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Episode 14: The Info Shop PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Eager   
Friday, 02 October 2009 13:23

"Are you going to the Trumpet? Colwall Green ? Pixley ? Can we come with you ?"

Windy Miller was in a terrible state. He'd been on the home brew cider again and forgotten to pay his council tax. And he couldn't get the bus into town today, because it only went on a Tuesday.



"There's nothing else for it," thought Windy "I'll have to hitch a lift into town."

Windy stuck out his thumb and it wasn't long before Raggy Dan, the village recycler, pulled his cart over and offered Windy a lift.

"Where you off, Windy?"

"Bloomin' Council Offices." Windy belched out.

"You been on the pop again?" laughed Raggy Dan.

"What's it to you?" Windy felt rough as a badger's backside and didn't appreciate Raggy laughing at him.

"Anyways, it's called the Info Shop now, not the Council Offices."

"Since when?"

"Since they changed its name, stupid."

"Bloomin' 'eck, they're as bad as the bloomin' supermarkets changing everything around all the time. What they do that for? Gits."

Raggy Dan dropped Windy Miller off outside the Info Shop.

"Have a nice day, Windy!"

"Sod off" Windy growled under his pungent breath as he entered the Info Shop.

"Looks the bloomin' same to me" Windy thought to himself.

"Can I help you?" asked Ms Troop, looking Windy up and down disapprovingly.

"Council Tax for October, here you go. Discount for cash?"

Ms Troop ignored him and processed his payment.

At the counter next to Windy Chippy Minton was having a hard time.

"I was only parked a few minutes over.... and I was working opposite. It's mad trying to park here and I get a ruddy ticket for my troubles."

The desk clerk showed bored uninterested eyes. "That'll be £30 please."

"Ruddy day light robbery, that's what it is. If I can't park I can't work. It's as simple as that," continued Chippy.

"£30 please."


Windy Miller was now feeling mischievous. "So, this is the Info Shop, is it?"

"It is," replied Ms Troop.

"Well then, I'd like to purchase some information please."

"What would you like to know?" Asked the clerk.

"Let's see, all this bloomin' money you collect in fines and taxes - how much of it is used for the war chest?" Ms Troop looked puzzled. "You know, the wars we're fighting... Afghanistan... billions of pounds... tax payers money... you're collect-"

"I'm sorry, we don't provide that sort of information," Ms Troop said tersely.

"Oh, so what sort of information can I buy here?" enquired Windy, now smiling to himself.

"Information about council services - roads, transport, benefits, recycling-"

"Recycling? But that's Raggy Dan's job."

"Not anymore it's not. Dustmen Gubbins and Sneed they do all that now."

"Okay then, libraries.. How often is our library being used? Are there more or less people using it than, say, ten years ago."

Ms Troop started typing in her keyboard.

"And what is the council's calculation on the loss of revenue if the town loses 50 car parking spaces with the new library build? What would that be? 20 odd grand a week?"

"I'm sorry?" Ms Troop was still typing.

"50 spaces at 8 hours a day - that's 400 hours a day, which is 2,400 a week, I reckon. If each hour is worth £10 of shopping - that's, what, 24 grand. What information does the council have on that? After all it must have done calculations and forecasts like these before deciding to spend £3 million on a new library in the old car park. And while we're at it, how exactly does a new library cost £3 million? It's just a few walls and some shelving, ain't it?" Windy farted loudly.

Ms Troop finished typing. "Someone from the council will be in touch, Mr Miller."

"And how much will that cost me then?" asked Windy raising his eyebrows.

"That won't cost you anything, Mr Miller."

"But I thought this was a shop. Isn't a shop a place where you go and buy things? Maybe you could add that to your list. In what way is this a shop?"

"A shop? Don't be daft, Windy Miller," Miss Lovelace had just entered the Info Shop with her three annoying pekinese, Mitzy, Daphne and Lulu. "This is the council offices," she told him.

Mitzy started barking angrily at Windy. Daphne and Lulu pulled away from Miss Lovelace and began running around the Info Shop. "Oh dear, oh dear," cried Miss Lovelace "I only wanted some rubbish bags, Ms Troop, Mr Gubbins and Mr Sneed forgot to leave them again."

"Oh, God help us," sighed Ms Troop and amid the chaos her thoughts turned to Barney McGrew's most handsome beard. Almost involuntarily she picked up the phone and dialled out: "Give me the fire brigade, please."


Don't miss the next episode: Farmer Bell's in trouble.

The Mayor needs more money for his council so he attempts to asset strip Farmer Bell's farm.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 May 2011 09:06