Thursday, 4 September 2014

Bad pennies…

Here it is empty and abandoned, the rot eating away its wooden structure, the paint peeling and flaked. Yes, here it is; my trusty old kiosk on Bangor Pier. I used to come here to play at shops, although halfway across the Menai Straits is a funny place for a shop. The wind was always blowing a gale, but me being me I only really remember the sunny days. I used to enjoy sitting in my very own miniature pavilion like a pretend George IV. I filled it with windchimes and handmade gifts, and occasionally I’d even sell something. Looking at it so unloved and unwanted on a grey September day - the sea lapping at the pier stanchions below - I felt quite sad; like I’d lost something.

Which of course I had.

Alan, the chap who sells wooden gifts from the kiosk at the front of the pier, told me that there are plans to refurbish my old friend. They’ve already repaired and patched up a few of the others and at some time it will be my kiosk’s turn. He didn’t know when, but it was ‘on the cards’ he told me.

On the cards…

For a moment I thought about contacting the council and asking to rent it all over again, maybe even buying that big terraced house overlooking the pier that the estate agent’s window described as having development potential. From my house on the hill I could look down on my tiny empire and in the mornings - come rain, shine, grey, or even snow - walk the boards to open my mended and polished kiosk of delights. Just a fleeting thought, that’s all it was. But it made me smile for a moment or two.

Of course, there’s never really any going back and to be honest my time on the pier ended quite badly. But then, anything involving my parents always does. After they’d muscled in there was nothing left for me in my kiosk but frustration and argument, and that was why it took me so many years to pluck up the courage to return.

So, last Monday I returned without fanfare and on a whim. I didn’t stay long, just time to walk the length of the pier and back and have a chat about old times with Alan and his wife Wendy. It seems I missed a lot of fun after I left, a kind of pier kiosk price war concerning crabbing apparatus and bait. Afterwards we went into Bangor Town itself, the first time in three years or more, and who should I see in the Carphone Warehouse, like grey clouds on a sunny day, but the dream thieves themselves - not quite Mr and Mrs Shouty, they are figments of my imagination and bear no resemblance to any persons living or dead. Maybe that proves that coincidence is always just around the corner and that what they say about bad pennies is true. Anyway, that night I dreamed about the pier. I won’t go into the details, but I did buy that house and rent my kiosk again and again it ended badly. In the morning when I awoke I decided that it would remain a dream.

Mind you... I have been known to change my mind.


  1. David Bell on FB
    Just to bring you down even more:
    didn't we have a lovely time bangor - Bing Videos

  2. Mark McNicholas on FB
    Make up your mind, don't vacillate !!!

  3. Andrew Height
    Geoff Sutcliffe - did you see my old shop on your recent visit and did you buy your crabbing gear from Alan? It was the photos of you on the pier that decided me to return after a very long spell away. So thanks.

  4. Geoff Sutcliffe on FB
    Yes we had a good chat with Alan amd his wife. They were lovely folks and gave us good crabbing advice.

  5. Andrew Height
    David what a truly terrible song and just what is her hair about. Aunt Sally meets Jane Austen? Let's face it, you'd need that bottle of cider.

  6. Andrew Height
    Was Fiddler's Dram anything to do with you Kevin Parrott?

  7. Andrew Height
    Yes, Geoff they are very nice people and gave me good advice when I was trading on the pier. It was a whimsical hobby for me, but it meant a lot to them and still does.

  8. Kevin Parrott on FB
    Nothing at all Andrew Height.

  9. Andrew Height
    I'm very pleased about that, particularly with those hair styles
    Nothing at all Andrew Height.

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