Day 6.2: Fugitive in Telford


Telford Shopping Centre (1)

Tesco at Telford.

Telford’s hotspot.

The coffee’s okay, I suppose, but all in all, being at Tesco in Telford, is pretty much the same experience as being at Tesco in Colchester, or Tesco in Bury St Edmunds, or Tesco in Ipswich.

Okay, so this photo was taken at Tiverton by Martin Bodman but, like I said –
 it’s pretty much the same as all the others!

Tesco is Tesco, whether it be in on of the Shires or in East Anglia. And the coffee is strangely reminiscent of Costa Coffee’s coffee. This, I conclude, is very likely because Tesco decided it didn’t like the ‘riff-raff’ previously drawn into its premises by its own catering service – with its nothing-wrong-with-cheap sausage and baked beans, complete with mug of tea, and even bread and butter meal deal – and decided to substitute the whole for one single insy-winsy cup of Costa’s choke-on-it-yourselves coffee.

Well, I will have you know, Lord and Lady Tesco, that I, Jay Cool, am far from being one of the hoi polloi. Myself and  my entourage are all descendants of Lady Elizabeth Grey of Myddle Castle c. 1440-1501 (my 16th Great Grandmother), Sir Thomas Hopton c.1402-1445 of Hopton Castle (my 15th Great Grandfather), Lady Eleanor Cobham c.1400-1452 of the Palace of Placentia (my 18th Great Grandmother), and every other specimen of regality back to William the Conqueror c. 1027-1087 (my 28th Great Grandfather). And, if that’s of no significance to you, then I even have a few drops of Viking DNA thrown into the mix. I’m a ginger, I’m hot-headed, impulsive and I’m very, very angry! Plus, I have just a little bit of an axe to grind, on behalf of my Grandmother Eleanor, who was convicted of witchcraft.

Eleanor Cobham and her husband, Humphrey Plantagenet
 (wikipedia, Creative Commons Licensed).

Bring back the cheap stuff, Tesco, before I conjure up the sorceress within! This Costa stuff breaks the bank of lost inheritance and it tastes bitter!

On the positive side, though, Tesco does always have a good two for seven quid book deal – and it’s the same deal everywhere you go, that’s assuming that everywhere has a Tesco store, which everywhere does! I leave the sprogs hassling their grandmother for a extortionately-priced bag of teeny-tiny chocolate muffins, whilst I drift over to the book aisle, under the pretext of stocking up on Coco-Pops.

I return, complete with Coco-Pops, two boxes and a number of bargain paperbacks bagged up in between.

“Got the Coco-Pops!”

“And how many books?” asks Sprog 2.

“None – I wouldn’t waste my money!”

“Pass the bag over; I want to see the Coco Pops!”

I’m about to give in and let my cover be blown, when Mother Cool comes to the rescue.

“I’m tired. It’s been a long day! Think your Uncle Dan, and I, will head back to your cousin Ned’s place now!”

What? A long day? But we’ve only just got here. I’ve only bought four books, and Telford’s sure to have …

But, I don’t really say any of this, because the Mother is already up and on her way, and Uncle Dan, being her chauffeur for the week, has no other choice but to follow. They toddle off, with promises about meeting up on another day.

“What now?” I ask the Coco Pops.

“Shops!” proclaims Sprog 2.

But, it’s nearly five o’clock, far too late for any further retail therapy, and I’ve got my doubts about how much the new town of Telford will have to offer an obsessive book collector and grave digger.

“Back to Myddle?”

“But, I thought you wanted to visit Dawley?” queries Hubby.

“Yes, I do, but, it’s five o’clock and Dawley’s very likely miles away from here!”

“This is Dawley!”

“This is Tesco. And Tesco, this Tesco, is in Telford!”

“Correct. But, Dawley no longer exists. I looked it up on Google maps last night, and Dawley, or what was Dawley, has been subsumed by Telford. Dawley is but a blob of food and Telford is the Pacman who gobbled it up!”

A ClipArt image by Peter Brough,  labelled Creative Commons.

“But …”

Truly, I am gutted. I spent hours, days and weeks researching the surnames: Bailey, Watkiss, Morris, Dodd, Brown, Bailey and Webb, names on both sides of my family tree, names that all seem to have graced the streets of Dawley with their existence, and what for? Was it all for nothing? Have the haunts of my ancestors been literally wiped off the map, and bulldozed into oblivion by a gang of Dawley deniers?

“It’s okay. We can look out for any signs of it on our way back through the fringes of Telford!”

Slowly, I start to recover. Mother Cool has given up on us, but the day is still young. Dawley. Here comes your descendant, Jay Cool. And I’m on a mission. I’m going to put Dawley back on the map. I’m going to bring it back from the dead, before it suffers from the further expansion of Pacman Telford‘s stomach. A visit from one such as I, must surely be worth, at the minimum, a ‘Jay Cool, the Silly-Savvy Salopian, once walked on this pavement during a sodden wet day in April 2018!’ plaque! Mustn’t it?

“Seeing as the shops are closed, we are going back to The Lodge now, aren’t we Mum?”

“Yes, Sprogs! Yes, of course we’re heading in that direction! Jump in the Dacia!”

Start. Stutter. Stall. Start. Stutter. Stall. St ….

Copyright owned by Jay Cool, April 2018

Who is Jay Cool, the so called Silly-Savvy Salopian?

(1) It is unlikely to have escaped the reader’s notice, that the photograph of Telford Shopping Centre was taken by another. So, why didn’t I bother to go there myself, I ask you to ask? Well, 1) It was late afternoon by the time we reached Telford, and 2) My last visit to the very same shopping centre was traumatic. At the age of perhaps nine, or thereabouts, my parents, along with Uncle Dan and my late Auntie Petunia, treated me to a trip to Telford. Finding the shopping rather limited, when one had to wait outside Tesco (Yes, there is another Tesco in Telford – one of the four!), for a very long time waiting for Father Cool to finish deciding which packet of frozen peas to purchase, I entered another world. My world. Jay Cool’s world. On awakening from my other world, I figured that I had probably missed the parents and the add-on Cools, as they must have left Tesco some time ago. I trundled off to the car park to look for them, imagining them to be seated in their cars and being very angry. There was a barrier of ribbons in my way. I guessed it was there awaiting for me to break it, in the same way that any royal visitor would be invited to cut the red ribbon, at the opening of a new facility. I obliged. On barging through the ribbon, I ran pit-pat across the concrete to seek out my awaiting elders.

A loud shout cut through my brain membrane, “YOU LITTLE B*****!”

Being polite, I momentarily glanced back to see what all the fuss was about. Some poor kid was getting it bad from her parents! I was more than shocked to witness a large, burly workman shaking one fist at me, whilst pointing at the concrete with the other. I followed his point. And, then I got his point. I had left a rather beautiful Clark’s shoe-shaped footprint in his newly-laid wet concrete. I recognised the moment for what it was, and moved on. Quickly. On finding my parents’ car parentless, rather than seek them out, I hid behind it.

You will understand, now, the source of my trauma and forgive me for not revisiting the scene of my crime. One day, though, not so far in the future, if that footprint is still there – a plaque will be mounted next to it: ‘Jay Cool, Blogger Extraordinaire, once trod here!’

Until then, I’m staying clear.

Published by The Silly-Savvy Salopian

Freelance writer and descendant of the cave dweller and outlaw, Humphrey Kynaston. Banished from Shropshire for my eccentricity, I have made my home in Suffolk. I write poetry, short stories, travel journals, comedy gig reviews and non-fiction articles. My wish is to write my way back into the heart of my birth land. All writing commissions (and free holidays in Shropshire!) considered.

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