Saturday, 30 June 2012

My small world

There is/was a children's toy shop here in Bath which had/has the same name as the title of this post - such a useful title for so many reasons.

I specifically said 'children's' toy shop, because - as we all know - there are many more toy shops which  cater for the needs of adults than there are for children - the Apple (TM) Store is just one in this town which has been driving all the real shops out of business in favour of childish adults.  You know what I mean - shops that used to sell nails by the pound and not in sealed packs of five with cardboard tags with which to hang them on revolving display racks.

I say there 'is/was' a toy shop with that name, because it has recently been driven out of town to make way for a massive John Lewis Partnership development - a bigger food outlet, a furniture department, etc. - and I am not sure it has survived being torn up by the roots and flung onto the infertile ground outside the city walls, where Red Kites once picked over the edible detritus that is now carefully vacuum-wrapped to 'save the planet' from Will o' the Wisps.

The Red Kites are slowly making their way back towards Somersetshire, but this time they are travelling by road, including the M4.  Why and how?  Because their main diet in Oxfordshire is now road-kill, organic rubbish being outlawed and a thing of the past.  When they do finally turn up in this town, they will have to make do with discarded kebabs - like the rest of us gulls - and meeting them on a dawn morning with a nasty hangover will be like meeting Yul Brynner on the set of 'WestWorld', so unreal will they seem.

We are constantly told that - due to electronic devices - the world is becoming a much smaller place - a 'global village' - but this is, of course, yet another lie.  In a real village, 'privacy' is a carefully guarded and precious commodity, essential for the well-being and harmonious co-existance of it's inhabitants.  To invade another's privacy meant ostracisation, and in an island as crowded as ours in which to build a castle was a treasonable offence, whole new villages were created to house the outlaws who could not respect the petty strictures of ordinary village life.  'Wrecklesham' - 'Home of the Reckless' - in the forest of Holt was one, and Nottingham Forest was home to another, more famous outlaw whose hood was the wood.

Guarding our privacy, these days, means attempting to keep our bank details safe from hoods who take from the poor - then keep it.  You cannot blame them in a way, what with the sort of role-models who set the codes of practice that define the standards against which the banks are run.  Also, our eyes are kept off the ball by trying to protect ourselves against the legalised criminal activity of the bank managers themselves.  When I heard yesterday that Barclays had been fined £3,000,000 for criminal activity from which they are immune from prosecution, I thought, 'that's not a lot for a bank!'  Then I remembered where that 3 million was coming from - from our accounts.  They have not been fined at all - we have, for their criminality.

I have just read an account of a man in the 17th century who was suffering from some horrible, fungal infection of the nose which made walking about in public an embarrassing thing to do, so he set about getting a cure in a time-honoured fashion.

He had heard that if an affliction such as his were to be touched by the King, it would be cured.  Some of these diseases were known as 'The King's Evil', and could only - in popular folk-lore - be cured in this way.

So he made his way to London, and placed himself near a path in St. James's Park, knowing that the King walked there every day with a few courtiers.

Seeing Charles 2nd approaching, he stepped into the path of the King and made a low bow.  Charles politely offered his hand to be kissed by the loyal subject, and the man grabbed it and vigorously rubbed it all over his diseased and unpleasant nose.  The King was royally pissed off about this infringement of protocol, but - so it is said - the man's nose became cured in a matter of days.

Bumping into the king in a public park and stuffing his hand into your rancid face!  Now THAT'S what I call a small world.


  1. I have never rubbed my nose on an old king...
    but I've rubbed my..... on a couple of old queens

  2. Sounds a little like the S African idea of sex with young virgins to cure Aids; however I think there may be devious minds at work in S Africa.

    1. I've been trying to think of a joke about 'The African Queen' for John's benefit, killing two birds with one stone - one of them being cinematic.

    2. My wife's gone on holiday.

      D'yer make her?

      No she cruising on The Afric..... No, that's hopeless.

  3. The standard of jokes on this site gets worse by the day.

    1. I know. You can blame Cro for that. I am thinking of deleting them in the future, unless the standard improves. That's all I am saying for now.

  4. Hi Tom,
    Just thought I'd let you know that My Small World Toy Store is alive, well and thriving thank you! We were somewhat dismayed by the behaviour of the local planners, who saw fit to grant the Landlords at the Podium permission to evict 10 locally owned businesses in favour of one large John Lewis Store.

    We are still well within the city walls, now only a stones throw from the bus and railway staion - We moved into Little Southgate in Southgate Shopping Centre, into a store twice the size, with more room for buggies and playing, and continue to brandish our own old fashioned notion of shop-keeping in the face of national chains - enjoying our customers, enjoying our toys and making sure that we are giving our vistors exactly what they need!

    I'd appreciate it so much if you could amend your blog in this respect - I would hate it so much if some of our customers, who sometimes only visit us once or twice a year from far afield, were to be given the impression that we had closed!!