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Woolworths R.I.P?

Woolworths. Those shops often housed in art-deco buildings, a ubiquitous retailer. I have been a customer of Woolworths for nearly half a century. I used to buy fishing stuff from them when I was a wee boy, when the floor was polished wood and the goods were sold from large rectangular counter/gondola displays. Then when I was a bit older it was packs of five cassettes or the latest album or single. Even now hardly a week goes by without my visiting Woolies in Dumbarton or Helensburgh for a light bulb or a CD or a screwdriver or maybe some pic ‘n’ mix. From a local perspective, Woolworths is almost as much a part of Helensburgh and Dumbarton as the Rivers Clyde or Leven. I’m sure this kind of association will be typical from towns accross the UK. They tended to occupy the same site in towns, often refurbishing, rarely expanding or relocating.

And now the following news from the Times:

“Woolworths, the iconic 99-year-old six-penny retail chain, is on the verge of collapsing into corporate bankruptcy despite desperate last-ditch government efforts to save it.

The board of Woolworths plc, believing it had exhausted all its other options, met at 6pm at the retailer’s central London headquarters to vote on a move that threatens thousands of British jobs.

Here they will agree to put two of Wooworths’ subsidiaries – its 815 store high street arm and its DVD distribution business EUK, which between them employ nearly 30,000 people – into corporate bankruptcy or administration.”

The Reptiles are Here!

Dr. Roger Mugford

One of Ferncake’s (see BLFP passim) favourite stories regards an aunt of his who works in a sub post office in a local council estate. One family had been all set to go on holiday and therefore Ferncake’s old relative was surprised to see the family’s 16 year old son. ” I thought you were off on holiday this week” she said. “Naw I hud tae stay at hame ‘cos we couldnae get anyone to look efter the iguana” came the reply.

However yesterday on Radio Scotland in the morning news there was a feature which claimed that reptiles had now overtaken dogs as Britain’s most popular pet with over 8 million in Britain’s homes. As the owner of a pet emporium, and one who has recently ventured into the sale of reptiles (bearded dragons and tortoises) I was interested in what the studio guest Dr. Roger Mugford of The Company of Animals had to say on the matter. Dr. Mugford is an expert in the training of dogs and we stock many of his products.

An adult bearded dragon.

I simply couldn’t believe it when Mugford, a man who makes his living from the companionship and fascination humans gain from pets, launched into a tirade on a subject he clearly knows little about. For anyone who heard the interview I’d just like to go through the points one by one.

1) “Most of these animals are imported illegally” – WRONG! in fact most are bred locally.

2) “Most only survive a week or two” – WRONG! In fact the lifespan of most of the creatures is extended due to the absence of predators.

3) “They are kept in totally unsuitable conditions” – well how does he know this? There may be cases of this of course and animal cruelty is a major concern but from what I know (considerably more than Dr. Mugford it would appear) dogs kept in unsuitable conditions account for a much higher proportion of animal charites’ work.

Dr. Mugford has in the past been associated with Crufts and the Kennel Club. Perhaps a case of people in glass houses?

Now it’s Road Tax!

Thanks to my friend and BLFP correspondent Robbo for this;

taxdisc