Like most parents, I sometimes need a break from parenting to recharge my batteries, and it’s the same with writing a blog about parenting; a short interlude can give me clarity, plus I think my one reader (Hi Margaret – how’s prison life treating you?) needs a break too.
So, just to spritz things up, I occasionally post the best bits from my now defunct first blog, which ran for three years and revealed some of the curious goings-on at my cafe.
Enjoy the break and normal service will be resumed next week.
This is episode three in a five part series and includes: Captain Nemo, a shocking sex story that will change the way you look at Cbeebies, the infamous £20 con trick and details of a kid’s game I invented called: What am I scratching now?
The classic £20 con trick.
Let me start this blog by saying that not all Mancunians are criminals.
I know a couple of Mancs who are wonderful (that’s maybe stretching it a bit; they’re OK) but we’ve only ever had two in the cafe and they’ve both tried the £20 con trick; a con that all shopkeepers get stung by at some point.
I’m still confused about how it works, but the upshot is, a Manc waddles in with a £20 note and waddles out with £30 and a can of coke.
All I can say is that Mancs must really love fizzy pop and money. Or perhaps I’m mistaken, and there is a pop and cash shortage in Manchester, for which I apologise, but I haven’t seen anything on the news.
This is how the scam is done:
A Manc bimbles into a shop and asks for a can of coke, but only has a £20 note. Coke is 90p, we give him £19.10 in change. The Manc complains that he doesn’t want all that shrapnel change and suddenly finds a tenner in his pocket. He then asks if he can have the twenty back and use the tenner instead, and this is where I get confused, but somehow he ends up with £30 and a can of coke.
This first happened 2 days ago, and the word must have spread around Mancland because another one tried it yesterday. I don’t know why they don’t just form an orderly queue, or maybe do it a bit slower so I can work out how it’s done.
Failing that they could try a more flamboyant act of 18 century deception to get pop, such as the classic magician’s trick of sawing a woman in half. The top half is holding a twenty, the bottom half wants the change, the legs give back a tenner and the head gets the pop.
To be honest, it really upset my wife. Whenever you get conned it makes you feel vulnerable and naïve, so her faith in humanity has taken a bit of a hit. It’s also made me fear for her safety when she is working alone, which is not something I bargained for when we first opened the cafe.
To put my wife’s mind at ease, I’ve decided to get rid of all the coke and stock Lilt instead; no one drinks Lilt. It’s a simple tactic; just remove temptation. I employ the same technique when I’m hiring staff, that’s why all my waitresses look like wardens from Prisoner Cell Block H.
Just to clarify, it’s not to stop me from being tempted, it’s the customers. I once employed a pretty waitress but we got loads of Justin Bieber types, and dads who’ve been ‘married too long’ staring at her through the window. I went out a few times to reason with them, but I found I got quicker results if I just hit them with a broom.
My customers are sex mad.
Here’s some sex gossip I overheard in the cafe today.
One of my regular customers, let’s call him Barry, lives in a terraced property next to a woman, let’s call her Margaret (Hi Margaret) who is also a regular. It turns out that she is a Commercial Broker and an avid sex screamer.
While Barry was decorating his child’s bedroom, he overheard the sex screamer shouting: “F*ck me harder! Aaaaagh you twat! Squeeze my f*cking tits…aaaagh! That’s it, put it in there. Aaaagh…F*cking hell!”
The problem is that her boyfriend is the spitting image of Mr Tumble.
What am I scratching now?
We shopkeepers take an overseas vacation around this time of year to give the impression to our competitors that we are doing much better than they are. It’s all smoke and mirrors of course; admittedly, we have just returned from Italy, but it was on a tight budget.
On the last night of our holiday we were all crammed together in a hotel in Pisa, not in the city centre, but some way outside the city in a business district. The air conditioning was broken, and someone had nicked the bath plug. I can’t say who did it, but I bet there’s a Manc somewhere guzzling coke and admiring his collection of European bath plugs.
There was laminate flooring in all the rooms, and the walls were paper thin, so you could hear every footstep. All we could hear from the guy next door was a tippy-tap noise on the laminate, going from the bathroom to the bed. He was either racing cockroaches, or he had really long toenails and a weak bladder.
To alleviate the tension, I decided to play a game I’ve invented that always helps to get the kids to sleep, it’s called: What am I scratching now? This is how you play:
Turn out the lights, scratch a body part and the contestants have to guess which bit; simple.
I always go for the same three areas: ankle, foot and ballbag. If any of the kids shout out the correct combination of: ankle, foot and ballbag, they are the winners.
The fantastic underwater adventures of Yorkshire’s Captain Nemo.
I always try and make sure I’m in the cafe on Tuesday mornings because that’s when Captain Nemo floats in.
Nemo is a retired submarine commander who loves spinning exaggerated tales about battling Johnny Foreigner beneath the ocean waves. As soon as he’s placed his order, I ring the chemist next door and he immediately stops selling itchy cock cream and pops in. We both sit down, like a couple of dough-eyed kids in library corner, with a strong cup of tea and a hot chocolate brownie (only £2.20!) and listen to a weathered old man talking about submarines.
According to Nemo, during the cold war Russia deployed subs up to the northern Scottish coast to spy on us Brits. They would play a game of cat and mouse with our submarines; hiding in the reeds and slipping in behind our subs. This really annoyed the Royal Navy, because once a sub is behind you; it’s game over. So with great fortitude and that unique sense of British endeavour, the Royal Navy dispatched our entire submarine fleet to the Channel, with strict orders to do the same to the French.