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WARD'S WORLD: Read all about it

It was while being involved in a general discussion not so long ago about the supposed ‘good ole days’ that once prevailed that it suddenly hit us collectively that it’s now really history as time does indeed move on.

I mentioned in passing that was then but sadly now a thing of the past as while we didn’t realise it at the time that was indeed a ‘golden era’ we lived through.

Whoever said “If things don’t change they’ll stay as they are” was slightly out in some respects but things have changed and not always for the best as we seem to find out the hard way.

Columnist John Ward (45660004)
Columnist John Ward (45660004)

One moan during the above discussion was about not being able to get fish and chips wrapped up in a newspaper nowadays.

Apparently this practice, once again a part of the traditional British way of life, was seemingly stopped in the late 1980s as being something of a possible ‘health hazard’ to us mere mortals who craved their fish and chips thus wrapped.

Although I have never heard of anybody dying through possible ink leakage onto a lump of cod amid their chips.

Regardless of this the actual fish and chips meal was always wrapped first in either greaseproof paper or whatever, then wrapped in white sheets of paper much like today, then placed in a couple of newspaper pages which was supposed to keep the meal warm on the way home etc.

This was basic recycling before it became trendy.

However, it’s surprising this law was not via the almighty EU ‘rules n regs’ conglomerate that seemed to work around the clock in shifts just dreaming up rules for us to abide by as this was British legislation by all accounts. There is a slightly silly side to this in a roundabout sort of way as I will outline.

In one place of gainful employment one of our team went by the name of ‘Week-late’ – not his real name you will be pleased to hear – and he was an avid fish and chips person.

On a Friday morning he would come to work and discuss assorted matters as in ‘in the news’ but oddly not current, up to the minute news but in his defence, as if he needed one, the subject matter always seemed to be spot-on with the details, although old.

The problem was nobody really joined in conversation with him as whatever it was he talked about, it was usually about a week or more out of date.

However, we eventually got to the reason why this was happening.

His schedule on leaving work or his usual routine was he picked up his wife from her work to go home but on a Thursday he would drop her off to do the weekly shopping at the large supermarket on the other side of town as he waited in the car for her. On the way back, they would stop off at a fish and chip shop to get their evening meal, which was wrapped up in newspaper, or to be precise, a national newspaper as opposed to the usual local one which he bought each week.

Then it was a simple dash home to sit down to eat the said meal but it was traditional to sit in their kitchen to eat them in their wrappings as it saved on washing up if they were put onto a plate etc.

Once their meal was duly ‘polished off’ he would then read the wrapping newspaper over a cup of tea before disposing of it.

The knock-on was his memory was very good, so good that the next day he could basically recite something that had caught his eye possibly word for word during our lunch break... and usually bored us rigid as we already knew.

So this is why he had the nickname of ‘Week-late’ as everything he gleaned from the newspapers was invariably a week or so old.

He later told us that as he was a ‘regular’ at the chippy the owner kept recent ones especially for him once he knew.

Customer service didn’t get much better than that plus ‘Week-late’ said they were always clean copies, no stains or marks on them.

I think we all slept better after hearing that.

Also on the daft side of things, spare a thought for my mum, of the people for the people, whose friend Edie was quite opposite to ‘Week-late’ in some respects. One particular morning mum was listening to the radio with an ear for the news mainly as one item caught her attention or rather it was the supposed main news item.

Next Edie arrived a little while later, laden with her shopping, then, after the initial greeting was done and dusted, she settled herself in a tea drinking position in the kitchen or the debating chamber of the house as mum switched the kettle on.

As it was coming to the boil, she asked Edie if she had heard the latest news to which there was a blank stare and she was not sure – so what she asked, was the latest news?

Mum had heard it on the ten o’clock news earlier that ‘Franco has died’ to which there was total silence in the debating chamber/kitchen.

Edie spoke: “Well, it won’t affect me much but it might do my Wilf when I tell him,” to which mum, she explained to us semi-interested lot later, was quite taken aback.

On further slooping of tea that was by now poured and in transit to go down their collective windpipes, she said her Wilf liked one of his ice creams on a nice sunny afternoon, more so on a Sunday after lunch.

Mum explained that the Franco in question here was, now late, ruler of Spain so not to be confused with the local ice-cream van that came around in the summer months.

Edie stopped in mid-sloop as she said that her Wilf would be relieved to hear that as he did like his corrnet with a dollop of crushed nuts and a squirt of raspberry sauce on top.

Mum explained that Franco, this one in question who had just pegged out, was for years a Spanish dictator type in Spanish Spain running their government shebang and not the one who came round in an ice cream van playing ‘Greensleeves’ on the loudspeaker plus doing crushed nuts and a squirt of raspberry sauce on cornets.

Dull silence was followed by: “Well, my Wilf will be pleased to know his regular man will still be coming round, that’s all I can say.”

After a while, Edie asked mum if she would “be going then?” as mum replied with “Going where?”

To his funeral, of course, but mum pointed out it would be in Spanish Spain as that’s where he pegged out plus not being related, so no. Edie suggested it was probably best, as it would all be in Spanish anyway.

Crushed nuts anyone? Raspberry sauce perhaps?

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