About This Blog

This blog was originally started as a thread on the forum pages of an animal rescue site. Now it's here!

The articles you find in here are purely for entertainment (yours and mine) and (with one or two exceptions) are all tongue-in-cheek chronicles of the World (my bit, anyway) as I see it.
No disrespect is intended towards anyone unless I make a mistake and make it too obvious.

I hope you enjoy my offerings. Feedback and comments of any kind are welcome.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

"The Great Woolworth's Caper"

Let me take you back to a time when police officers regularly patrolled on foot without fear of having to break into a run and were never more than two minutes away from a cup of tea; a time when a 'police chase' was nothing more than a fast whistle-blowing and gasping walk; a time when crime was actually considered un-cool.

The year is 1969, the month was August, and school was out for the summer holidays.

I was ten years old and about to commit a heinous crime and become the subject of a police interrogation for the very first time.

It was a Saturday.  I remember that the local football ground was being used for a farmers show on that day and the town (Ashington, Northumberland) was buzzing (in a 60's kind of way).  I had a bag of (peri)winkles,  a pin and some jelly babies and I was on my way to see "The War Wagon" with messrs Wayne, Douglas and  Keel at the local Regal cinema..

On my way to the cinema I passed the ideal place for Mini-skirt-spotters ... Woolworth's!

Mini skirts were still turning heads in 1969, but unlike today, big knickers (Bridget Jones's) were still all the rage.   So, whilst touring the aisles of Woolworth's, carefully and strategically dropping things as mini skirted women passed by, nothing more than great expanses of flower-patterned material was revealed*.

I decided on that day that Woolworth's was a boring shop and needed to be livened up somewhat.  The "pick and mix" sweetie counter just didn't cut it any more and I had to do something.

That was when I saw a plastic box at the end of one of the aisles.  It was full of super-bouncy rubber balls that were aptly named 'Super-balls'.  They were smaller than their almost tennis ball sized cousins (Power balls) and very easy to conceal.  So I concealed some ... I ate my jelly babies and stuffed the bag full with at least ten to fifteen balls ... my winkles were deposited under the counter and that bag too was filled with balls.   With two full bags and bulging pockets, I made my way up the steps that lead to the shops rear entrance.

I then stood in the doorway and scanned the shop floor in front of me.  No one was looking!

As quickly as I could I took all those super-bouncy balls and one after the other I propelled them back into the shop in every conceivable direction.  People started screaming and balls pinged off floors, walls,  shelves and a good many heads.  I fired salvo after salvo into the throng of panicking customers, dodging after each one behind the scant cover that the door frame offered.  I was in tears of joy as old lady after old lady** ducked, skidded, fell and rolled their way behind counters and into safety.

As the last of my 'ammunition' was expended, I turned towards door behind me to make my escape, only to run head first into one of the largest stomachs I have ever seen.  I ricocheted onto my backside and slid ineloquently to a halt at the top of the stairs and looked up.

The 'stomach' turned out to be wearing a policeman's uniform and it belonged, in fact, to a jolly looking fat police sergeant that I had seen around town and called names on many occasions.

It was obvious that he recognised me as he said "Are you going to come quietly, Mr. Capone?  Or do I have to call in the F.B.I."?

For hours (or so it seemed) I was questioned by the sergeant and store manager as to my motives for committing such an atrocity.

"It was only a joke" was the answer I would have liked to have given, but terror had clamped my jaw shut and I could only manage to mumble incoherently.

I was released with a stern telling off ... eventually ... but only after a thousand and one apologies were demanded (and given) and only after the manager conceded that no real harm had been done and that some of the staff and customers had had a good laugh about the incident.  Luckily, my parent were never informed and my arse was saved the wrath of my fathers belt.

*Ok, at this point I have to admit that I wasn't really doing my best every opportunity to look up mini skirts!  
No.  At that time of my life I was still in the throws of "girl hate" and a dislike of everything girlie.

**I was ten.  Twenty-five was old to me


The above tale is absolutely true however I cannot be 100 % certain that the amount of balls 'returned' to the shop has not increased due to age-related exaggeration.

It is was my first brush with the law.  There have since been two others (more serious), which I may will spill the beans about at a later date.


  1. Ha this was pretty funny. As a child I was always on Punishment for something. One time a few friends and I were climbing trees when a branch at the bottom broke off. We obviously didn't know how to get back down since the lowest branch was gone. So my one friend came up with the Idea to swing off the lowest branch and drop down onto the hood of a car that was underneath the tree. Then slide our way down the hood to safety of the ground. Well everyone else went before me because I was all the way up the tree. Since I was last one of my friend parents only saw me swing down from the branch and onto the car. So then the parents told the neighbor whose car wouldn't start the next day. Mind you I was only about 9 or 10 at the time and there were only three of us. How her car didn't work because 3 9 year old's jumped on the hood of her car, I have no clue. So of course the lady came to my house told my mom that her car wouldn't start because I jumped on her car. My mom was livid, I then told her that I wasn't the only one that did it and my two friends parents had to pay up. That parent who told the neighbor was pissed he said anything because he thought his daughter was an angel.

    Anyways good post! I have a few run ins with the law myself :)

  2. woolies! gone but not forgotten

  3. Hahaha! Great story. There was a very narrow hall in one of the homes of my childhood. My sister and I delighted in throwing (as hard as we could) one of those balls against a wall and watch it ricochet all the way down the hall.

    Until mom found the marks and dents on the wallpaper.

  4. Funny story, but what the heck are winkles? Flowers? Or candy? I couldn't tell from Google. Happy BPOTW. If you have time, please visit my post at my Buddhist blog. Thanks.

    1. winkle = Periwinkle (edible snail-like creature from seaside rocks)


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