Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger - Volume 181 - October 2015



Special Anniversary Issue

Volume 2


Joe Stead

Drawing by Mark Stead

Aged 10


Coffee was not something you could easily obtain in the years when I was growing up.  I suppose Harrods probably sold it in some form at extortionate price but your local corner store and the Co-op in the High Street certainly didn't.  They did sell Camp Coffee which came in a square shaped bottle, a treacle sort of mixture which wasn't coffee at all, it consisted of water, sugar, 4% caffeine-free coffee essence, and 26% chicory essence.  It was revolting.  But as the Fifties rolled into the Sixties coffee became more available and the coffee bar syndrome broke out all over England.  I don't know if it started first in London, chances are it did, and of course the most famous of them all was The Two I's.  The 2i's Coffee Bar was at 59 Old Compton Street, Soho, in London and it was in operation between 1956 and 1970.  It played a formative role in the emergence of Britain's pop music culture in the late 1950s, and several major stars including Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard were first discovered performing there.  I seldom if ever went there, probably because you could hear Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard, but seldom could you hear the likes of Long John Baldry or Wizz Jones.  You were much more likely to hear Long John in the Gyre and Gymble coffee lounge in Villiers Street, right next door to Charing Cross Station: and living in South East London (Eltham) at the time this was much more convenient for me.  John was 6 feet 7 inches tall; which meant he was 3 inches taller than me, when I first saw him his hair was extremely long, it changed overnight to a pudding basin cut; looked most odd.  If I wasn't drinking coffee at G's I would make my way over to The Troubadour in Brompton Road, Earls Court; which seldom had music during the day but was full of people eager to change the world.  The Trotskyites were there arguing with the Stalinites.  Discussions abounded about McCarthyism and the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence and the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.  Sometimes we even talked about the Suez War.  By 1960 Seeger had made his first appearance in Britain at St Pancras Town Hall.  Harold Macmillan was prime minister and the coffee drinkers at the Troubadour were far from happy.  Below stairs the Troubadour folk club sprung up run by Martin Winsor and Redd Sullivan.  I'm not sure exactly when.  The Troubadour itself was established in 1954 and is one of the last remaining coffee houses of its era still in London today.  With a club room in the cellar it is famous as one of the primary venues of the British folk revival in the late 1950s and 1960s.  The famous singers to have performed there is almost endless - Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Elton John, Jimi Hendrix, Sandy Denny, Robert Plant, Martin Carthy, Davey Graham, Richard Farina, Bert Jansch; I could go on longer.  One 'almost famous' singer appeared at The Troubadour on Tuesday January 21st 1969.  I was paid 5.  I went back again that year to the Troubadour and was paid 7 on the 10th August.


There were quite a lot of folk clubs in coffee houses in the 1960's one of the strangest was run by Richard Digance in East London and I found myself there on the evening of the 6th June 1967.  It was an old London double decker bus.  Coffee was served downstairs where there was a small sitting area, upstairs was the 'concert room'.  I must have spent the entire evening sort of bent double.  I was 6 feet and 4 inches tall in those days and I suspect the bus would have been STL class.  Now only schoolboys who collected London Transport bus numbers in the 1950's would have the slightest idea at this point what an STL Class bus was.  So I will enlighten you.  Two batches of double deck buses were specifically built in the late 1930's for use in the Blackwall and Rotherhithe Tunnels, with specially shaped roofs to improve clearance on the corners.  In 1937, forty STL-type buses with convex-shaped roofs were made with Blackwall Tunnel in mind  and were used on routes 108 and 108A.  The headroom on these buses was slightly lower on both decks.  To be honest I don't remember much about the evening except that the bus was situated on open land quite close to a factory site with one of the most viscous Alsatian guard dogs I've ever seen in my life.  I guess the dog is dead now; and all I can say about that is "A good job too".  It would certainly have kept any prospective burglar away.  I didn't stray any closer than 10 feet to the gate.



Joe Stead



I'm going to move on now to 1969.  Quite a significant year for me insofar as I found myself gracing the stage of The Royal Albert Hall along with Don Partridge, Johnny Silvo, Hedy West, Malcolm Price and Sidney Carter to name but a few.  Looking back it was a pretty strong bill.  Don Partridge had been in the British hit parade only 12 months previously with his self penned song 'Rosie'.  He had been busking in London for many years as a one man band and great hopes were pinned on Don (unfairly the more I think about it) to pull in the crowd.

Joe Stead


If you don't advertise a show properly then it matters not who is topping the bill nobody will show if nobody knows.  It was a disappointing turnout to be honest; but an experience I will never forget.


Joe Stead


Then there was the Boggery Folk Club in Solihull.  I played it a couple of times and then later in the 1970's recorded Jon Isherwood there with Brian Jaques.  More about that in a later chapter.  The Boggery Folk Club was hosted by Jasper Carrott and I arrived there by train (Monday June 30th) just 9 days after the Albert Hall gig.  By now I had acquired the prefix of 'Harmonious Euphonius'.  It was a self appointed nickname.  I had a four page advertising leaflet that I sent to clubs and it brought me in a lot of work.  I never cared how much my advertising material would cost providing it covered it's cost; and it was a system that worked exceedingly well because most folk singers in the late 1960's relied on telephone calls and good luck.   I had obtained references from Sid Green and Dick Hills who at the time were the script writers for Morecambe and Wise.  Not too difficult a task.  They were both Old Askeans still playing rugger for the Old Askeans Rugby Club.  Dick Hills indeed had taught me English at Askes Grammar School during my years there (1952-58).  By 1969 I had retired from playing rugby due to the fear of injury to my hands.  I had already had one tendon snap on the ring finger of my left hand and didn't want any more disabilities, which were likely because I was playing for the first team and had also already torn my inner left knee cartilage playing against Teignmouth in 1961.  'Sick' and 'Did' as we called them played for The Etceteras, who were a bunch of very aging gentlemen who's total age always exceeded 500.  We sang many a Saturday night away together after games; starting of course with the most vulgar sexist songs we knew but later when they ran out it was the folk songs of Ewan MacColl, Pete Seeger and Paul Robeson.



Joe Stead


The guest list that month at the Boggery Club looks pretty impressive.  Magna Carta was made up by Chris Simpson who went to London University, where he started to play the guitar and it was there he met Lyell Tranter, an Australian guitar player, and Glen Stuart, an actor with a five octave range.  They played the Coalhole Folk Club in Cambridge in May of 1969, just a month before appearing at The Boggery, and that was the birth of Magna Carta.  After university Simpson apparently worked a strange assortment of jobs to keep body and soul together ranging from traffic engineer to post-mortem assistant.  By night he played guitar in a variety of venues and with a society orchestra, working the houses of the rich and famous across the south, the great London hotels and one memorable gig for the Royal Family.  But Magna Carta are still alive and well today and I well remember them giving me a lift back to London after a gig at Sheffield University.  A gig that had The Who topping the bill.  (Us folkies were in a different room). 


Joe Stead


Noel Murphy with Shaggis!  I never did see them together.  Shaggis moved on briefly to play with Magna Carta and later became guitarist with Elton John's band, a position he still holds.  To my knowledge Shaggis (real name Davey Johnston) still lives in California.  And why not?

Mike Absalom apparently now lives in Ireland where he both paints and draws.  I only ever met Mike the once and I can't remember where.  He was a colourful character alright.  Educated at Oxford University and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, he worked as a busker for several years, before signing for Vertigo Records.  By this time he had already had two albums released, The bawdy Mighty Absalom Sings Bathroom Ballads (1965) and Save the Last Gherkin for Me (1969).  Finding what he considered to be minimal lasting commercial success, Absalom relocated to Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada in 1980, and continued to work as a solo performer as well as performing on CBC Television.


amazing mr smith

Derek 'The Amazing Mr'' Smith


It was in 1970 on Wednesday 10th June that I met Derek Smith.  He had invited me to perform along with The Yetties at The Welcome Social Club in Beckenham.  There will be a lot more about Derek in further issues.  The lad had just graduated from Bristol University. I didn't realise it at the time;  he had an IQ somewhere above 160 and was to become one of the funniest and certainly most original performers on the folk scene.  A true genius and a long time friend.


Then later that year I was playing at The Anglers in Teddington.  The club was run by Skyport Ade Tucker.  Ade was a bluesman who still performs today.  For me it was just a regular folk club night where, if I say it myself, I went down rather well.  After the show was over I was told that Hughie Green, drinking in the bar, had heard the laughter coming from the club room and had come in to watch.  Apparently he was very amused.  So I sent Hughie some of my publicity material.  To my surprise he replied, and from his home address!




Realising I was totally unsuited to the programme I later had second thoughts about it; and took the invitation no further.  But Shep Woolley got himself on the programme and did rather well.


Next month we enter 1972 and I make my first LP



The End

Special Anniversary Issue

Volume 2


Volume 3 follows next month.




Always nice to receive letters to the Ramblings especially when they are complimentary, and there seems to be a goodly number this month in response to Volume One of the Special Anniversary Issue.   Keep them coming.  One rather vitriolic letter arrived from a gentleman berating me for repeating a rumour that was rife 50 years ago who in the same sentence goes on to shoot himself in the foot by repeating a rumour about Martin Carthy that is to my knowledge bang up to date.  Well, put it this way, I'd never heard it before, but I welcome the information be it true or false, nonetheless.  But rather an odd thing to do I thought.  Perhaps he was hoping his letter would upset me, but it didn't; actually I was delighted to receive it.  Someone should tell him that I welcome controversy, indeed I'm sometimes rather naughty deliberately stirring it up.  But regular readers will know that anyway.  At his request, I've removed his address from my address book so communication is cut and he won't be seeing this issue, or his letter, unless a friend sends him a copy.  I think he's made a bit of a prat of himself if I'm honest.  Still we all make prats of ourselves from time to time don't we?  After all I've made a living from it.




During a Kimber's Men rehearsal last month we discussed whether the shanty SHALLOW BROWN has racist connotations.  It had never occurred to me before that it could be construed this way.  For the uninitiated, according to Hugill (Stan Hugill worked on board sailing ships and was THE AUTHORITY on matters of sea songs),  the song was of West Indian origin and told the story of a slave being sold to the Captain of a whaling ship.  The wretched individual being sold was leaving behind a girlfriend called Juliana.  One of them, and Hugill wasn't sure which, was of mixed race and had a complexion described in the title of the song as "Shallow Brown".  The song, which in the 1800's was a work song used mainly for pumping, is in itself an historical document and for those reasons alone it would be a real pity to lose it.  Another reason why the song has good qualities is that it is very easy for the audience to join with; and to my knowledge never before has anyone questioned whether it should be performed or not.  We live in an age where ISIS is tearing down important historical documentation because of idolatry; are we really intent on doing likewise with our own heritage?  I would really like your opinions.  There was much discussion on the subject on Facebook and the general consensus was to keep singing the song whatever the audience; and wherever the stage.  The song has the following repeated verse lines with the chorus "Shallow Brown" in between..........


Oh I'm bound to leave you


Bound on board a whaler


Master's going to sell me


Sell me for a dollar


I'll cross those Chile mountains


Put my clothes in order


The packet sails tomorrow


Fare the well my Juliana.






Politically we are in for an interesting interlude probably lasting until 2021 and hopefully I will still be alive; because it's going to be a very interesting next five years.  Having vowed never to vote Labour again after Tony B Liar took the country into an illegal war in Iraq; I might, come 2021, change my mind.  I certainly won't be standing for parliament myself again, that's for sure.  With the Labour Party holding its annual conference as I type I understand that Corbyn might be about to apologise for our involvement in the Iraq war.  Fascinating how much of my manifesto is being duplicated now as possible Labour Party policy; including Nationalising the Railways.   Delighted to think, even misguidedly, that they got these ideas from me.  On a rather sinister note however Donald Trump is stirring up a hurricane in America.  God (or whomever you believe in) save us and the planet if that monster takes charge of America.  He's going to make America great again !!!  Oh goody; thank goodness I won't live long enough to discover the mess he'll make of the planet.  But my children, and their children will, so lets all hope the Democrats win again.  The planet is too over-populated as it is and we are all finding it more and more difficult to live in harmony with each other.  At least our leaders sometimes do amusing things they later might live to regret.  David Cameron apparently sticking his todger into the mouth of a dead pigs head whilst at university has lightened the mood amidst the proper political journalists.  Rod Liddle, my favourite of all political journalists had this to say in the Sunday Times: - "Are you more or less likely to vote Conservative now you have learnt that the prime minister might have inserted his old fella into a dead pig's mouth, while he was cheered on by a bunch of Hooray Henrys?  A few years ago you might have imagined the response would have been 'quite a bit less likely, I think thank you for asking'.  But not now.  Not with Jezza waiting in the wings.  Probably not even with Ed, if we're honest.  Today it would take more than that stuff to get the British public to change its vote.  Maybe Cameron indulging in a bizarre sex act involving Satan, a legion of infernal imps and the exhumed corpse of Adolf Eichmann.  A frenzied orgy in which they also stamped to death several baby otters".  I would hasten to add that I do not always agree with everything Mr Liddle has to say; but he always makes me chuckle in bed on a Sunday night before I put the lights out.  I wonder if we could ever see it on You Tube?  Cameron indulging in a bizarre sex act involving Satan, a legion of infernal imps and the exhumed corpse of Adolf Eichmann.  A frenzied orgy in which they also stamped to death several baby otters".  I reckon that might just go viral. 




Martyn Wyndham Read sent me a rather lovely You Tube link by the way; look for :- Martyn Wyndham - Copper and May






Fixture List for Kimber's Men and Joe Stead




Oct 3rd (KM) Liverpool Shanty Festival

Oct 4th (KM) Liverpool Shanty Festival

Nov 9th (Joe) St Anne's School, Blackburn.

Nov 13th (KM) Recording New CD at Foel Studios

Nov 14th (KM) Recording New CD at Foel Studios

Nov 15th (KM) Recording New CD at Foel Studios

Nov 20th (KM) Market Theatre, Market St, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 2AQ

Nov 21st (KM) Rhosygilwen, Rhoshill, Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire. SA43 2TW

Nov 28th (KM) Hepworth Live, Hepworth Village Hall, Towngate, HD9 1TE.

Dec 6th (KM) The Bothy Folk Club, Park Golf Club, Park Rd West, Southport

Dec 19th (KM) The Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis.


Jan 6th (Joe) Pudsey Men's Forum - Valparaiso round the Horn

Jan 30th (KM) Beeston Methodist Church, Chilwell Rd, Beeston, Notts. NG9 1EH

Feb 1st (KM) Barnsley Folk Club, Barnsley Trades Club, Racecommon Rd.

Feb 3rd (Joe) Bolton Methodist Church, Bolton Road Bradford BD2 4LB - Valparaiso

Feb 5th (KM) West Deeping Village Hall, King St, West Deeping, Lincs PE6 9HP

Feb 6th (KM) Binbrook Village Hall, Kirmond Rd, Binbrook, Lincs PE10 0NR

Feb 12th (KM) Burton Joyce Village Hall, Trent Lane, Burton Joyce, NG14 5EY

Feb 13th (KM) Gunthorpe Village Hall, Davids Lane , Gunthorpe. NG14 7EW

Feb 19th (KM) Long Whatton Community Cente, The Green, Long Whatton.

Feb 20th (KM) Elmesthorpe Village Hall, Wilkinson Lane, Elmesthorpe. LE9 7SP

Feb 26th (KM) Morton Village Hall, High St, Morton, Lincolnshire PE10 0NR

Feb 27th (KM) Market House, Market Street, Long Sutton Spalding PE12 9DD

Mar 18th (KM) Harmston Memorial Hall, School Lane, Harmston LN5 9SN

Mar 19th (KM) Frampton Village Hall, Middlegate Rd, Frampton, Boston PE20 1AR

May 13th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival

May 14th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival

May 15th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival

May 20th (KM) Either: Shepley Folk Festival with Skelmanthorpe Brass Band

May 22nd (KM) Or: Shepley Folk Festival with Skelmanthorpe Brass Band

May 26th (KM) Ostend at Anchor Festival, Belgium.

May 27th (KM) Ostend at Anchor Festival, Belgium.

May 28th (KM) Ostend at Anchor Festival, Belgium.

May 29th (KM) Ostend at Anchor Festival, Belgium.

Jun 17th (KM) Mylor

Jun 18th (KM) Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival

Jun 19th (KM) Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival


Jan 20th (KM) Sixmilebridge Festival, County Clare - Provisional

Jan 21st (KM) Sixmilebridge Festival, County Clare - Provisional

Jan 22nd (KM) Sixmilebridge Festival, County Clare - Provisional

Apr 14th (KM) Greenwich Tall Ship's Festival - Provisional

Apr 15th (KM) Greenwich Tall Ship's Festival - Provisional

Apr 16th (KM) Greenwich Tall Ship's Festival - Provisional

Aug 17th (KM) Greenwich Tall Ship's Festival - Provisional








Excuse me. Suggesting that someone is doing time for IRA gun-running, but then saying you’ll retract the rumor if someone "can prove it’s untrue" is, to put it mildly, bullshit. Nobody has to prove a rumor is untrue for you not to spread it when you don’t know, yourself, if it is untrue. That’s smearing somebody’s name to show you’re hip to the inside track or whatever you’d call it. And that is bullshit. Got it? Do you have the balls to check this out with Martin Carthy? Or is the rumor true that he thinks you’re a bullshit artist?

You can drop me off your email list any time you feel like it. I don’t even know how I got on it — you just started clogging up my emailbox a few months ago.

John McLaughlin




This has been one of the most interesting accounts I have read for many a year

When Carter was asked what he had seen when looking through the gap they had created in the wall hiding Tutankhamun treasures - he replied -"Wonderful things"

That's how I feel your writings were this morning Joe!

I have been a keen admirer of yours for a long time, and you go from strength to strength

I sit here with 'baited breath' hoping that Part 2 of your script will arrive tomorrow!

Perhaps its now time to write that book?

Every success to you in the future

Noel Moroney



Hi Joe,

I was at all of your gigs at Downe folk club., including the first one.

Dick Miles



Hi Joe,

Absolutely fascinating. Some family history I was not aware of. I vaguely remember the house in Winchester and the sugar mice we got down the road. I think it had an outside loo. I do fondly remember both our Maternal grandparents, and your banjo playing just before we left the shores of England in 1967 (Valentines day). I am the only one of Jacks five kids who hasn't ( yet) returned.

Eagerly looking forward to the next chapter!

All the best,

Pete Skrine. New Zealand.




Really interesting historical account of how you got involved and progressed in Folk.

Looking forward to Part 2 when the photos might start looking like you.

Lee Smith



Hi Joe

I really enjoyed the Rambling this month and reading about your life and experiences. I doubt you would want to do another 50 years as a professional performer but I sincerely hope you will be around for many more years to come.  Lots to look back on with many happy memories and you have never lost your focus on ‘world peace’. Music can help to make the world a better place and perhaps someday all people will realise the need for tolerance and understanding.

Congratulations on your special anniversary.

Pete Brooker



Terrific Joe.

Congratulations and well done; looking forward to the next installment.


Chris Manners



Hello Joe,

Great to read episode one of your life story. I recently did a live session on a local radio station and wrote a few words ( 2 sides of A4 actually ) on my life in Folk Music and this has now led me on to put pen to paper and record all the other things that have gone on sine the 8th October 1942.  Thought it good to do it now before I forget who I am and indeed I'm looking forward to your second episode which no doubt will remind me who lots of other people are, or in some cases, were..

Thanks Joe

Zeke Deighton




It is a part of my life. I guess musicians do not always know how much they can effect others. A local musician died recently and I wrote to his wife saying that her husband didn't know me as a friend or anything, but he had been a part of my life for many years through the music he played, and how sad I felt at his passing. I guess some of us punters do not say thank you enough to musicians...There must be loads of people out there whose life you have enriched, but you will never know..

William Kee



Hello Joe,

It is good to get your newsletter.

Re. The folks and clubs you remember from your early days.

A London club I remember from the 1950s, was The Nucleus, which, if memory serves me right, was somewhere around Holborn. It was not an organized club, folks just gathered there and sang and played, on a sort of every man/woman for themselves basis. There was the inevitable Skiffle group of course, all wearing their army surplus outfits, and I had my Burl Ives songs from his 1953 Coronation Album. It wasn't until many years later that I learned that Redd Sullivan and Martin Windsor were attendees. Martin was a very fine singer.

Hope to catch up with you along the way.

David Jones



Hello Joe

I always enjoy your ramblings but particularly the last one. Your reminiscence of the mid to late sixties reminded me of that magical time. I was, throughout the sixties working for H.M’s Grey Funnel Line but whenever ashore with a weekend off I would make my way up to the Big Smoke to see my then girlfriend, now wife. We frequented the upstairs room of the “Scots Hoose” Cambridge Circus where the resident band were “The Tinkers” and when they kicked us out around eleven we would make our way to “Les Cousins” in Greek Street for the all night session, seeing many of the performers you mentioned and several that you didn’t. I well remember a diminutive American guy who wore a beret, called Paul –something biblical. He was apparently courting an English girl at the time and happy to do the odd floor spot as well as a gig or two. Good singer, songwriter. I wonder what happened to him ! We always assumed that The name of the club Les Cousins was French ---the cousins--- and one day on the tube I was talking to a guy with a guitar and mentioned that we were on our way to Les Cousins—the cousins. “Les Cousins” he said laughing , “ It’s not Les Cousins it’s Les Cousins, the guy who runs it is Leslie Cousins. Many years later I was talking to Noel Murphy who was often the compere at Les Cousins and related the story. “you were right” he told me “ It was called Les Cousins after the French language school above it of the same name. The property was owned by a Greek called Mathias who had a son who was a friend of Cat Stevens---ring any bells? We also frequented The Roundhouse and The Student Prince—the later kept moving venues.

Looking forward to part 2.

Best wishes

Rob McGhee, Guernsey




It was great to see you on Saturday but I didn’t want to hold you up as I could see you had a few people to speak too. And I was with Julian en familie so we had our hands full.

I thought you were superb but was SO, SO disappointed at your venue. Why oh why couldn’t Kimbers Men have been sited by the old Dockyard where all the tall ships were moored?  There was oodles of space there & you would have drawn such a crowd & kept them spellbound.  The place was buzzing by the river.  Shame on Royal Greenwich for siting you down a side road, out of the way, off Powis Street! It was lucky we found you!  Nevertheless it was good to see you – I’ve looked at your programme & it doesn’t seem you’ll be any place near sarf east London for while again yet.

I loved your recent blog – such a lot of local history which I could relate to regarding venues & locations when you were starting out. For instance I never knew you lived in Buxton Road, Erith! And I loved the receipt addressed to 74 Granby! Go past the old house often!

Anyway, keep singing & keeping in touch – S xxx

Susan Head.




The news of Jimmy MacGregor's death is greatly exaggerated! He's 84 and performed at Celtic Connections this year!

Paul Adams




Hi Joe,

I really enjoyed this issue Joe and I learned a few things. Congratulations on the anniversary.

One minor error that jumped out at me. Jimmy MacGregor isn’t dead. I wouldn’t want him to do a Swarb and starting a market in signed obituaries. He is still performing occasionally, and still capable of attracting an audience and entertaining them.

Cheers Pete Heywood


PS. Note: Fiona Heywood is now the Editor of The Living Tradition and can be contacted using I am still involved with Living Tradition but my role is more with specific projects. I will continue to respond to my account and will forward messages that are better directed to Fiona. The best 'personal' email for me is this one -


Pete Heywood
16 Annandale Gardens



The Living Tradition
PO Box 1026

01563 571220 (+44 1563 571220)





That is brilliant, thank you so much for including me on your mailing list, I feel quite privileged.

I will be passing this onto my sister in Kendal, as I know her husband used to enjoy your gigs.

William Ayres



Hi Joe

Do you remember a couple of gigs you did for us down at the Anchor pub in West Ealing for the 18 plus group based there?  You were brilliant back then and we all enjoyed the evenings.   Just came across your name so I thought I would say thanks, albeit 46 years later.  I think we said thanks back then, at least I hope so.

Keep going

Peter Brandl






We are lead to believe that people from Essex are not too bright.  It's a rumour I never did fully believe.  But if they are then perhaps the problem is infectious.  It seems to have spread west (it could hardly spread east) to Hertfordshire.


My daughter and I went to the McDonald's checkout to pay our bill and I gave the clerk a 5 note.
Our total bill was 4.20, so I also handed her a 20 pence piece.
She said, 'You gave me too much money.'
I said, 'Yes I know, but this way you can just give me 1 back.'
She sighed and went to get the Manager who asked me to repeat my request.
I did so, and he handed me back the 20 pence and said 'We're sorry but we do not do that kind of thing.'
The clerk then proceeded to give me back 80 pence in change.
Do not confuse the clerks at MacDonald's in St Albans , Hertfordshire.!!


We had to have the garage door repaired. The GARADOR repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a 'large' enough motor on the opener.
I thought for a moment, and said that we had the largest one GARADOR made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower.
He shook his head and said, 'Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.'
I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4 and he said, 'NOOO, it's not. Four is larger than two.'
We haven't used Garador repair since.
Happened in Moor Park, near Watford .


I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbour call the Highways Department to request the removal of the 'DEER CROSSING' sign from our road.
The reason: 'Too many deer are being hit by cars on this stretch of road!
I don't think this is a good place for them to be crossing, any-more.'
Story from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.


My daughter went to a local Kentucky Fried Chicken and ordered a Taco. She asked the person behind the counter for 'minimal lettuce.' He said he was sorry, but they only had Iceberg Lettuce.
From South Oxhey , Hertfordshire.


I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked,
'Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?'
To which I replied, 'If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?'
He smiled knowingly and nodded, 'That's why we ask.'
Happened at Luton Airport


The traffic light on the corner buzzes when the lights turn red and it is safe to cross the road. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged friend of mine.
She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red.
Appalled, she responded, 'What on earth are blind people doing driving?!'
She is a Local County Council employee in St Albans , Hertfordshire. (And no she's NOT blonde)


When my husband and I arrived at our local Ford dealer to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it.  We went to the Service Department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the Driver's door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the passenger door-handle and discovered that it was unlocked. 'Hey,' I announced to the Fitter/Mechanic, 'it's open!'
His reply: 'I know. I already did that side.'
This was at the Ford dealership in St Albans , Hertfordshire.




Keep smiling, keep singing.