WARD’S WORLD: By John Ward
Sometimes, as I have often said, it’s how you hear or listen to things that make you wonder what world or planet we might be on as bafflement or befuddlement run a close race for a winner.
I know there are some subjects that are not remotely humorous, far from it, but in some people’s minds certain names can be bewildering or confusing if the following is anything to go by.
It’s not so long ago that the Ebola virus was major headlines around the world and this nasty disease was taking its toll but somehow this was confusing to people of a certain age as I found out while in a supermarket looking through the magazine and periodicals section as two ladies wandered by, one supported by the supermarket shopping trolley in that her top half of her body was resting across the handles section and her friend trying to keep up with her trailing beside her.
They stopped or ground to a halt near to me as the conversation went something like this: “I say – what do you think to this Ebola then?” and the response from the trolley driver/front body resting trolley operative was: “I will wait till Tesco get it in as it be a bit cheaper there I would think or at least wait till it’s on offer before I try it…”
I stood there quite speechless (there’s a novelty then) as I woke up to the fact that out of these two people, one was of the mindset that this was the name of a washing powder but who do you blame? – the advertising world, a breakdown in news reportage or clogged up ear trumpet?
My mum, of the people for the people, might have had something to say about that but then again at times her assessment of things never quite went to plan either.
She would start her day once up and about plus being about fully conscious by listening to BBC Radio 2, mainly because the running order in those days was by starting her day with Terry Wogan, then Ken Bruce (still going!) with lunch time being Jimmy Young but at assorted times they had on their playlist or the sheet with the records on they played, one tune or song that she liked and was what could be basically referred to nowadays as a ‘standard’ piece of music.
Armed with this knowledge plus as Terry, Ken and Jimmy were not playing it as often as she would have liked, it meant a visit to the local music/record shop of the day as in the (then) HMV store in town in order to get her very own copy or in those days, a cassette – think it’s a safe bet they will soon be coming back into ‘fashion’ as the desire for ‘retro’ stuff seems to be the thing presently if the resurgence in vinyl record sales are anything to go by plus possibly redesigned, updated VHS video recorders.
Being with her as she went to the nice man on the counter was an experience to say the least as he entered into mortal, verbal combat with but bear in mind at this moment in time I had no knowledge of what she was after other then she wanted the music that ‘her Tel, Ken and Jim lad are not playing so often’ but as such the name of the unknown (to me and the assistant at that point) artist or track as we were to find out was mystifying as she didn’t seem to know it either but had ‘a fair idea’.
The sales assistant went into his usual procedure of how could he help but mum was unsure of the actual name of the song title but thought it was ‘Draught Under My Door’ sung by Freddie Fiddler (?!) but after a lot of ‘are you sure?’ type looks, a click or dozen on his screen shed no light but by a process of elimination and not to mention a sound bite from mum – think of TV’s Coronation Street’s character Hilda Ogden warbling away and this could have been mum, sadly – as it turned out to be ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ by Bette Midler but quite close in some respects, all things considered I suppose
However I had the blame partly for that as she thought it was the radio ‘playing up’ as she always said it needed a longer cable fitting on it and I ‘never bothered’ to sort it!
I pointed out that dad could or should have sorted that out to which she replied that he never had any problems as he sat nearer to it so he heard it quite plainly although he preferred Shirley Bassey who had bigger lungs so he would hear her okay anyway.
Parents – where would we be without them?
When the last newly-designed ten pound note was first issued to replace the last one which was paper based as opposed to the ‘new kid on the block’ being of a polymer-based substance, it was not without its problems but then again the Bank of England perhaps never considered that a certain section of society were rather set in their way and the idea of change was something you had back from a ten pound not assuming the item brought was less than ten pounds of course.
The new polymer or plastic type ten pound notes had been in circulation for a few weeks when the following happened.
I was in a bank in one of those queues that makes the evacuation at Dunkirk seem like a minor event as the queue trailed back, and back and... well you know the feeling I feel sure but in front of me was a little old lady, standard issue type, and bearing in mind her voice was quite loud as I suppose she thought the glass screen between her and the cashier/assistant meant she might not hear her (lucky her then).
She explained – there was only about 17 of us who may have heard it and that’s just us in the queue – she did not want to make a fuss but she was given one of those new ten pound notes the other day in that very bank but she did not check at the time but since going home she had noticed that you could see through it in one part of the note as she held it up and wondered if it could be changed for another new one but without the plastic ‘see-through hole’ in it or had the printing fell off it?
The cashier/assistant explained that this was part of the design to which the lady then replied with the fact she was worried she had been given a reject or sub-standard ten pound note as it looked as if the letters had fallen off it plus it was next to the Queen’s portrait which was also ‘see through’ but was the Queen aware?
Interestingly, as I pointed out above, we were in a slowly moving queue and of those who had heard this verbal interchange were mumbling that it could be down to ‘faulty workmanship as usual’ or ‘Friday afternoon model’ to blame for this supposed fault.
There was a happy ending as such as an assistant was called over and she took the lady to one side and explained it to her fully and she left quite happy although some of us were thinking of asking her to bring some sandwiches and a warm drink back to us still in the queue, waiting and waiting and waiting.