Is there anything better than a surprise record fair?

Saturdays. It’s hard to say that you can genuinely enjoy just a seventh of your life, but yes, seeing as Saturdays only come round once a month, it’s hard to put it any other way. Fridays still involve work, and Sundays are spent dreading work, so yeah. One day of enjoyment a week.

This particularly depressive attitude means that I have to make the most of my Saturdays. I went to bed particularly early the night before, as “Totally 70s” was off-ait this week. It’s an online radio station that… Yep, you guessed it, plays 70s music, and has live videos, usually with a video stream. Unfortunately, the Friday night DJ couldn’tt make it, due to real-life commitments, so it was left to their automated system to dish out the tunes. And without the interactive element, it’s just not the same, so I went to bed.

It did mean, however, that I could wake up early enough to actually do something with my one enjoyable day, so thought I’d jump on the bus and go to Stockton and then Middlesbrough. It’s a good while since I’d done a full day of “charity Shop shit”.

I disembarked at Stockton, and quite literally the greatest sight that could ever be projected into my shiny little eyeballs, the sight of a marquee, and those magical words…

It was like some type of beautiful waking dream. It was free too, which was just the icing on the cake.

One complaint I’ve had about recent record fairs is that there’s been very few boxes to rummage through, namely random boxes of singles. This time, I was not disappointed. In fact the very first box I went through, I pulled out this….

It’s a song I don’t expect anyone reading this to know (much like the entirety of my collection), but I first heard it probably back in 2014, from this particular episode of Ron Gerber’s “Crap From The Past”. It was also used in the film “Playing For Keeps”, which I’m sure you’ll be unsurprised to learn I haven’t seen.

I picked up a few other bits from this particular stall, and ended up paying £8 overall. I think this marks a significant moment, as I’m sure it was the first time I’d paid for anything at a record fair using my card.

I went through a couple of other stalls and picked up a few bits and bobs, (including Now 1 on CD, the 2018 re-release though), and came out highly satisfied with my haul, considering I didn’t even know it was going to be there.

Of course, this record fair ate into the time that would have otherwise been allocated to the charity shops. This wasn’t much of an issue, as these days, the quality of the musical merchandise you can pick up from Stockton’s shops has gone slowly downhill recently, so I didn’t come out with that much.

Despite the fact that time was getting on, there was still enough time to grab the bus to Middlesbrough (there’d have been even more time if I hadn’t have forgotten which pocket I’d put my bus ticket in, meaning I had to wait for the next one).

I think Middlesbrough has to be my favourite place for charity shops. They’re plentiful, and a couple of them had even came back from the dead. The “Age UK” had reopened (despite it having a big “To Let” sign on the door, and also the “Cats’ Protection” which had closed at some point before the lockdown, I believe. I didn’t buy anything from either, but good to see they’ve been resurrected, at least for now.

There’s also a new “Amazing Grace” shop, in the place of Scope/Sense (Can’t remember which) in the shopping centre. Again, nothing of any interest.

YMCA always have some goodies on offer, and today was no exception, along with Farplace. They had some “100 Hits” boxsets, at a quid each, snapped up three of those. I probably already have, like 95% of the songs, but I’ve always found a couple of obscure gems on the other ones that I’ve not seen anywhere else.

That concluded my journey pretty much. The last stop was HMV. I considered getting a James Blunt “Greatest Hits” CD for his song “Bartender”, which I like, but don’t own, but it was too close to payday to consider paying £5.99 for such an item. Good lord, inagine going overdrawn because of James Blunt? It stayed on the shelf.

Last stop was the bakery near the bus station, where I picked up some lovely sausage rolls.

The bus ride was particularly uneventful, until the bus got to Asda, when a load of kids got on, who decided they want to make a nuisance of themselves, with water pistols and the like.

A teeny, tiny bit of water hit my hand, like maybe three drops.

“If you even think of aiming that at me again, I’ll jump over there and shove that down your throat”. Of course, I said that about 30 seconds before I got off, otherwise I’d have no doubt got completely soaked off them.

Just as I was getting off, the driver came out of his cab and bellowed at them to behave, or they were getting kicked off. I do wither what happened after that!

I then stocked up at lidl, and returned home, just in time to see the build-up of some insignificant football match, which The Liverpools lost, I believe.

It was an early night for me, as there was something exciting happening that following morning… A radio rally!

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.

Pointy thing in my arm…

I hate to drag you away from the excitement that’s been the Amiga posts (Trust me, there’s plenty more to come!) but yesterday was the day of my first COVID jab. Nothing more than that, nothing less. Just mainly for my records, and the fact this begins the 15 week path to freedom. Maybe.

Can’t take me anywhere…

Well, it just seems that I’m seeing the inside of hospitals more frequently than I am my own house at the moment. Sit down, dear friends, and I shall tell a story. For those of you who were looking forward to part three of the foot saga, that’s coming soon enough. Imagine this as a little side-episode into my unfortunate life, where I once again, end up in a hospital.

Today was a Saturday. (It’ll probably be Sunday by the time you read this, but never mind). Jamie S fancied a day trip to Newcastle via the train. It’s been a while since we’d done anything on the rattler, so it made a bit of a change. We got there at just before 2PM. The first stop (after a brief stop at a couple of charity shops) was to get some grub. Now, the worst thing about being ina big city at that time is trying to find somewhere to eat. Wagamama’s is my new favourite spot. I have a thing for their Firecracker chicken, it’s amazing. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the queue was pretty much out of the door. Bad news. Same for Nandos, so this meant we had to find somewhere else. A few months ago I’d had a lovely steak at Red’s BBQ place, so although it’s a bit more expensive, we agreed to go there. Perfect.

Meals were ordered, and I looked forward to my steak. I got it medium. Just fancied a change from medium rare. The food came, and I started. After one single solitary mouthful, the worst thing happened. I’d clearly not chewed my bit of steak correctly, because as I swallowed, I knew that it was not going down. Now, this sometimes happens if I have a large piece of bread, and normally a bit of a drink pushes it down and we’re good to go again. Nope, not this time.

I took a drink, and I couldn’t swallow it. It was going nowhere. The only thing that was shifting was the drink of coke I had, and that was coming upwards. Panic started to set in, some people thought I was choking. Some people slapped me on the back, but this didn’t shift it. The staff were concerned at this point. I went to the toilet to try and bring it up, but nope. Nothing happened. This steak was well and truly lodged.

The shopping centre staff came involved, and called 999. This was the first time I’d ever had anything like that called for me. There’s been a lot of firsts when it comes to hospitals over the last couple of months. Anyway, the 999 service recommended I go to the RVI. They weren’t sending an ambulance because I was obviously in no immediate danger. I could breathe. There was no blood. It was just a bit of stuck meat. An incredibly uncomfortable bit of stuck meat, and I didn’t realise until then, that the RVI was only 10 minutes walk away. I was told not to try and bring it up myself.

I could feel my body trying to shift this foreign object, like a sharp pain just below my throat., and the motion of walking really didn’t help.

It’s not until you’re unable to swallow properly that you realise just how much saliva you actually produce, and it had to go somewhere. Out of my mouth, and into pretty much every place I could find. Hedges, drains, anywhere. It was not pleasant, and I’m sure anyone else watching would have found me disgusting, without actually knowing what was going on..

We got to the A+E, Jamie S helped me check in because I was unable to speak without running to the door and expelling a load of saliva. Usual triage procedure took place. Blood pressure, heart rate, etc, and I was told to go back to the waiting area. This was awful. The action of sitting just made me feel worse, so I had to stand for the entire time. I’d often clear my head by going outside and resting on the barriers. Again, I was running to the toilet every few minutes to empty my mouth, and sometimes, this did trigger a vomit. A rather loud, painful vomit.. Naturally, there was very little coming up. Certainly no steak.

Time passed. Jamie S amused himself by extracting the urine, and keeping me updated on the football scores. After about an hour of waiting around, the third vomit session took place. Again, nothing of any significance happened A bit of liquid, but nothing resembling steak.

I went back outside to cool off, and then I noticed… I could swallow. I didn’t want to bring up anything. Had that last one fixed the problem? I came back inside, and Jamie S said he’d noticed I’d looked better. Immediately after this, my name was called, by the doctor. I went in.

“Doc, this might literally be your easiest issue of the day”.

Indeed it was, he gave me a glass of water, and thankfully it stayed down. Panic, and this little traumatic episode, well and truly over. There was still time, so we headed back to Eldon Square. As luck would have it, we managed to bump into the staff who helped me out, so said a massive thanks to them.

I feel I have a few thanks to say, and apologies. None of these will ever read this (Jamie S might just read it to correct my spelling), but thanks all the same…

Thanks and apologies to Jamie S. I ruined your Saturday, and you’ve had to put up with me spewing up. Again.
Apologies to the staff at Red’s. You did a wonderful steak, and I took one bit out of it. I am genuinely heartbroken at the waste of such a good meal. It wasn’t your fault. It was mine. I’m such a prick. Sorry. Apologies also to the other patrons that were there, and many, many thanks to the people who helped. I hope I didn’t spoil your day.
Many thanks to the Eldon Square staff for their help. You were all greatly supportive, especially to the guy who walked us to where we needed to be.
Apologies to the people walking down The Great North Road and St. Thomas’ Street who would have saw me spitting. It’s an awful habit. I had good reason, which I hope you’ll now understand.
Apologies to the people in the waiting room with me, especially those within earshot of the toilet, who would have heard me retching my ring up.

I’m genuinely just wracked with guilt and embarrassment about the whole day. This has been a public service announcement. I’ve been Mark Lamarr, and this has been Never Mind the Buzzcocks. *theme music plays*

Then We’ll have Steak And Chips for tea.

Bleeergh. I’ve felt lousy over the last few days. Unfortunately, the lovely fishing village of Hartlepool appears to have some type of cold / flu bug doing the rounds. Daddykins had it last week, and spent over 24 hours in bed because of it. I started getting the ol’ throaty tingle on Sunday night. By Wednesday, I’d flung in the 6 hours of lieu time that I’d accrued and headed off to bed myself. The rest of the week saw me throw in the first sick days in three years (I’m discounting foot/eye problems in that).

Saturday came, and Chris was available for a trip somewhere. I explained about this record shop I’d heard about in Darlington, so off to Darlington we went.

Now, seeing as Darlington is a short distance away, it’s somewhere I opften go to as a change of scenery from the normal charity shops. I also knew that the afore-mentioned record shop existed, but every time I’d been there, it was closed. Oddly enough, it wasn’t actually in the location I thought, as it’s recently moved location. Previously, it was in a courtyard, away from the main drag. Now, it was in its own little shop, which, as of July 2018, was an empty sewing shop. Thank you, Streetview.

Anyway, I entered the shop, and started digging through the first pile of 7″ers I came to, tucked away on a shelf. The guy behind the counter saw I was interested, and told me he was getting shot of them, 10p each, or I could have the lot for £20. Whilst the latter offer seemed tempting, getting them from the shop, to Chris’s car, would have been a logistical nightmare, and where would I store them when I got them home? I decided to just go for the 10p option. It was easier.

I can’t have been more than a minute into picking through this vast vinyl variety, and I came across something incredible. Cue, the wibbly flashbacks, etc.

Back in 1975, Mike Oldfield was the new music sensation discovered by Richard Branson. His debit album, and of course, the first single from it, imaginatively titled “Mike Oldfield’s Single” was released, and Virgin, as a music label, was born

Neither that single, or Tubular Bells, are particularly difficult to find. This can’t be said for Mike’s follow-up single, “Don Alfonso”. It’s a charming little ditty about a Spanish bullfighter…. In fact, here’s a YouTube link to it… this will probably die at some point, so if it doesn’t work, comment on this post or something.

The guy who played him in the video is Larry Martyn, who was in Are You Being Served. There. Saved you looking him up.

Despite the brilliant 70s comedy video, the song appeared to have been quickly withdrawn, and failed to chart anywhere. The B side was Mike’s first working of his famous Xmas hit, entitled “In Dulci Jubilo (For Maureen)”. Maureen was his mother who had died a year previous to this being released. A year or two later, Mike would release a remixed version of “In Dulci Jubilo”, reaching No. 4 in the singles chart.

I think this is where the issue occurred, and how this got thrown into the pile of records he was trying to get rid of. Now, I’m only speculating here, but I noticed that a previous owner had written “In Dulci Jubilo” on the cover. As both singles share the same black and white “Twins” label, it’s possible, that this was mistaken for the much more common release. Either way, I can’t say for certain, but what I do know that this was the bargain of the year so far, possibly ever.

Here it is, in all its vinyl glory…