turns out the first car park apparently must have been an NHS one or something because it was closed. Luckily, the second one was open, and even better, it was free for two hours. That couldn’t have worked out any better.

So, charity shops, then. There were a few. I have absolutely no recollection of which ones we visited, but I do know the first one didn’t stock CDs. Oh no. Thankfully, this wasn’t the one I’d plotted on ye olde Googles, and I did pick up “5 for a quid” from one further down the road… this was a struggle, as it would appear some old folks’ home had just had a clear out of the ex-residents’ rooms, or something, as there were 8 shelves of absolute tat.

Of course, the next shop would be this charity shop that I’d located on Google maps, it looked huge, and normally, that’s a good sign. Off we went, and, I quickly began to doubt my map reading skills.. At some point, we’d ended up in the middle of some housing estate. That clearly wasn’t right. I even confirmed that it was open via the googles, so there was absolutely no way it had closed down. Absolutely no way at all. Google wouldn’t lie to me, would it?.

Turns out it had closed down.

Well not quite. It had just moved location, and by pure chance, we stumbled upon where it was now located. I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed in a collection of CDs in all of my entire career of trawling the shops. Ugh. I came out with ONE Paul Young CD and at the time, I wasn’t entirely convinced I didn’t have it in the collection. Of course, I could have checked the database, but I don’t think I could have faced the pain of spending an hour looking for this place, only to come out with nothing. Chris almost bought a knitted psyduck from another shop on the way down. I think this is his first foray into the world of pokemon

Overall, I enjoyed Scunthorpe. It probably would have been better if I didn’t send us on a wild goose chase looking for a shop that no longer existed, but in my defence, The Internets told me it was open.

Our 2 hours parking was completed with 18 minutes to spare, and off we popped to Grimsby…. oh my. A small part of me (read: ALL of me) wished we’d just plopped a couple of quid in the Scunny parking meter and spent a bit more time there. Grimsby is the land that time forgot. In fact, not just time. I think EVERYTHING forgot Grimsby..

Unsurprisingly, My first interest was a charity shop we’d passed on the way in. Chris stopped in a nearby car park to get some water, and I walked along. It became apparent that one of the myths I’d heard about Grimsby was entirely true. It really does smell of fish. And the charity shop was an absolute blow-out, as I hasn’t read the sign correctly…it was simply just a furniture shop, and didn’t sell CDs. Bah

We attempted to get into the town centre. Now, I can’t claim to know much about town planning and traffic management, but my word. Whoever designed the road layout and traffic light system in Grimsby, needs chopping up and feeding to the ample seagulls. It’s HORRIBLE.

Luckily, the town centre is incredibly picturesque.

By sheer luck, we found a carpark, and abandoned the car.

I’m not too sure what to say without coming across overly offensive, but….wow. The smell of fish was soon overpowered by the smell of weed. The few charity shops I raided weren’t even that good. there was a pretty little shopping precinct… thing, and a church of some description. Chris mentioned that he’s like to come back and visit this place…. Sights, sounds and smells of the fishing industry? Yeah, you’re going back there on your own, mate.

I did get a flashback of home, as there was an Indoor market that was almost completely deserted…

One thing that I did see, was some baby pigeons. Not very often you see those, which is just as well, as they were ugly little feckers

That was about it for Grimsby. Charity shops raided, the local “sights, sounds and smells” were successfully “endured”, it was time to make our way to Skeggy.

We got there at about 5PM. The guy from the B+B introduced himself to me and Chris. He was called Mike, and his wife, whom I never got the chance to meet, was called Yvonne. He asked us if we’re here for the scooter weekend. “Hartlepool”, replied Chris, presumably mis-hearing the question. At least it wasn’t me making an awkward faux pas for once. Turns out there was a scooter/mod rally thing on this particular weekend. Every hotel / B+B had scooters parked outside, and every band was playing The Jam.

The B+B was lovely. Completely spotless, and just a tiny walk from the local facilities… And by that, I mean the charity shops, Indian restaurants, and more importantly, the pubs. I only got one particularly bad photo of the outside of the place…

We dumped our stuff in the room, and fired up Google Maps one more time, and aimed it to the first Indian that didn’t have a shocking rating, and that place was called “Saffron”. Unlike the earlier incident, the technology didn’t fail us and we ended up walking there without incident.

A vindaloo and a pint later, we tried to find a nice quiet pub. That was a bit tricky, seeing as it was the afore-mentioned “Mod weekend”, and just a sunny weekend in general. We had a pint in the Wetherspoons whose name escapes me. The Red Lion? We soon decided that this was shit. After all, it was a Spoons. Time to look for somewhere else.

There was a strange deserted spot between the bars and the seafront. Seemed very eerie. Luckily that meant there as a small place called “The Tipsy Cow” that happened to be very quiet. Ideal!

A couple of pints later, we headed out for a walk along the seafront. It was your typical seaside resort, even at 10pm. Loud music, garish lights….

Speaking of lights, I was in streetlight heaven. The majority of the streets were lit by SOX (low pressure sodium) lighting. It must have been decades since I’d witnessed a scene like this, and seeing as this light source has been phased out, it’ll probably be the last time too.

That pretty much concluded Day 1. We spent an hour or two watching Chris Morris clips on YouTube, and then it’ll be Day 2.

Eurovision 2022! Hurrah!

It’s one of my favourite times of the year. A time when I sit down and spend an entire night listening to potentially terrible music

The normal rules apply… Refresh this page to hear my thoughts on a particular song…

I’m already looking forward to “Give That Wolf A Banana”… In a perfect world, the best song will win, but we all know that Ukraine are going to win…

Here we go! Well, if the intro songs are to go by, this isn’t going to be too bad. No idea what they were (and I’m not referring to that “Give Peache a Chance” crap), but I quite liked them. Laura Bazini, or someone. I’ll probably look her up later.

Oh good lord, there’s a parade of the flags now. I think I’ve started this a bit early. Still enough time to nip for a piss before the real action starts

Oh no! Apparently, there’s going to be a load of “emotional ballads” this year.

Czech Republic: We Are Domi – Lights Off

Here we go! Bit of an 80s vidbe to it, not much of a tune. The flashing effects aren’t really doing much for the compression, considering I’m watching via iplayer. It’s definitely been the best song of the contact so far, but I’m sure there’ll be better.

Romania: WRS – Llámame

Well, the crowd are clapping. Nil points for whatever the bloke’s wearing, however. the intrumental bit’s pretty catchy, which isn’t great, seeing as this is a song contest. I’d probably prefer this over the first one if I’m honest.

Portugal: MARO – Saudade, Saudade

“Harmonised introspective ballad”. says Graham Norton. I don’t know what to make of it. Oh wait, yes, I do. It’s dreadful. I genuinely disliked everything about that. NEXT!

Finland: The Rasmus – Jezebel

Always amuses me when actual bands that I’ve heard of enter this competition. It’s certainly more uptempo than the last one, and that’s probably all I can say about it. Oh, wait, there was a nice little key change there. It’s improved it somewhat.

Switzerland: Marius Bear – Boys Do Cry

The question that Mr. Norton asked was “Will it stay in the memory?” I can guarantee it will NOT. this is pretty much everything wrong with music these days. Has there been a shortage of drumkits? He’s got a whiny voice like a mile Adele. Naaaaah.

“Boys do CRAAAAAAAGH”.

France: Alvan & Ahez – Fulenn

Ooh, I like this one. Well, I did until they started singing. Don’t know if it’s me, but the verse bit sounded ever so slightly out of time? La la la le li lo, lu, lm, lx, etc. Saying that, it’s one of the few that I’d listen to again so far.

There now follows a human sacrifice”. Hahahah.

Norway: Subwoolfer – Give That Wolf A Banana

I do love a good novelty song. And this is probably my favourite so far. SOMEONE GIVE THAT WOLF A BANANA. And they repeated the word “Yum” 90 times.

Armenia: Rosa Linn – Snap

Oh, it’s another ballad, but this one’s not too bad. I’m thinking KT Tunstall? I do actually really like this one. I’d say this is my favourite so far. I’d definitely listen to this one again. Deux points.

Italy: Mahmood & Blanco – Brividi

TO TERRY! Up to 9 songs already. Is it a ballad in Italian? well, I don’t understand, but the crowd appear to be loving it… I, however, do not. Now, where did I put that beer…

Spain: Chanel – SloMo

A song originally written for J-Lo, did he say? oooh, I’m sorry, I’ve totally zoned out of this song, she has a lovely bottom. I might have to watch this one back later. Good lord. That’s one way to be memorable.

Netherlands: S10 – De Diepte

“Something completely different”. Yeah, not amazing, but I’ve just noticed how much the backing scenery looks like the old “Taito” arcade games booting up…

Ukraine: Kalush Orchestra – Stefania

Well, this wasn’t what I was expecting. I have no idea what the guy’s wearing (it’s like when you put a lampshade on your head when you’re a kid), and I have no idea what he’s singing, but… it’s actually OK. When I read “Orchestra”, I was expecting another ballad, but this is a folky / rap crossover thing. With flutes. Not bad. Not bad at all.

It’s probably going to win.

Germany: Malik Harris – Rockstars

Oh, god. It’s that style of singing again. instead of “fast”, it’s pronounced fhaaaaaruuust”. “Rhhhockstaaaaaus”. I can’t get past the awful vocals. there’s a rap section that is a carbon copy of “Headlights” by Eminem and that guy off Fun. It’s a shame, because the song has got better as it went on, but, that style of vocal is just…. no.

Lithuania: Monika Liu – Sentimentai

Oooh, old style Eurovision I have a feeling I like this…. Well, it’s certainly got a disco vibe, but it just doesn’t get going. It’s like a slightly faulty kettle that never gets to boil, just sits there almost bubbling away. Still, it gave me a chance to go and fix some spelling errors.

Azerbaijan: Nadir Rustamli – Fade To Black

You think he’d have got dressed up. Shame that it’s another ballad. Nope, it’s a nil points for me. I take it there’s not a break between the songs because I need a wee again now.

Belgium: Jérémie Makiese – Miss You

Well, Graham Norton was right when he said the show was “toploaded”. Some of the best songs at the start, and the rest towards the end.

Greece: Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord – Die Together

Hh no, “a batch of ballads”. If this was on CD I’d have skipped it after the first few seconds. Eventually, it got going. hmmm, I thought she was going to have a Bjork moment there.

Iceland: Systur – Með Hækkandi Sól

It’s a ballad, but I like it. It’s as if the Corrs attempted country. Out of all the ballady ones, this has been my favourite so far.

Moldova: Zdob şi Zdub & Advahov Brothers – Trenulețul

The ballads are done. Hurrah! YES! this is brilliant! This is what Eurovision is all about. After sitting through all of those bloody ballads, this is exactly the antidote to them. I think whoever owns the rights Blitzkreig Bop could sue them for copyright though… I absolutely loved that.

Sweden: Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer

Swedent are often my favourite, with “Invincible / Evighet” by Carola, being one of my favourite songs of all time”, and that Stormvind one from 1990, also by Carola. this one’s got a good instrumental. Vocalist sounds a bit like a drunk nanna on a karaoke though

Australia: Sheldon Riley – Not The Same

His face looks like the front door of a butchers. Did not like that one bit.

United Kingdom: Sam Ryder – Space Man

Here we go. The first time I’ve heard this song, at least I think so anyway. Yep, I like that one. Bleepy backing music. Guitars, and that overproduced percussion that’s been sadly lacking all night. That was great. Definitely not nil point this year.

Poland: Ochman – River

Three songs left. Mike made a balls-up and just caused Poland “holland”. Oh. Now if we had a nanna doing a karaoke earlier, now we’ve got the over-confident bloke doing karaoke. that’s a little unfair. I’ve heard worse tonight, but I’m certainly not going to rush out and add this to my CD collection any time soon.

Serbia: Konstrakta – In Corpore Sano

This will forever be known as the “Meghan Markle” song (or however it’s spelt). I think this one is the worst one of the night.

Estonia: Stefan – Hope

Awww, I’m actually gutted that it’s over for another year. 24 songs, 1 to go. Acoustic guitar, bit of whistling. Ennio Morricone would be turning in his grave, he’s totally ripped off “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”… and I really like it. A decent one to finish the night on…. It could have done with a key change, but that was great.

Super Plorrds. It’s super.

Ahhh yes, the Greaseweazle is the gift that keeps on giving, and I’m happy to report that I’m not the only one enjoying its greasy goodness.

You may remember, waaay back in the early days of the blog (in a post that’s probably hidden now) , that I talked about an Amiga game I used to play, called Plorrds. It came free on an Amiga Power coverdisk, and I loved it. Played it for hours. I even partially put it down to my crap GCSE results, as I spent so many hours staying up and playing it. Of course, the real reason might have been that I’m just a bit thick, therefore I like to blame the former.

Back in 2001, I started a job at a (now long defunct) company. The first person to introduce me to the company, was a bloke called Glen. At some point over the next few years, myself and Glen got talking about the Amiga.

At some point, the words “Plorrds” got dropped into the conversation. “Oh Yeah, I remember that!” I said, excitedly. Glen responded with “Well, I programmed it”. If there was a sound of a jaw hitting a desk, it would be a sort of “fop” sound. I couldn’t help but feel like I was in the midst of a celebrity.

Fast-forward a couple of months or so. The date is November 5th, 2001. I had just invested in a shiny new Amiga 600 (shiny and new aren’t exactly words I’d use for it, but at least it worked), and was rooting through some of my old disks. Out popped Plorrds. “Huzzah!” I thought, as I plonked the disk in the drive, and waited patiently for the menu to come up…. aaaand “Disk read error”. Oh. It turned out the disk was completely ruined. 

At some point during the intervening 21 years, Glen mentioned there was a “Super Plorrds”, but it had never got released. After my (many) posts about the Greaseweazle, Glen contacted me and asked if they were worth getting, as he had a large amount of disks from back in the day that he wanted rescuing.

I advised that it was exactly what he was looking for, so he rushed out and bought one… Or rather, sent away for one.

A week or so later, he sent me a message confirming it was all working. Of course, my next question was if Plorrds still existed.

“Even better than that”, he replied. “The unreleased Super Plorrds still exists”, and I could have the exclusive first look!

As promised, an email plopped into my mailbox a short time later, with a disk image attached.

I fired it up, and I was transferred back to 1995, albeit with more music, different colour scheme, and even different gameplay.

The premise is extremely simple. You start with a grid of numbers, half with plus figures up to 10, half with minus figures up to 10. The trick is, one player can only move horizontally, and the second player can only move vertically. The winner is the player with the highest score. Obviously. The game ends when all of the squares are gone, or a player can no longer move.

The trick is to plan ahead. You COULD go for just the highest value square, but before you know it, player two could lure you into a row of negative points. The real trick is to plan ahead, even sacrifice a few points, if it means your opponent can do nothing than lose more points than you. It gets trickier when you start running out of possible moves, and your massive lead could be wiped out within a matter of moves.

If you play the CPU, there are a number of difficulty levels. I’ve been playing the game for almost 30 years and I’ll be lucky if I can get past level 4 or 5. I don’t think I’ve ever played another human at it. It’d be great if that was a thing, as after almost 25 years, I still royally suck at it…

STuffed – Atari ST Disk Magazine

Right, so I’m part way through converting the big box of floppies I got from ebay. From the looks of it, there’s not much of interest to me. There’s lots of public domain disks. I have a feeling that there’s probably a few “missing in action” disks there, so I’ll certainly go through them in greater detail, and upload them somewhere. One thing I did find, is that there was a disk magazine called “STuffed” by Floppysoft – I had a check, and couln’t find anything about it, except for a brief post a couple of years ago on an ST forum. The author, at the time, lived in Aberdeen, and now lives in Australia. As far as I can see, the disks have never been converted, so I bring to you, disks 1 and 2 of STuffed…

STuffed 1
STuffed 2

The disks! They’ve arrived!

I’m happy to report that the disks were handed to the guards at Mercuryvapour Towers, and not just thrown over the portcullis. I now have in my possession 100 floppy disks, Woohoo!

I rushed hurriedly upstairs, with my precious cargo under my arms. I ripped the cellophane off, to be confronted with a nice neat cardboard box with “MISC BACKUPS” written on the side. No signs of mould / damp. No smell like they’d been rotting in a pool of water for 20 years. Things were looking promising

The sellotape holding the box shut looked like it had been there for a long time. This was a good sign. Someone had clearly backed these disks up, then filed them away. I guess it meant that they hadn’t been touched, and had data on them.

I was even more impressed when I opened the box. 10 neat boxes of 3.5 floppies. All of the same make. I was even more impressed when I opened the disk, and found that each disk had a protective sleeve on them too! I couldn’t wait to try them. Each box even had a little label on them saying what was in there…

On goes the PC. The Greaseweazle lets out a little squeak as I stuck the USB cable up its grundle. We were good to go.

Firstly, just a random disk. Just to make sure it was all going to be working. Everything sounded perfect. Not a single unexpected noise from the drive. These disks were perfect. time to fling it into hxc and take a look what’s on them…

Waaaaaait, what? Why does that disk look like it’s only formatted on one side? Was the drive dead? I stuck in my test disk, and it came back fine. Both sides read correctly. I’d noticed that it had actually recognised the disk as a 360K formatted disk. I didn’t even know this type of thing existed. One thing had became very, very clear… These disks waren’t going to be reading in my Amiga emulator any time soon.

I read a couple more. These came back as 720K disks, so I checked the files. They might still be of use if they had PC compatible stuff on them…

***** EASY TEXT v 1.23 from zzSoft *****

This version of EASY TEXT is suitable for high res AND medium res
ATARI ST'S.

Oh, well isn’t that just effing marvellous. I now have a nice box of 100 disks that are only useable in a computer I have absolutely no interest in owning or emulating. Well, there’s my night’s entertainment (and £30) down the bloody kermit. I suppose I could still image them and stick them somewhere. Don’t know what I’ll do with them after that.

So, this post is a lot shorter (and infinitely more disappointing) than what I was anticipating. Still, some you win…

FOR SALE: APPROX 100 ATARI ST DISKS…. anyone? £31?