Published on 29th June 2020
Author Dick Barrie

We have each but a few dozen summers beneath the sun…..

I am therefore grumpy that I’ve seen only one speedway meeting in 2020 so far.     I don’t have that many summers left!

I’m also unhappy that I can’t get a hair-cut yet (July 15th up here) or even go to the library to find something to read while I await news of any speedway action.

Mention of a library takes my gadabout mind back to a trip to Weymouth, many summers ago…….

I had better preface this next bit by saying I’m sure that nowadays Weymouth is a bright, prosperous, clean-and-tidy seaside resort.     Practically the pride of Dorset.     A lovely place to visit.      Less people on the beach than last week at Bournemouth, for sure.

However, when we rolled in over forty summers ago, it was clearly going through a bad patch.

We had been at Canterbury and Rye House (won one, lost one) en route to the south coast, and enjoyed their ambience, but Weymouth was a different story……..

For a start, they were clearly staging a festival of litter when we hit town.   The place was packed by sclerotic traffic and shuffling hordes of day-trippers

I read somewhere that the Black Death first arrived in England at Weymouth in 1348.      At least they’d cleared away the bodies.

But I digress……

Well, we won.  They had a solid side, but that was the year Wayne Brown bloomed virtually overnight from scruffy wee reserve, in and out the bottom end of the team, to soaring superstar.

The Wildcats had no answer to our pocket rocket that sunny evening.    Wayne blew them away – he rattled in 14 points from the No 4 slot — and we came away with an unexpected (but very welcome) 41-37 victory.

To celebrate, we went for a drink and a meal in a sort of café-bar place on the front.    A hostelry that made the KFC at Ashington look like Maxim’s in Paris.

It was pretty full of drunken locals and hapless holiday-makers but with what was a successful tour to celebrate (won two, lost one was  — and is — a bit of away-result magic for El Banditos, you understand) we were in party-mode.

And let me tell you that, joining the Mightys of the late ‘seventies in party-mode was like going out on the town carrying a case of wet dynamite.

In the bar we ended up in, I tried to stay away from the mayhem and struck up conversation with a group of holidaymakers.

One lady told me that, wherever it was she came from she was the local librarian.

As I like books, I got on the chat.   I asked her about her job, and touched on people’s inventive excuses for not returning books.   For a fee of another glass of Babycham – we are talking 1979, remember – she admitted that one lady’s excuse took the biscuit.

Seems the woman came to the library, and explained that her husband had borrowed a book, but had suddenly passed away.

Very sad.         He had been, in the old tradition, “laid out” in an open coffin in the front room, to let friends and neighbours drop in to pay their respects.

It seems he had been placed rather deep in the coffin and, to allow him to be more visible to mourning visitors the undertaker had asked the grieving widow if there was anything he could place under her dear departed one’s head, to elevate it.

Yes, she had just the thing – the book he’d been reading the night he got the call from above.       Which she forgot to retrieve before the lid went on and he was huckled off to the crematorium!

True story – well, my part is, and the lady was a librarian, very prim and proper (more’s the pity) and wouldn’t have fibbed.

So that’s my Weymouth story, and my library story too.

Finally (if Doddering George will excuse me) I have another one.   My Asda story…..

The green supermarket had a sign at their electronics counter last week, announcing: “One Third Off All DVDs”.

So I bought The Good, The Bad.



Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?).   He is always happy to hear from interesting people at  dick@crystalfm.co.uk    



Dick Barrie
Dick Barrie

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