If you know the TV show “League of Gentlemen”, you’ll be familiar with the town where odd things happen. Not just odd, but bizarre. Things work the wrong way around. Things that should be spectacular are spectacularly dull. Things that should be non-existent are the norm. See “Withernsea carnival” and die.
One thing I need to point out here – I do love Withernsea and its people.
One scene sticks in my mind when I think of the League of Gentlemen. It was pure genius. it takes a special mind to see the world this way:
A man stands on a street corner
“Lighters: three for a pound. Three for a pound. Lighters”
A man walk up and hand over three lighters and the first man hands over a pound coin.
I was in Withernsea at the weekend. My wife grew up in Withernsea and people I know and like seem to come from “With”. Friends at work. First friend I made in Hull. Wife.
This is why I was in “With”. Clearing my Mother-in-laws house before she moves lcoser to Hull and family.
I went to a charity shop with a pile of book and black bin liners full of VHS (and yes – Beta) video tapes. I was disheartened, but felt a small leap of joy as they happily took the books and refused the original Disney films. The book lives on longer than video. There was something wonderful about that, but I still had to dispose of the VHS tapes (12 bin liners full!).
Anyways, I digress.
After the charity shop I walked through an indoor market / car boot sale and persused the nonsense for sale. The usual tat was on display. Old copies of James Herriot novels stood side-by side with brass horseshoes and plastic flowers.
Then one stall caught my eye. This one had a collection of DIY tools and supplies. Nirvana! Mecca for dads. So I walked over with a bit more purpose. Then it struck me. They sold the “Withernsea equivalent” of B&Q. Half used rolls of gaffer tape, a spirit level with the glass tube missing/ broken. Then one set of items stopped me in my tracks. I actually stopped breathing. There amongst the rusting screw drivers was a collection of about 20 three pin electrical plugs – all different designs and colours, all with 2 inches of cord sticking out and cut off. WTF!?
The only time I have seen this sort of thing is when a burgular takes an electrical item and cuts the cord to make a speedy exit without having to untangle spaghetti behind the TV before making to the nearest pub car park.
Mild shake of my head and I go back to my mother in laws house to continue the clearance. More bin liners full of magazines about the Amstrad CPC, telephone directories from the 1980’s.
As I get to the back of a cupboard, three feet deep in astology books, there in the dust is a rusting screwdriver and three plug with 2 inches of cord sticking out of them.
If you want a mind blowing experience. Go to Withersea. Don’t just glance at the high street. Scratch the surface. read the post office adverts and the newsagent windows. Read about the handyman who will “Do anything to anyone and any time”, marvel at the advert for the “Man with a van – will move anything (no lifting!)” then look in a second hand shop and try to work out who would buy a china statuette of a bird with wings missing.
One stall had a power converter for a car – you know it plugs in the cigarette lighter and provides 240v for a hairdryer etc.(http://www.maplin.co.uk/car-and-sat-nav/vehicle-power/invertors). I asked how much and the man said £15. I said I’d think about it and walked off. After passing by on the way back to the car I noticed it had gone. Then, I saw it on another stall. I asked the lady here and she said £20. She explained she had seen me ask and thought she could make a quick £5. She actually explained her thinking. I walked off. Mind boggling.