It’s a mugs game

Fliss found Gromit mugs in the city centre Tesco on Thursday afternoon and bought up three of them for me. Actually, one was for my friend Colin, but he later said that he didn’t really care about Wallace or Gromit, he’d just got caught up in my excitement when Fliss phoned me to say she’d found them and said he wanted one. So he gets none and I get three.

Apparently, when Fliss was buying our score of tea and mugs, an “old granny” was buying them too and said she’d come from Chester to see if she could find any of them, so that had me thinking that they must be as rare as I suspected. (Not grannies, Gromit mugs.)

However, on Friday both Lisa and Emily sent me messages telling me that the mugs had been available when they’d gone into their respective Tesco‘s – Lisa had seen them in the Liverpool city centre one, so they must have plentiful stock. Perhaps I just timed my efforts poorly and should have gotten up early to do it instead of going in the evenings; a leason learned for the next time there’s some kind of bonus item that I cant do without attached to a product I can.

Anyhoo – all’s well that ends well – I now have more Gromit mugs and tea bags than I know what to do with.

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Not Real News

Shopkeepers Face Washout

Local shopkeepers are feeling the bite of a wet October, as sales of traditional Bonfire Night fireworks are noticeably down on previous years. Bhim Paramjeet, owner of a corner shop on the outskirts of Liverpool, feared that this autumn could mark one of the worst in terms of sales.

“Sure, I have sold many boxes of fireworks to the youths that come and go. But where is the fun in standing in the pouring rain, waiting to blow the face off of an innocent passer by when you are so wet the colour in your shell suit is running?” Paramjeet explained, adding “I start selling the boxes in oh, say, late September, and expect the teenagers to be back in droves right up until mid November at least. This year, due to the torrential rain they have not come back to re-stock as frequently, so my takings are down.”

We asked Paramjeet whether he knew that the local casualty department had been pleased with the downturn of firework related injuries this year, but that did not seem to offer him any comfort.

“That’s all very well for them, but me? I’ll have to put the christmas decorations up on the sixth of November and hope I can sell some of these bloody fireworks to the idiots that like to mark the coming of the new year with them.”

A Met Office spokesman told us that the wet weather looks set to continue for the coming weeks, so if you’ve ever wanted to venture outside at this time of year, perhaps now is the time to do it.

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The Long Way Round

I read Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman’s tale of their motorcycle expedition Eastward from London to New York while we were on holiday recently, and found it to be an enthralling read.

The book begins with a short excerpt from much later in the journey, before delving into the background of the two actors, lending some insight as to how they ended up taking on the treacherous trip.

Throughout the story the viewpoint changes between Ewan and Charlie’s narration, giving a good insight into how each stage of the trip is affecting them personally. Maybe it’s due to me being closer in age to Ewan, but I found his chapters a bit more readable than Charlie’s at first, mostly due to Charlie being a bit of a sulk at times.

The book really shines when they’re out in the middle of nowhere, relying on the goodwill of strangers to put them up for the night, or to repair a part on one of the bikes. Some of the trip comes across as soul destroying from the futility of their efforts against the harsh terrain, but it’s these sections which are the waypoints of the journey, and it’s hard to put the book down until they’ve emerged relatively unscathed at the next scheduled stop.

I’ve always admired Ewan McGregor due to the way he’s forged his own path through his career, trying his hand at each facet of his chosen art, so it was good to learn more about the man through the course of the book. His worries and his weaknesses are almost refreshing to read, when compared to the polished image of most movie stars.

It’s this aspect of the book that keeps it enjoyable to the end, as even when the most physically demanding part of the journey is over with, the men still have the emotional turbulance to deal with due to the time spent away from their families.

It’s that aspect that the book communicates to a far greater extent than the tv series, which went more for the drama of the geographical journey than it did the resulting spiritual one. By the last page I felt as if I’d been on that journey with them at times, despite me sitting in the warm Mediterranean sun whilst I read.

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