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T and the Nettle Defector

Or so my mobile phone predictive text describes his Bank Holiday excursion to Skegness this weekend.

This would appear to represent yet another blow for notorious terrorist group the BNP (the British Nettle Party) who for months were a thorn in the authorities’ side, till their entire operation was taken down in a series of well co-ordinated stings.

Actually the above just represents yet another of my poor attempt at humour and my phone’s apparent preference for phrases that make no sense.

No our emponymous hero of volunteering is actually going over off to ‘Skeggie’ to engage in some hardcore metal detecting action.

“Treasure?” I suggest.

“Maybe” he replies.

A customer proposes that he should look for King John’s treasure which supposedly sank in the Wash during the 13th century, this will be of course the biggest news in Lincolnshire since Mrs C Butterworth of Grantham come second in the 1987 Fifteen to One final.

Ok I’m sorry, I shouldn’t exploit this blog purely to fuel East Midlands rivalry but have you ever actually met someone from Rutland? As we cowards say always pick on those who are smaller than you.

Anyway moving back to T and his treasure quest, I ask “Will you come back to the shop if you find it?” I ask.

“Of course”.

Now there’s dedication for you. I wouldn’t be surprise if he used his money to open his own shop and then started volunteering there.

I can’t wait to see what T comes up with.

Fear not whether diamonds and rubies or bottle caps and discarded copies of the Skeggie Telegraph I will publish them here live and exclusive on the Save the Children website.

Which brings me to my first wonderfully contrived metaphor of this week’s blog.

Why is a charity shop like a metal detector? Because you never know when, where and what treasure is going to turn up.

For example on Saturday Mr Bookman finds a gem in the shape of a small collection’s of the writings of Proust, I look at it and nod intelligently, desperately hoping that he won’t realise that the only famous Marcel I’d be able to engage in conversation about is the pet monkey briefly owned by Ross in the American sitcom Friends.

Despite my ignorance I can clearly see that he’s as happy as a political representative who gets paid just to turn up and I am delighted to say that down on Derby Road this is more than a common occurence.

My favourite customer of the week is without a doubt ‘Mr Shorts Man’.

After a good twenty minutes perusing Nottingham’s very finest in humanitarian trouser wear he leaves with nothing. T and I add him to our banned list and tell the sniper on the roof to take aim.

Ok Retail Department you can stop panicking, we don’t shot at our customers and the only people actually on my banned list are anybody linked to Derby County FC and the Cheeky Girls and I’m willing to let the latter enter provided they don’t sing.

This is all by-the-by as three minutes or so later ‘Mr Shorts Man’ re-emerges from the street, flustered and looking slightly aggravated like a man who’s just found his passport at Manchester Airport when his flight leaves from Stansted in twenty five minutes. He leaps gracefully through the clothing rails and grabs
desperately the same pair of shorts he was staring longingly at only moments ago. He clutches them jealously to his chest like a dog with his bone or an MP with the last Commons’ expense form and then he speaks.

“I decided to get them after all”


“I mean I’ve got loads of pairs of shorts and I hardly ever wear those, but you can never have too many pairs right?”

I personally feel it is precisely this kind of logic that makes Britain such a great place to live.

This man you see is in fact a genius, because come 2040 when Global Warming has turned Nottingham into Nevada, SKegness into some sort of coastal Las Vegas and we’re all sweating to death in our chinos, our jeans and our supra-neo-modern ultra-violet space flares whose door are we going to be knocking on?

Yep that’s right,’Mr Shorts Man’.

The real message is perhaps though a more sombre and serious one, (cue sad music, voice over by Ronan Keating and video clip of a man possibly Ronan himself if we can afford him, sitting with his head in his arms).

That even in hard times most of us in this country can afford to have a little more than we really need.

And that we where born or brought up or moved to a place that has the chance to help not only children who need it in our country but across the world.

Now that really is hitting the jackpot.

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