The Refresher Heist

WorldIt’s 1982 and I’m 9 years old and it’s a Saturday, NO school for 2 days….Yay!!  It was time to go out and play, yes that’s right children of today…… ‘GO OUT AND PLAY’ ….you know….. the ‘out-doorsy’ big space behind the outside of your parents front door.

Yes, for most adults the weekend means the detour to pick up a bottle of wine from the local shop….I know what you’re up to…..!Local shop

The weather was hot and sunny, but then again it always was back then, always in a t-shirt, jeans and trainers, which were the footwear for all occasions back then, but not now….oh no…… now I have more shoes than Mrs Frantony!  I have to look at the weather and work out where I’m going before I decide what I’m wearing each day.

Anyway, I was free from my school uniform and had the freedom to go and play in the woods that surrounded the council estate we lived on.  But
Yellow bobble hattoday was a new day; today I grew up a bit more and it gave me the courage to venture further into the woods.  It was time to explore unknown places without Mam and Dad, and with my friend Smurfy (because he always wore a white bobble hat) always had a skin head and had one tooth missing from his bottom teeth.  I mention the Bush hairskinhead because it was the early 80’s, so most us looked like we were wearing a garden bush that had just been freshly ripped out of the ground…I think some of us were still stuck in the 70’s.

We played all day making dens out of ferns and climbing trees, only to get to the top and then sit on a branch and Sitting in treetalk, sometimes inscribing our names in the tree bark with our pen knife.

Now Smurfy and I lived at the bottom of the estate, so there was never any reason to ever go up to the top houses…..well until this day.  So we were feeling confident and we decided to see what was at the other side of the woods.  After what seemed like miles and miles we eventually came to a field that had one cow in it (how bored was that cow?)Angry Bull

This was a problem for us…..well for Smurfy, as he was wearing a red top, and we thought it might be tricky just in case the cow chased us.  We weren’t sure if it was angry or just chewing on grass….it might have been a retired bull from Spain here to graze, but still had its natural instinct in him to chase the colour red.  Yes we were sure it was a cow and not a bull, but we were too scared to find out…….I was nine after all.

Running from Bull

We took no chances so Smurfy ran behind me with his top tucked down his trousers, both of us not sure whether to laugh or cry.  All I know, is that we hit a terrific speed that day, everything in my small, newly formed body vibrated like never before.


We made it to the other side of the wooden fence into a Barechested mansmall car park behind a shop, Smurfy now pulling his red top out of his trousers…but from the bottom (they had gone down his trouser leg).

We walked through the car park to the front of the shop, the houses opposite in the street were the same as my Mam’s house, so we knew we were on the same council estate, but up the top.  Thirsty and hungry and not knowing how long the journey home was going to take, we checked our pockets for money.  Smurfy had nothing but in my pocket was 10p.  My Mother always gave me 10p just in case I was lost, so I could find a telephone box and ring home.

RefreshetrsWe looked in the shop wondering what to buy, then we saw…..Now before I tell you, please remember I was 9 years old and trying to think logically….oh and don’t laugh!! ……then we saw a pack of Refreshers, and this was our thinking “We’re hungry and thirsty, so a
pack of Refreshers would refresh us!”…..Stop it now…I said don’t laugh!

I paid for the sweets and walked outside starting to open the pack of Refreshers, when we bumped in to a boy from school who was a year older than us.

“Alright boys…what you doing up here?”

With the unopened pack of Refreshers in my hand, I said “We’re lost, we’ve come through the woods and came out behind the shops, can you show us the way home?”

He looked at my unopened pack of Refreshers “You give me those sweets and I’ll show you how to get home safe!”

I stared at my sweets that I had not yet tasted, but we needed to get home and he had the information, so I gave him the Refreshers.  He smiled, opened them and took one out for himself (not offering me or Smurfy one) and put them back in his pocket.  “Follow me boys!”

We walked for no more than 20 seconds and we stopped at a steep alleyway that cut Top of stepsthrough the edge of the woods, the same woods that we had been playing in all day.

“Alright Dave and Smurfy….listen to me!  Walk straight down this alleyway and it’ll take you to the bottom of the estate.  Turn left and Dave……you’ll see your house.  See you boys.”

He turned and walked away laughing with Leaving with Refreshershis hand clutching my pack of Refreshers shouting “Thanks for the Refreshers boys.”

I shook my head in disbelief.  I had been done, I thought he was going to take us home.  I could have thrown one of the Refreshers (if I still had them) at my mother’s house, from where we were standing.  But I ended up home nice and safe and with the knowledge of where the woods finished and what was at the end of the alleyway that I didn’t know existed.  Also that there was a cow or a bull on his own in a field, was he crazy or not?  Was he really from Spain in retirement? I guess we’ll never know.


As ever on the Easy Blend, I’ll let you know what I’m listening to.  Today it’s James Hunter – Carina

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..


The Day I became a Man!

Do you rememWet behind the earsber that bizarre place full of odd people I told you about in my first blog?  Well, this was where it all happened.  I was 19 years old and in the middle of my apprenticeship and still a bit wet behind the ears.

HR was nonexistent in 1991 (in this place anyway),Middle AGes it was one of those places that if you were off sick or on holiday, you were always expecting that when anything went wrong, the blame would be on you, and sometimes it was; with the continuous threat of being fired every week .  By the way, I hear there are businesses still working like this….you know, still in the dark ages.

I had three days off on the sick, can’t remember why, but whatever it was, it couldn’t have been nice.  So towards the end of the week I was back in work looking over my shoulder waiting to be blamed for something (I didn’t do).  First break came, and into the mess roMess roomom I went (that’s what we called it, it was no canteen!)  An electric cooker stood in the corner (that was never cleaned) it still had at stains on it from the 70’s.  There was an old, long wooden table with two long benches either side, all with chunks taken out of it, so the table would be covered in yellow plastic (which was used to cover the cars in the spray booth) taped down with masking tape.

A fridge that never worked was at the end of the table and was only used for old milk bottles with milk left in them, just to see how bad it would turn.  Rat trapNext to the half-full milk bottle would be the rat trap, which regularly caught the night shift (rats and mice).  One morning the trap had gone off and the rat escaped….apart from his leg (not nice).

Anyway, I was sitting in amongst everyone else with my back against the wall and was half way through my cheese and pickle sandwich.  In came the foreman, earlier than normal with a serious face (though he looked like this all of the time).  He speaks up, “Lads, I’ve been speaking to the boss and he’s not happy with the amount of time some of you are having off.  Dave, you especially this week, so this is for you; a written warning letter.”  Everyone around the table was silent, not one of them looked at me, what was I to do?  My mind racing trying to access the situation and then it happened.  I stood up.  I’d had enough, so I walked over the table, through their sandwiches and cups of tea saying

Standing on table

“I don’t agree with it and I’m not going to open it.  The boss can have it back!”

The envelope was tight in my hand as I stomped up the yard and into the offices, down the corridor and pushed open the door to the boss’s office.  He looks at me startled by what just happened.  “What’s up Dave?  What is the matter?

I’m standing in the middle of his office; both of us looking at one another as I throw the envelope out of my hand on to his desk.  As it lands it, spins around, all the way to his chest.  He picks it up while the foreman runs up the corridor shouting my name.  “Dave…..  Dave, open the envelope!”

I look the Boss in the eye, “I’ve just been given a written warning letter; I don’t agree with it so you can have it back….I don’t want it!”

I could see the Boss didn’t have a clue what was going on; he handed the envelope back to me, still sitting down at his desk.  The foreman appeared by my side, “Go on, open it!”

And this was how the letter readDear Dave








Was I embarrassed? Yes….. but only for a moment, because I had no idea what was inside and I still stood on my own two feet that day.  I showed them tBare feet returnshat from that day forward, if I disagreed with something then I would speak up and would not be walked over.  From that day on I would stand firm on my own two feet (I gave the other ones back).




As this is the easy Blend, I thought I’d let you know what I’m listening to.  Today it’s Adam Ant – Stand and Deliver

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..