Geoffrey Shryhane’s Wigan World

Geoffrey Shryhane
Geoffrey Shryhane
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ARE we being ripped off by having to pay for carrier bags in some stores?

Yes we are.

Now I can understand that in the not too distant future we will be forced by law to pay for all shop and supermarket carrier bags.

Of course, if you buy a paint brush or a can of peas, a bag wouldn’t be a top priority.

Just slip said item into your pocket. Paying for them first, of course.

But what about a big item? In my case, a 5ft high conifer tree in a big pot from a big DIY centre in this respected town of ours.

The assistant didn’t offer any wrapping at all. So I asked for a bag. And one was provided – so small it didn’t reach the top of the pot.

I explained that a bigger bag was vital to prevent the soil busting out of the pot when I laid the £13 tree flat on my car back seat.

A bigger bag was produced and in went the plant. Just.

Price of said bag – 15p.

In my view that’s a rip-off. A copper or two, yes. But not 15p for a bag that must have cost a 1,000th of a penny to make is downright greedy.

Anyway, I kept my trap shut. And that in itself is unusual.

But when the government does introduce compulsory payment for bags, they should also fix a reasonable charge. Individual goods over a tenner should come with a free bag whatever the size of purchase.

THEY – whoever “they” are – say we’re coming out of the blistering recession which began seven years ago.

That can only be good news. But it seems it’s not over. Not by a long chalk.

The sad news is that more stalls have put up their shutters in the Market Hall.

One’s a butchers and the notice attached to the counter asks for customers who have paid into the Christmas club to collect their money on a certain date.

Next door, the fish stall which has been a feature of the Market Hall for years has called it a day.

A small cafe is no more. And so it goes on.

The folks running the hall do their best to disguise these empty stalls. A huge photographic image of vegetables has made a little inroad helping to alleviate the gloom.

There seems to be more areas where weary shoppers can rest awhile. As we know the hall is doomed and will transfer into new – and smaller – premises in an imaginative new development in a couple of years. People have been shocked by the closure of the Dicconson Arms at Appley Bridge which has been a landmark pub and restaurant for decades.

Sadly Appley Bridge post office, which has been part of village life, has put up the shutters for the last time and the PO facilities are now part of the shop next door.

But it is not all doom and gloom, the former pub at the Water’s Edge has been re-furbished and has reopened as The Boathouse.

ONE of our local MPs has star quality – and has been likened to a young Dirk Bogarde.

Alas the fact that it’s a “he” immediately rules out MPs Lisa Nandy and Yvonne Fovargue. Shame or wot?

No, the Member of Parliament with a touch of MGM glamour is the never-off-the-television Andy Burnham who has made such a terrific mark in his remarkable parliamentary career.

Star of the House of Commons, some say. Perhaps even future Prime Minister. Mr Burnham – who is Shadow Secretary of State for health – has already gone far.

But who has compared him to Dirk Bogarde?

None other than Mr Quentin Letts – political diary writer in the Daily Mail – who in his parliamentary sketch said Andy had truly paraded his plumage in a health and law and order debate.

Quentin wrote: “There he stood with his lovely long eye-lashes popping, his mouth agape at the wickedness of the wicked, wicked Tories.

“He was grievance in a suit, indignation with a nice, black hair do and a passing resemblance to the youngish Dirk Bogarde.”

A compliment or what?