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(13) Halloween

Around our neck of the woods the locals rather get into the whole Halloween thing with lifelike gruesome monsters in the nearby woodland which sent the doggies bananas when out on walkies

The local kids enthusiastically embrace their inner crime lord with the usual exhortations of “trick or treat” and whilst Mr Grumpy next door keeps the local poultry farmer in business we aim for a quieter life

Things weren’t always that way, there was a time when I leaned heavily towards the “trick” part of the evening but since M’lud pointed out to me in no uncertain terms that I’m no longer allowed to set the dogs on the little cherubs unless I fancied a spell in the slammer we’ve erred on the side of caution.

In chez Reesy tradition involves a trip to the local sweetie shop and a bowl of tooth rot is placed strategically near the front door.

This year for some inexplicable reason we mixed the dates up and set up shop a day early. Saturday night’s normally involve the boss sitting downstairs watching strictly whilst I retire to my den to play on my computer. Every time I popped downstairs to fetch a drink or suchlike I noticed the supply diminished even though I’d not once heard the doorbell ring or the singsong tones of “Trick or treat?”

By the end of the evening one of us (no names no pack drill) had scoffed the lot, as per usual the doggie got the blame but the fact he hasn’t got opposable paws or the nous to arrange the wrappers in a neat pile did little to allay my suspicions.

A trip to the supermarket the next day and we realised our mistake and the supply was duly replenished.

One of us claimed to be feeling a bit queasy, the other thought “Ha that’ll teach you to nick all the sweeties On reflection he decided it was best to keep that thought to himself.

The evening duly arrived and the doorbell began ringing making the doggies howl all adding to the general pandemonium. The first few groups were obviously the young ones and Stella was just commenting how polite they’d been when I heard raised voices, one of the older kids had tried to grab the whole bowlfull the ensuing tug of war distributing several on the drive.

A few choice words were muttered as he legged it up the close and quiet returned. The next morning I got up to make a pot of tea and spotted a few sweets left over on the side. Seizing my chance I chomped them whilst mentally penning a note to Mr Haribo that their product standards were maybe slipping a bit.

A bleary eyed better half emerged “What happened to those sweets I picked up off the drive? You didn’t give them to the doggies did you?


Meanwhile back to life in Wiltshire or as it was soon to become..


Although I had thoroughly enjoyed my time in and around Devizes I began to realise that unless I wanted to end up with a liver like Oliver Reed and an accent like Pam Ayres my future lay elsewhere.

Maybe I was beginning to find the straitjacket of being employed too restricting

(Both Stella and I concluded many years ago that we are now practically unemployable)

I also began to feel a bit restless for change so began casting around for a move elsewhere. I must have been pretty desperate as I even contemplated moving back home with my parents.

I had no idea what I really wanted so the job advert looking for cover for a three month period in Nottingham city centre seemed ideal

I knew only of Nottingham from watching Robin Hood films as a lad but beyond that it was just a big city somewhere in the middle of the country.

My first memory was seeing the sign near what is now Bardill’s island it was a late spring evening the sun was shining and first impressions were positive.

The job was at a hearing aid emporium right in the city centre who were looking to branch out into optics

I assume there weren’t any other candidates as I was offered the job on the spot.

I handed in my notice in Wiltshire which didn’t go down too well and having set my affairs in order set out on what was to be a temporary move until I found somewhere else to settle. The three months seemed a perfect limit to find somewhere more interesting to live.

Our more observant readers might have already spotted the teensy weensy flaw in this cunning plan.

Moving from the country to a city was quite a culture shock and firstly I had to find somewhere to live.

Marigold had some chums from home who were studying on the Surveying course at what was then Trent Poly

One night one unsuspecting individual by the name of Fairycake inadvisably opened his front door to a homeless waif and failing to spot the suitcases carefully hidden behind the wall and hearing the secret password “Marigold sent me” innocently invited me in.

I ended up sleeping on Fairycake’s floor for the next month no doubt cramping his style with the laydee’s in the meantime.

The surveying course provided an instant circle of acquaintances with tons of local knowledge and providing a ready entrance to most of the local pubs, hostelry’s and general den’s of iniquity to be found in this fair city.

Perpetrators in chief were Fairycake, Horry, Des and Northers and the magnificently monikered “Drink problem” in this company such a title was not bestowed lightly and every effort was made to maintain his reputation.

It was the late 70’s and anyone who was anyone had a nickname, I became Olly (the optician) and the chap I worked with quickly got christened “Hearing aid Harry” (The actually name they bestowed on him might not sit well with my more delicate readers) quite why I never fathomed but for now I’ll pay homage to the naming talents bestowed by my newfound friends.

I found a flat up in Basford and most evenings was pleasantly surprised to hear a knock on the door accompanied by an invitation to visit the local hostelry My joy was but slightly tempered when I learned that Fariycake (a Yorkshireman through and through) had discovered the local “Star inn” sold Shippo’s at a penny a pint cheaper than the establishments closer to the Poly and he duly made the whole lot of them traipse all the way over picking me up on the way through.

The first hint that my stay might extend beyond the allotted three months came one lunchtime soon after I started work, the sun was shining and I decided to take a stroll down to the market square only to be confronted by what (to my innocent eyes) appeared to be droves of breathtakingly beautiful women.

This might seem like an exaggeration to the more seasoned locals but having lived for several years where beauty could best be described as “Rustic” and fashion was first and foremost “practical” the sights this innocent young lad beheld that day caused quite a bit of distraction in a ‘walking into lampposts’ type of way.

Oh yes” said Harry when I got back for the afternoon shift “Nottingham is world famous for it’s beautiful women

My overwhelming desire to move on to pastures new evaporated faster than Boris Johnson’s more optimistic Brexit promises.

The following months were spent working in unfamiliar territory whilst testing I couldn’t avoid the goings on next door.

Harry was professional to a “T“ but the occasional locum cover provided by head office when he and Mrs Harry were on holiday weren’t always quite so altruistic:

Soto voce “OK Mrs Smith this is the NHS model”




World’s shortest IQ quiz (shamelessly nicked from t’internet)

Ever heard of the cognitive reflection test? No? me neither

Well basically it’s been dubbed the world’s shortest IQ test, questions appear simple but take a little thought. In a survey of 3500 people 33% got all three wrong and 83% got at least one wrong. Can you do better?

Here are the three questions:

1. A bat and a ball cost £1.10 in total. The bat costs £1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

2. If it takes five machines five minutes to make five widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?

3. In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?

Answers below

Red or Green?

It never ceases to surprise me how many people get into a tizz when I roll out the Red or Green test.

The principles involved are quite simple, think Newton and his prism splitting light (or Pink Floyd album covers)

Depending on where we start which numbers are clearer/blacker tell me when to make the lens stronger or weaker,

it is a far more sensitive test than “Better or worse?” and gives me lots of pointers that I’m moving in the right direction.

As the diagrams below should make clear the closer the numbers are to each other the closer we are to spot on.

Also having one eye red and one eye green would point to an imbalance which in turn could lead to headaches and strain.

For reference I’ve tried it myself and find the circles to be more reliable indicators than the other numbers

Quiz answers (1) 5p (2) 5 minutes (3) 47 days

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