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the ISSUE NO: 276



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the e-cigarette shop Full range of warrantied ELECTRIC CIGARETTES from starter kits & variable voltage devices through to mechanical mods & accessories. British made e-liquids in a wide range of flavours & strengths. We are a family run business who are always happy to help.

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Not sure what she was thinking - perhaps that I didn’t exist, possibly - but my wife came home from her early Saturday morning boxercise class (she’s well into it these days) and put fecking Heart FM on so that it was coming out of our tele, which led to a brief and immediate exchange of words, I can tell you. Before order was rightly restored to Radio 2.

I think it’s fair to say we actually had one, in the end, and most delightful it was too. But it’s what’s coming our way between now and the end of March 2020 that concerns me.


The Edge Editor’s Column WALLPAPER I’ve written about the game of marbles on page 12 this month, and something else that recently occurred to me, as I was looking back over the years with me rose-tinted specs on, focussing on Ye Olde Edgy’s Schooldays, was wallpapering text books. Do any of you remember doing that? The teacher’s used to encourage us to ‘protect our textbooks’ (rather than the environment back then), but you were a bit buggered if your parents weren’t hoarders and used to chuck out all of their old wallpaper offcuts. So that’s where brown parcel paper came in. Only brown paper wasn’t, you know, cool back then; not like it is today. It certainly wasn’t retro by any means. It was simply a case of, “Didn’t you have any wallpaper then?” Worse still was tin foil, which was really scraping the barrel, and nor was it particularly durable (kids soon see whether stuff is durable, or not). Strange what you remember, isn’t it?

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Self-confessed fogey Ann Kirkby (see her column on page 19) was right when she reported that the Repair Shop TV programme is absolutely amazing in last month’s editions, because it is. What’s more, it’s a seemingly totally FREE service too.

K.R.T.E. Kids reading The Edge has gone absolutely bananas this month, so a huge thank you to all of you lovely yummy mummies out there for sending your ickle offsprings photo’s in. Please, please keep them coming. I am absolutely loving it!

BREXIT It’s not even worth mentioning, so I’m not going to bother. However, what I will say is this: it was entirely wrong to even have a referendum in the first place, because it was far too complex a question for far too many people to even be able to comprehend, whilst some of the things people voted for were not the bigger picture.

DIRTY DOZEN The Edge has now got twelve regular monthly contributors (I didn’t even have a single one in issue numero uno). Speaking of which, the very first issue was way back in October 1996, so this one is its 23rd burpday.

MEETING THY MAKER After 23 years, The Edge finally has its very first Funeral Directors advertising (see page 16) and jolly decent peeps they are too. “Well, you would say that, Edge bloke, wouldn’t you?” Erm, in all honesty, I wouldn’t be mentioning it here at all if I didn’t think they were. Fact is though, I’ve had a bit of a bee in my bonnet for a long time about what’s the cheapest possible price available for a funeral, without a service, for those of us who simply aren’t interested in that sort of thing. Thankfully, they have been able to most forthrightly answer all of my questions and queries.

AMAZING! Dear Shaun, I have just visited good old Blighty and picked up the latest copy of The Edge and seen that after all these years, you’re still ‘at it’. Amazing! Just wondered if you would like an update on living abroad in an ex-communist backwater (Southern Bulgaria/Northern Greece) which is where I’ve moved to, as I’d be delighted to pen an article for you. We have converted an old Police Station into our home. Much love and best wishes, Karyn Ambridge. P.S. I also have some old photographs of you that would make your hair curl, if you had any! Talk about a blast from the past, readers. THE EDGE Chelmsford CM2 6XD 077 646 7 97 44 shaun@theedgemag.co.uk

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Chelmsford For You? Painted on the boarding surrounding the area where our next two restaurants are due to open (do we honestly need any more places to eat that are so very ‘samey’?), where the old Argos building stands near Tesco, at the bottom of Springfield Road. Initially, The Edge thought it liked the slogan ‘Chelmsford For You’. Only now that it’s slept on it, it rather doesn’t think it does. Because it’s a little patronising, don’t you think? Is it really speaking to us all, yet at the same time to each and every one of us, as individuals? Or is it simply trying to pull the wool over our eyes by explaining, nay stating, that Chelmsford has something for each and every one of us, personally? Unfortunately, you need to inject some true character into Chelmsford before you start coming up with slogans of this particular ilk, because honestly, what is our true identity? We’re not like, say, Colchester, the oldest town in Essex, particularly when it was in its pomp, with its quaint, winding streets that offer a certain charm. However, this is far more of an observation than a criticism, because for Christ’s sake, your editor has lived here for the past 35 years, so I’d like to think I’m at least allowed an opinion. Take the Saracen’s Head in our High Street. That should have been Chelmsford’s jewel in the crown. A fine, distinguished old coaching inn, which should always have been a proud, classy focal point, with sawdust on its flagstones, rather than the dump of a pub it turned into. And now it’s going to be converted into flats. (Cue emoji of head held in hands.)


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Clean, well lit, our railway bridge is these days a true thing of beauty. And can you also see my motor, with its hazard lights on, in the bus lay-by, just beyond the Railway Tavern? Yep, there’s no other bugger about, is there? That’s because it was 05:20am of a Thursday morning in early September. Oh, I do get up early (every now and again) to get The Edge mags out’n’about, y’know!



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With the night’s drawing in, it appears we have seen the last of the sun, so we thought we should share this delicious cassoulet inspired recipe with you from our recent trip to Carcassonne in the South of France. We think this dish is perfect to rustle up on a weekend and then get cosied up on the sofa with a large glass of vino, or two. Obviously, as you may know, we don’t eat meat (although I, Billy, do occasionally). But this dish definitely seems to suit a nice quality free range chicken leg. The main bean is completely meat free, but still packs a flavoursome punch.

theedgemag.co.uk/subscribe receivetheedgedirectto yourtabletorcough mixtureorlaptopor whereverthehellyou wanttoreceiveit withoutleaving yourhomeoryour officeoryour deckchair. it’sverysimple. allyouneedtodo isSUBSCRIBE

Instructions:  To start, dice up one large white onion and around 10 medium sized tomatoes  Fry in a large, heavy based saucepan in butter for a few minutes, plus a generous pinch of salt and pepper  Add 6 cloves of chopped garlic, thyme and a glug of white wine  Add about 600ml of fresh vegetable stock and reduce by a third. Add a large jar or tin of butter beans and one of flageolet beans. Let this simmer for 30 minutes. We added some truffle paste too (when in France, right!), but you don’t have to!  Slice one large bulb of fennel, keep the tops to one side, coat in some oil, season in salt and pepper, thyme, and add a little honey. Roast this until soft and starting to caramelise on the edges, whilst the cassoulet blips away on the hob  To serve; ladle into a deep bowl, top with the fennel (and chicken, if you like) then the chopped fennel tops. Delicious. Instructions for the chicken leg: We were lucky enough to come across some

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amazing butchers whilst in France, so managed to get some really good quality chicken. We kept the cooking nice and simple and separate from the main bean dish, so that it can be eaten by all. Simply rub a light coating of oil into the chicken legs with a good amount of salt and pepper rubbed into the skin. We also used some fresh rosemary and pushed it into the chicken leg. Roast in the oven at around 180 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the juices are running clear.

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Hi again Shaun, Further to my picture in last months Edge, of Boris the Bee, here are 3 of my other bees. I have studied bumblebees for many years and collect dead ones as specimens. I should note that these are those I find dead, or dying, as I am completely against anyone killing wild bees. A lot are road victims. I watch the prosperity of various bumblebee species; those which are doing well and those which aren't. For example, it's been a very good year for the Buff Tailed Bumblebee, but there are very few White Tailed Bumblebees. This is a stupid name as several of our more common species have white bottoms. I like the Latin names better, such as Bombus Terrestris and Bombus Lucorum. I always usually carry 3 of my specimens with me, usually queens, and that way I can show people how to recognise the different species. In the picture (above) from left to right, we have a Buff Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus Terrestris), a Red Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus Lapidarius) and a Tree Bumblebee (Bombus Hypnorum). In future, if you will allow it, I would like to forward you a few items on individual bees of mine, such as their species, how they died, where I found them, and the modern challenges bumblebees face. On the BBC series ‘Freak Like Me’ some years ago, they had people with various unusual hobbies and fetishes, and that included a man who collected dead bumblebees. For some reason, all of his were tree bumblebees and like some of mine, several of his had names too. His biggest he called Mammoth, and his smallest he named Tozie. Regards, Sue, The Bee Lady.


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themed sweets to partake in the tradition of Trick or Treat. I know that many people take issue with this and consider it to be a glorified form of begging, and contrary to what Charley the Cat spent most of the 80s telling us, it would appear that it is actually sometimes OK to take sweets from strangers. Then there are others who fully embrace the celebrations and adorn their front steps with glowing pumpkins they have spent hours painstakingly carving in a desperate attempt to compete with the neighbour’s full complement of the Addams Family pumpkin display from last year (or at the very least to see if they can get more ‘likes’ on Facebook) as well as the obligatory giant spiders, gravestones, skeletons and/or flashing ghosts as they see fit. Children enjoy dressing up and going out with their parents to see everyone’s decorations, join in the fun, and essentially threaten to curse people if they don’t produce a decent enough quantity of Haribo or Heroes on demand.

When I was a kid, Halloween was a far lesser known celebration. If you wanted to dress up as a witch, you had to fashion your own frock, hat and wig using a black bin bag, some tin foil and, if you were very lucky, mismatched off-cuts of wool from your Nan’s knitting bag. Whereas nowadays, Halloween is the ultimate Americanisation of our autumn. From the moment summer evenings give way to darker, chillier nights, you cannot set foot in a supermarket without coming face to face with a screeching skeleton, or falling over a stuffed pumpkin singing a rendition of the Monster Mash. The sheer choice of ‘off-the-peg’ costumes is now monumental, from witches and wizards to scary fairies, and consumers are glaringly encouraged to decorate their homes and bulk buy tailor made tubs of

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Personally, after my childhood of bin bags and tin foil, I am most definitely in the latter camp. Halloween is a huge deal for us. We spend the week before watching Halloween films, making enough arts and crafts to bury the house, while always unsuccessfully trying to learn the ‘Thriller’ dance. We then cover our home in ghoulish decorations, followed by a Halloween themed tea, complete with green spooky jelly and ‘worms’, sandwiches that look like witches fingers, pizzas resembling mummies, and other such delicious, devilish delights designed to whip the kids up into a fiendish frenzy, before everyone has a full scale warlock war over whose turn it is to answer the door to the Trick’n’Treaters and distribute the goodies before we can be ‘tricked’. When we can tear the kids away from this carnage and/or we run out of stock, we take them out to houses decorated in the neighbouring roads for their own round of Trick or Treating.

They are fully aware of the etiquette; if there is a pumpkin or some form of Halloween decoration on display, they can knock. All other houses are strictly off limits, because the last thing we want to do is give an unsuspecting elderly person the fright of their life halfway through their favourite soap opera, when they open their door to what essentially looks like a miniature coven led by Satan. Fortunately, we live in an area where some people make a real effort with their Halloween theming; a house at the end of our road even has a projector running that looks like a witch dancing around a cauldron in their window. The kids love it, I love it, my husband (begrudgingly) loves it, and it has become one of our favourite family traditions. Afterwards, it’s home to inspect their haul, remove any unsealed sweets or anything bright blue (you only ever make that mistake once) before a Halloween themed story and bed. In all the merriment, if you inadvertently forget to bring in your pumpkins and turn off your lights, you may be treated to a visit from the slightly older generation of kids; those who are blatantly too old to partake and therefore need to wait until most people have gone indoors in order to preserve their street cred, for fear of being seen by anyone they actually know, before they emerge, but who think they can genuinely pair a dodgy rubber Halloween mask with their best tracksuit and intimidate you into giving them a fiver. Usually the residual bounty from the Celebrations tin are enough to see them off, but whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of giving out any money, because word will spread like wildfire and you will find yourself attracting every teenager within a 5 mile radius. So whatever your plans are this Halloween, have fun, stay safe, don’t eat bright blue sweets, don’t frighten old people, don’t give money to teenagers, watch out for low flying broomsticks and remember, there is still nothing quite as rewarding as a homemade costume from a bin bag. *Mel & Cath are now writing alternate monthly columns

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kindly given me his time and patience to teach me some of the new skills required in a busy kitchen in order to give me experience that might well help me later down the line in gaining work. If you haven't been to Jamaica Blue, then what are you waiting for? If you love your coffee, then definitely have a double espresso macchiato with a full English, or the mountain burger that contains no meat, but 100% doesn't disappoint. And if you have a sweet tooth and like your cake, then look no further than their banana loaf, freshly made on the premises. Simply delicious.

STRANGER THINGS What a show!!!!

DEAR MR FANTASY Dear Mister Fantasy, play us a tune. Something to make us all happy, Do anything, take us out of this gloom. Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy, You are the one who can make us all laugh. But doing that, you break out in tears, Please don't be sad if it was a straight mind you had, We wouldn't have known you all these years. Not my words, but the lyrics of Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood from their days in Traffic, and for any Marvel-Avengers-film fans also the song used at the beginning of ENDGAME where Tony Stark is left stranded in space, hoping for one last miracle. It's probably the song I've played the most since May (currently got it on loop whilst writing this month's column). Why’s that, you may ask? First of all, it’s a great song, but mainly because music is a powerful format to resonate with just how you are feeling at a particular period in your life and because I have found myself unemployed for the first time since I was 19 years old and am finding it hard to get suitable employment, I can easily sympathise with Tony Stark (aka Iron-Man) of feeling lost and stranded, hoping for a miracle of getting back to where I want to be. Or maybe I'm Mr Fantasy himself, always playing a tune to make everyone else happy, doing anything to take people out of their gloom? And while I'm always making people laugh, am I really wanting just to break down in tears, as the song goes?

A BIG THANK YOU To Paddy and the Jamaica Blue team in Bond Street, Chelmsford. Whilst I've found myself without work and going stir crazy at times, he has


I know it's been out for a while now, but me and Mrs Polak have just had a chance to start watching it on a box set we were kindly given. I knew I loved the 80's, but watching it from where it kicks off in 1983, when I would have been 7 years old with a BMX bike, using walkietalkies to chat to my mates and reading comics without a care in the world, apart from whether I was going to complete my Panini Sticker Album, just brought it all back to me how much I REALLY loved the 80's. Everything from the soundtracks, the clothes (mainly the trainers) and to all of the movie influences used in it which are so spot-on. We are now on season two and it's already better than the first season, which was good in itself. Talking of TV shows, one I'm looking forward to is the Jack Reacher series that comes out next year. Lee Child, the author of the books, is currently looking for the perfect unknown actor to play the main man, rather than a established star, so that we can believe in the character, rather than thinking of the superstar that is playing him. And for me and Old Edgy (I know he loves watching it too), another highlight for 2020 on the box is going to be the return of Friday Night Dinner. “Heeeelllooo, Jackie. You look nice!" Pure comedy gold.

NOT LONG ’TIL XMAS Don’t shoot; I’m just saying.

ONE LAST THOUGHT Most of us are going somewhere we know in life, but that doesn't mean we should know what to expect. Be careful. Look out for each other. This is the fight of our lives. And we're going to win. Whatever it takes. Be lucky, The Polak xx

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Or should that read, aren’t marbles brilliant, because The Edge is pretty sure you can still buy ’em (in those little plastic net bags which are incredibly bad for the environment), if you look hard enough. But do kids actually play marbles these days? Doubtful. Incredibly, incredibly doubtful (unless there’s a marble app they can get on their phones, tut). I’ve just had a look at a few pics of ‘the game of marbles in action’ and there seems to be a chalked circle drawn on the playground floor, although The Edge doesn’t remember any such thing. Back in my day, I seem to recall we simply rolled out a really small marble (like the ‘jack’ in bowls) and then it was a case of who could roll their marbles nearest to it and the winner (the one with a single marble nearest the ‘jack’) scooped up all of the other marbles, simple as that. And that could be quite a few of the little perishers, depending upon how many kids were playing and how many marbles we agreed we would each roll. Hence you couldn’t keep your marbles in your pocket. Oh no, no, no, no. Which is where Edge Mum came in and a bit of old curtain material in order to make me a marble pouch with a draw-string. Shiny lime green, I recall mine was. Yesssss, Edge Mum had some strange ideas about colour schemes, because I distinctly recall my bedroom at that time had orange walls with lime green (shiny) curtains. Look at those two bigger ones (above) though. Aren’t they beautiful? You used to be able to get a basic bag of ‘catseye’ marbles for a basic price, but pay a tad more out of your pocket money for a bag of variable sized marbles and they’d be valued at something like 5/1, or even 10/1, on the black market in the school playground. But to top even those were various sized ball bearings. Now I never even knew where ball bearings came from, but Jimmy Smithers certainly did, because he used to roll loads of the shiny silver demons into our playground games, so perhaps his Dad had a job that involved stripping down engines (or sumfink). Either way, I loved ’em and would even polish mine. As a non-parent, this is where I’m guessing things are a bit all to cock these days, because whenever do you see a child turning something as simple and beautiful as a marble over in their hands and looking at it from numerous different angles? Something so timeless, yet of a different era. Of course, when we kids sometimes had a particularly bad day at school (it happened) and we didn’t fair so well out in the playground and we lost all of our encounters, it was called ‘losing your marbles’.




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The Stores Coffee, brunch & lunch

Difficult to disagree with, granted. But cats are feral creatures and owners seemingly offer them the autonomy to come and go as they please, right? In short, cats live the ‘Life of Riley’. But consider this. If ever we see a dog owner ignoring his hound’s mess, without bagging it (much as we all loathe plastic), we look down on them, don’t we? And quite rightly so. So how come cat owners are seemingly absolved such responsibility? “Well, it’s because they’re feral...” Yeah, yeah, yeah. The Edge has just stated that. So let’s ask the question again, shall we? How come cat owners are totally absolved from the sticky, smelly mess that their feline friend’s dirtbox dishes out with impunity? Because The Edge will be frank with you, as a non-cat owner/lover, it hates, loathes and detests cat mess in ‘Edge Towers’ derriere jardin....or out front of house, come to that. Cat owners know full well that their fluffy liddle kittens go out and poop anywhere they damn well please. But does it bother them? Does it buggery. Indeed, they don’t give it a second thought and are apparently gayly oblivious to such an increment and are seemingly of the opinion that it must miraculously disappear into the Earth’s very atmosphere. Whereas if they were somewhat more conscientious, they would both understand and accept the reality of the situation and damn well do something about it. “Like what?” they all plea, holding up their hands as one in a mass admission of pure, unadulterated, shit-stained guilt. Like CAT DIAPERS, for heaven’s sake. Yes, they are available on tut t’internet, like everything else these days, if only you owners would care to look hard enough. Because, quite frankly, the alternative is simply not on. You know by now that we at ‘Edge Towers’ are wild hedgehog lovers and every night we leave out a bowl of water and some crunchy hedge food plus some cat food (hedgehogs do like cat food). But what me and Mrs Edge DO NOT APPRECIATE is an empty cat food bowl, come the following morning, with a steaming great cat turd beside it (as though by means of showing its appreciation of a FREE meal). So get your cat A.N.U. (all nappied up), all of you cat owners out there, and stop pretending the problem doesn’t exist.

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Tuesday- Friday 8.30am-5pm Saturday 9am-5pm Main Road, Great Waltham, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 1DE Tel ǻ 01245 362649 Email- thestorescafe@icloud.com

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Or at least that’s how it seems. Child #4 she appears to be almost exploding with at the moment. Talk about banging ’em out. Of her current preggers state, she says, “I’ll be happily watching Homes Under The Hammer at 12.30pm and then by 1.00pm I’ll be throwing up.” I think she’ll find that’s the effect H.U.T.H. has on an awful lot of us, whether we’re pregnant or we’re not. And it’s not as if she seems to have easy pregnancies either. “It (it?) took 11 hours to dilate 1cm,” she says about birth #1, “by which time I had been given pethadine, which had no effect on me whatsoever. I just continued throwing up, so they had to put me on a rehydration drip.” A week after her first birth, Becky says, “I sat down quite suddenly one day, to watch Homes Under The Hammer, most probably, and my stitches burst, with infection setting in quite quickly.” Yet none of this has seemingly put her off ‘popping a sprog’ on an annual basis. She’s also had a forceps delivery and suffered post natal depression, but stoically says, “You just have to crack on with things, don’t you?”

No disrespect to Naomi Harris, the current incumbent, but she’s getting on a bit these days, isn’t she? In fact, she’s 43 this very month and surely it’s time for an upgrade? Therefore, this mag would respectfully like to put forward Fiona Wade (who currently plays the part of of Priya Sharma in Emmerdale) for the role, as she has only just turned 40 and would be the perfect metamorphosis for Ms Harris. As you can see, all of you non-Emmerdale fans out there, Fiona looks like a class act and is attractive enough to be either a Bond girl or a weathergirl. However, now that Naomi Harris has upped the stakes somewhat, it seems appropriate she should be retired, along with Daniel Craig after the next 007 movie, to make way for Fiona and whoever takes over the Bond mantle (personally speaking, The Edge thinks the role ought to go to Danny Dyer, just for the crack). Some of Fiona/Priya’s outfits in Emmerdale have been known to cause moral outrage amongst some viewers, particularly lasses of a chubbier persuasion. Says one, “Sometimes it’s really ’ard to tell whether Priya is wearing just a top, or a dress.”

KiDS reading the


before bedtime


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Paul suffered the loss of both of his parents within a short space of time just a couple of years apart. On both occasions he used his local funeral directors, yet was left with the feeling that the experience he received was more about adding to the cost of the funeral, rather than care of the bereaved. The funeral home was austere, old fashioned, with incredibly dark furnishings. In fact, it was quite Victorian in appearance. By also being situated on a busy high street, with no allocated car parking facilities, and having to enter and leave whilst visibly distressed in full view of both shoppers and passers-by, this only added to the family’s grief. Although both funerals were conducted adequately, there was no offer of any after care and the later discovery that his Mum’s ashes had been kept in an under stairs cupboard led Paul to decide that surely there had to be a better option available. Cheryl’s Mum was only 64 when she died after suffering for years from an aggressive form of dementia called Pick’s. She also had a similar experience to Paul, with her local town funeral directors clearly wanting to ‘up sell’ her extra unwanted services. After the funeral, Cheryl realised, upon receiving the final invoice, that she had been charged for services which had not been asked for, which only added to the family’s disappointment, yet she was far too bereaved to even question or quibble over the final amount. Secure Haven initially started as an ash's storage facility, where people place their loved one's ashes in beautiful, purpose-built oak wooden niches (each with its own key) for just ÂŁ1 per day, until such time as the bereaved felt

ready to decide what the next step should be. After holding a life celebration for Cheryl’s Mum at the couple’s former Margaretting Barn location, family and friends suggested it was the perfect venue to hold services, which led to Cheryl and Paul expanding their professional funeral staff and holding funeral ceremonies.

requirements of any family concerned, with price transparency being a particular priority. Various funeral packages are available for burial or cremation, but Secure Haven only offer additional services when requested.

In 2017, it was decided that although Margaretting was a beautiful location, it was a little tucked away, so after looking at several commercial properties, an empty site on the Broomfield Hospital Approach was chosen for many factors. These included onsite parking, excellent bus services, non-high street location, near to Broomfield Hospital, hospices and care homes, making it far easier to bring family’s loved ones into the funeral home care that much sooner and far more conveniently. This bright, spacious, modern funeral home is wheelchair accessible and Dementia friendly, with soft lighting and homely furnishings. The layout has been specifically planned to suit the needs of the bereaved and their loved ones, whilst creating the best possible workspace for a modern funeral home. On display there is also an exclusive range of memorial products including urns, jewellery and keepsakes to hold either a token or full set of ashes. Cheryl has been developing and manufacturing products for ashes since 2013. Both Cheryl and Paul are Grief Recovery Method Specialists and offer this service to families at their particular time of need. Secure Haven always work within the budget and

Please drop by and speak with Cheryl & Paul and the team about your funeral plans and wishes in a relaxed atmosphere where the kettle is always on!

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When The Edge was a bairn, it was oop north and down tut pit by 8 years old, we plenty o’soot on t’face. So what on earth is going on these days with all of you Soppy Southern Softy kiddiwinkles? PAMPERING DAYS for the under-12’s? Ger oot of it! If I was ever invited round to a friend’s house after school and his mum laid on a few sandwiches, do you know what’d be in ’em? Probably sugar (yes, sugar), treacle, jam, or, if we were really, really lucky, crisp sandwiches. That was after us taking our shoes off on t’front door step, o’course. Then we’d play a game of some description, or maybe watch some kid’s tele for a bit, afore me mum’d picked me up on her way home from working part-time at tut doctor’s surgery. The extent of kiddy’s pampering when your editor was a wee lad growing up in tut mid-sixties was me mam popping a pimple on me face wee

her reet long fingernails, and it were sometimes proper painful, were that. We were fairly posh though, because I remember we had not one, but two telephones in our ’ouse by t’time I were six or seven, and we had what were called a utility room attached to our garage that you had to go through afore you entered tut back door of our ’ouse. I seem to recall I once got home from school and I was locked out, apart from tut utility room. But I was absolutely busting for a pee an’ a poo, so I had to put some old newspaper into a bucket and hey, I got by as best I could. Well, you simply ’ad to in them days. You just ’ad to make best o’things, whether you ended up wee newspaper print all over thee backside or thee didn’t. But pampered Essex socialite kids simply wouldn’t stand for ought like that these days. Locked out? S’truth, they’d be ringing up tut fire brigade on their mobile phones to come break t’bloody front door down.

And how old is it kids have to be these days afore their parents think it’s safe enough to leave ’em at home on their own? Mine were leaving me when I was but 9 or 10. Irresponsible? I’d have felt the back of their ’and for merely thinking such a thing. Kids seem to have things called playrooms these days. Jesus, it was called a bedroom in my day. Or the village reck. And Old Edgy is telling this to you straight, kids, because if you’re lucky, one day you’ll get to be a reet grumpy old git, same as what I am, only reet nar you won’t think that’s possible, nor do you think your outlook on life will ever change very much. But it will. Oh, by god, it will. Because it certainly wants to. You know, life isn’t all about me, me, me, me and what you’ve got and what you need and what you want. Haven’t you ever heard of the term having to make do, y’little perishers?

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The Edge has started to become a Daniel Fuker (pronounced as you’d expect - F cker) fan, after * initially dissing him when it first heard his voice.

But getting Norfolk County F.C. back into the Premiership with a 94 points haul and only six league defeats out of 46 fixtures was clearly no mean feat. Plus they’ve got reet nice kits. However, a big no-no is the hairstyle of his diminutive midfielder Todd Cantwell who looks a proper cant with his Miami Vice loques, the tart. Smashing how Woody Harrelson (Pukey) has been banging ’em in up top.

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It was pretty much a given that Man. Shitty and the Bindippers would be the only 2 teams fighting it out for the crown, and that started pretty much on the opening day of the season. Shame ManUre are somewhat inconsistent as it would have been nice to see them challenge, now that they’ve reverted to youth, which has always been the bedrock of the club. Because you can’t rely on Spurs or Arsenal, can you, who both lost their third fixture of the campaign? Champions elect? Pull the other one.

And what of Michael Corleone’s chances of leading the Toffees to a higher finishing position than last season’s eighth? Perhaps Godfather Marco Silva needs to make Jurgen the German an ‘offer he can’t refuse’ for Mo Salah in the January transfer window. So far as the reigning champions go, Kevin de Bruyne, what a magnificent player. Sergio Aguero ought to dye his hair ginger next, as a mark of respect to the Belgian ace. Gutted I never opted for Javi Gracia to be the first Premiership manager to get the old tic-tac in The Edge’s Footie Prediction Stakes, particularly as I chose Watford to end up rock bottom come Sunday 17th May 2020 (or maybe even earlier). How can you have any respect for a club that sacks its managers with such an abandonment of decency? Get back into the bloody Championship, where you belong. Accept this’ll sound as though I’m jumping on the bandwagon, but I’ve watched the progress of both Burnley’s Ashley Barnes and Bournemouth’s Ryan Ryan Fraser with interest over the past few seasons and I’m absolutely convinced they could both take the next step. I’m not talking City or Scousers, but definitely a team that’s worthy of challenging for Europe. And now for VAR and didn’t Edge columnist William Hinckleberry make an excellent suggestion for the improvement of its use in last month’s mag? What? You missed it? Shame on you. Because surely VAR wasn’t designed to validate tackles and decisions that no-one was ever questioning. Rather, it’s there to offer us a definitive answer to that which we are, such as the ball crossing the line, is a penalty really a penalty, was that player offside. But what we don’t want to see is an attacker being penalised for having a particular bulge in his shorts, or the width of his shinpad tucked down the front of his socks. I mean, come on. Some of these daft decisions need to be nipped in the bud immediately. Speaking of bud, roses, loose connection, but what about Leicester City’s pink away kits? The Edge actually thinks they look rather fetching and is totally chuffed with the way they’re now playing under Brendan ‘I’d eat myself if I was chocolate’ Rodgers. It was wonderful the way Jamie Vardy turned down a potential move to Arsenal and the on-pitch relationship he seems to be developing with James Maddison is truly a thing of beauty. I thought former Norwich City and Blackburn Rovers striker Chris Sutton was my least favourite pundit of all time, but ex-Evertonian and Aussie Rules footballer Tim Cahill has now unfortunately taken over that distinctive mantle with his performances on MOTD. It’s not what he says, but the dour and dreary way he delivers it. Appreciate Australians are famous for being laid-back the world over, but come on, bloke. Wakey feckin’ wakey! Whereas Danny Murphy I could listen to, on TV or on TalkSport, until the cows come home. Finally, let’s hear it for Sheffield United, shall we? Twenty-four of us entered The Edge’s Footie Prediction Stakes competition this season and only Edge columnists ‘Jan the Man’ and Deaks haven’t got them to be relegated. Of course it’s still early days, but the way they’re playing under Chris Wilder, I cannot honestly see them going down. In fact, maybe none of the promoted clubs will end up going back down, which would be a marvellous triumph. Oh and Michael Owen’s ‘Reboot: My Life’. Yes please, if anyone out there fancies buying me an early Christmas present. The Edge 077 646 797 44

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STICKY SITUATION Is it just me, or do we all believe that anyone who drops used chewing gum should be put into the village stocks (what do you mean we don’t have them any more? Bring the buggers back!) and be subsequently pelted with animal droppings? Don’t get me wrong, I often use chewing gum myself, but I would never dream of dropping it anywhere it could be picked up on a shoe sole and get trodden into a carpet (yep, due to personal experience). It costs both you and me over £68,000 a year for our council to remove the sticky stuff, which could most certainly be better spent elsewhere. So perhaps if you’re not responsible enough to dispose of your chewing gum properly, you’re clearly not mature enough to be permitted to buy it in the first place.

I LOVE COUPONS! I really, really do. And if you’ve read my earlier ramblings, you’ll have already reached the conclusion that I’m a right old tight wad. But I simply get a little kick out of any possible reduction on an item I want to buy, or perhaps ‘money off’ a bill for a meal out. My favourite recent voucher has been for ‘FREE CAKE with any hot drink’ at their store café in the occasional mini-brochure which very kindly dropped through my letterbox from John Lewis (thank you

kindly), but I think they’ve now clocked that I spend very little in the store itself, so their ‘little treats’ have sadly dried up. But hey ho, my regular supermarche churns out reams of vouchers, as does my favourite chemist/chain store. So all I need is to check the voucher expiry dates on a daily basis every time I shop. But I’m kidding, of course. I check them every other day. But what I think is really impressive is the way they track my regular purchases and match them to their in-store offers. It’s all very Big Brother, but I absolutely love it. I’m also a sucker for store discount cards too. It’s a bit like 52 card pick-up, attempting to extricate the correct one from the pack of slippery cards in my increasingly bulging wallet, but I really can’t be bothered with those little ‘tab’ ones that often come attached to the larger ones. (“Download the bloomin’ apps, woman!” I can hear the more techsavvy amongst you cry!).

TO PEE OR NOT TO PEE A friend and I recently attended an excellent open-air performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at our treasured Hylands Park. As sensible adults, we took the opportunity to use their facilities at the interval; he went first, so that I could keep guard over our belongings (as if anyone else would want our very unsexy coffee flask or




ADVERTISING HEAVEN OR HELL There have been some brilliantly clever TV commercials shown over the years, whilst some of the recent Christmas ads (not this

years yet, heaven forbid) have been particularly imaginative. However, the ads that struggle to keep my attention are for beds/ mattresses, cars, perfume and aftershaves. The bed/mattress ads always show people in their PJ’s, often lying on a bare mattress. It must be difficult for those ad execs, because mattresses simply aren’t sexy. Car ads are a little better, as they at least show us shots of stunning scenery, although they’re often driving far too fast. Slow down! While perfume ads and the like always seem to me the most outlandish, as we can get much of the way through them before ever recognising which brand the ad is trying to sell us.




packet of biccies), but returned with a warning that the queue for the women’s toilets was still very long indeed. And he wasn’t wrong either. By the time I found my chair once again, stumbling over feet and picnic baskets in the dark, the play had resumed. You know, this particular piece was going to begin as a rant against the paucity of women’s toilet amenities as compared to men’s, and you may be of the opinion this is a flippant subject for the public domain, but I believe it’s an important, and in some circumstances absolutely essential, social necessity to have ‘convenient conveniences’. So I broadened my thinking and considered this: In this 21st century, and in our increasingly genderfluid world, should we not just have purely ‘unisex’ facilities? I know this may cause some initial embarrassment all round, but if everyone ‘upped their game’ somewhat and left bathrooms in a ship-shape condition upon leaving, then every single one of us would benefit. And I wouldn’t have to miss the start of the second-half of yet another performance either. So come on, Chelmsford City Council, why not be a trailblazer?











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Back by popular demand! Mainly due to my mother writing in to ‘Edge Towers’, apparently. Yes, some several thousand times, so here I am. I will tell you what makes me laugh, shall I? Our editor having the temerity to call my previous column ‘Fogey’s Corner’ (see July Edge) when he’s 58 himself, for heavens sake. I’ve only got one year on him, so perhaps this is the market he’s moving into? Maybe we will see The Edge rebranded as ‘The Edge of Incontinence’ with dispensers placed outside McCarthy & Stone residences in the near future? Well, there’s never any point in standing still. You simply have to move with your target market, and believe me, those of us who remember the very first editions of The Edge, some 23 long years ago, are all getting on a bit these days. Crikey, who remembers the very early editions of The Edge? It wasn’t for the faint hearted, was it? It was like Viz on steroids! Fair play for moving with the times. Far more Mumsnet now, I’d say! So, in my debut column, I said I wanted to lead you gradually through my life’s adventures and we got as far as leaving Rainsford Grammar School for the Advanced of Learning at the tender, and somewhat virginal, age of 16 years old with just a solitary CSE Grade One in Woodwork to my name. Which would surely be more than enough to see me take the world by storm, or so I thought. One week later, I’m working in Tesco, stacking shelves. The Tesco in High Chelmer, I might add, which used to be where Primark currently is, in the unlikely event that anyone under 25 is reading this Old Codgers column. Naturally, with my CSE Grade One in Woodwork, they had grand plans for me (Senior Shelf Stacker, Department Head, Store Manager and eventually a place on the board, no doubt), but it simply wasn’t my bag and after 12 months I moved on, no doubt much to the obvious disappointment of the multinational company. Fact is, some 40 years on, I do not honestly believe they have ever really recovered from me leaving them.

My family and friends will be screaming at the magazine now, going, “Get to the juicy bit! Get to the juicy bit!” But like everyone else, they’ll just have to wait, as I have 40 more years to cover yet. So, what’s been happening of late? Well, having just moved back into my home in Little Waltham, I’ve got the painters in. Well, one painter, actually. Goes by name of Smurf (I expect some of you will know Smurf). Funnily enough, he’s just finished painting the blue bedroom and each day he seems to transform into a real life Smurf! ‘Handy Smurf’, I suppose would be the one. The house is totally upside down and having been let for the past 4 years, it’s due, and getting, a complete makeover. What else? Well, Boris is our new Prime Minister. I’m sure he divides opinion, particularly with The Edge’s myriad readership, as politics inevitably does everywhere. But personally, I wish him well and I think he might just do a very good job. However, I do wish people wouldn’t simply see politics as Tory and Labour, blue or red, left or right. The whole country needs to get behind Boris to get us past B-Day (31st October) and to make Britain great again (it’s that catchy a slogan, it might catch on). Unfortunately, there are 650 self serving morons in the House of Commons that want to frustrate progress for their own selfish means. (Well, not all 650, but you get my drift.) Global warming seems to be gathering pace too. Beautiful sunshine by day and warm balmy evenings by night. What’s not to like? Yeah, yeah, I know, Mr Polar Bear. I was just teasing. That day in July when it reached 38 degrees I was out Karchering my driveway. Honestly, I was sweating like Fred West watching Ground Force (bum bum). And just to prove that I do indeed care about the plight of the polar bears, I’ve recently started recycling since I moved back into my gaff. I’ve now got cupboards full of empty, washed out tins, plastics and glass beer bottles, because somehow I seem to keep on missing the day that individual waste is collected, so I’m forever putting the wrong box out and having to bring it back in again. In four weeks of being back at home, I honestly don’t think I’ve had a single thing taken away. Me thinks I need to watch my neighbours a tad more closely and follow their lead. Anyhow, that’s your lot, Mum. Thanks for sending those letters off to ‘Edge Towers’ as they seem to have done the trick, as I’ve already been invited back again next month! TTFN DEAKS

So, a bit like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, minus the frilly dress and the sparkling red shoes (oh no, wait a minute...) I followed the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. Well, actually the A12 down into London, the Old Smoke, where of course I was in immediate demand (they like a bit of CSE Grade One in Woodwork up town, you know). So I had an interview, just the one, but fortunately I only wanted one job, so that was fine by me, as I figured I’d knock ‘em bandy right from the off. And so it proved. I started work for a property firm with an unpronounceable name based in Savile Row, Mayfair, where all the tailors are, next to the old Apple Building where The Beatles played an impromptu concert up on the rooftop in 1968, which brought the West End to a standstill. My salary was £1,850pa back in 1977 and I had to pay my train fare out of that colossal amount too. “By gum, we didn’t half have it hard back in my day” (just slipped in a bit old Edge codger talk there). Oh, I almost forgot, and I was given 15p per day luncheon vouchers, just to make sure I didn’t starve. Okay, that’s enough about me for now. More next column as I’ve only moved forward 12 months in this article and I’m looking at the big picture (i.e. me being in The Edge pretty much forever). But what I will say is that this story doesn’t have a ‘happy ending’, by the way - snarf snarf - another reference to Viz right there (Finbarr Saunders and his Double Entendres).

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EVERYMAN The other week I took my eldest to see The Lion King at the Everyman cinema in Chelmsford. First of all, I have to say that the film is fantastic. It's a remake of the original that, having a younger sister, I must have seen a thousand times, but the CGI used is literally incredible. If the film had been released 10 years ago, I am almost certain many people would have mistaken it for a David Attenborough documentary. Until the characters speak, of course, and that's where it lets itself down, I believe. I am not sure who was responsible for casting the actors for the voices, but in my humble opinion, they’ve got it hopelessly wrong. The emotion was completely stripped out of the film as a result of the voice of Simba’s patronising father. Instead of being a caring and compassionate dad, for me, he turned into an absolute self-righteous bore, totally intent on lecturing poor Simba. All I can say is that if that is what Scar had to put up with his whole life, then no wonder he pushed him off that cliff. As for the cinema itself (I may well have mentioned this before within these pages), the Everyman is exceptional. The restaurant area is nice and relaxed, the staff attentive and the sofa’s inside the cinema are to die for. It certainly has a luxurious feel about it and is probably

the best cinema I have ever been in. Which is, however, reflected in the price. For me and my little one, it cost the best part of £30 and be warned, the food and drink are also extortionate. A bottle of coke, apple juice, small popcorn and Chocolate Buttons set me back 14 quid! Of course I understand that there will be a mark up and given how nice the cinema is, the inflated prices are just about palatable. However, personally speaking, I would certainly limit the Everyman for special occasions and save my money to get 3 DVD’s for a tenner off ‘Dodgy Dave’ down at my local. But you must be aware that where pirate DVD’s are concerned, both the picture and sound quality might not always be the best. For example, I recently bought a copy of Bohemian Rhapsody and while we were watching it, my wife said to me, ”I think this must have been filmed in a cinema.” When I asked her why she thought that, she said, ”I see a little silhouette of a man...”

I VOTED TO LEAVE No doubt, like you, I am absolutely sick to death of Brexit and the complete mess our Remainer MP’s have got us into. Recent political skulduggery means that we are no longer able to leave the European Union without a deal on 31st October, so that means that Boris is either going to have to go to the EU to ask for an extension, or to try and negotiate an acceptable



trade deal with Brussels. I, like most other Leave voters, am astounded by the calls for a second referendum, on the basis that we did not know what we were voting for. Rather, I think they have very short memories and as a voter I knew exactly what I was voting for; to leave the EU, full-stop, with or without a deal. Now I appreciate this is a hugely divisive subject, one which is almost split down the middle, but I am certain that what all of us can agree upon is that this whole mess has been handled, by those elected to represent us, in a majorly shambolic fashion. And whilst it would be completely undemocratic to do so, I am actually not against having a second referendum, if that's what it will take to leave the EU once and for all, because I am just as certain that it will lead to exactly the same outcome, which is for our desire, as a country, to get out of Europe. That's why Corbyn doesn’t want a General Election, because he knows the people will endorse us leaving the Union without a deal at the ballot box.

ARMY & NAVY Not at all sure what is going on (or not going on, as the case may be) with the flyover at the Army & Navy roundabout, but I do hope that something gets done about it soon, because it is causing total traffic chaos, especially during rush hour.

Clearly I am no expert, but my understanding is that the damage caused to our ever increasingly flimsy looking flyover is due in part to the hot weather over the summer period. Almost ironically, it seems that recent repair work has actually increased the damage caused as reinforcements were relatively recently added to the structure, meaning that it could not naturally expand. Clearly safety must come first, but you would surely think that a solution can be found quickly, as it makes getting into Chelmsford and commuting rather troublesome. I did use the Park & Ride only last month, which bypasses the black spot by using the bus lane, and I was really impressed with how slick the service is. However, it is also £3.60 for a 3 (ish) mile journey, which I think is far too dear.


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Officer:“Madam, swimming is prohibited in this lake.” Lady: “Then why didn’t you tell me that when I was taking my clothes off?” Officer: “Well that’s not strictly prohibited.”

VOLCANO A volcano is considered active if it has erupted at any time during the last ten thousand years. “So yeah, Doc, I consider myself sexually active alright.”

TAKE TWO WHALES Two whales go into a pub. One spouted: “OOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEEE AAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOEEEEEE.” The other hissed, “Hush, Steve, or they’ll know you’re pissed.”

SPERM COUNT An 85-year-old man was requested by his doctor for a sperm count as part of his physical examination. So the doctor gave the man a jar and said, "Take this home with you and bring me back a semen sample tomorrow." Next day, the 85-year-old man reappeared at the doctor's surgery and gave him back the jar, which was as clean and empty as it had been the previous day. The doctor asked him what had happened and the man explained, "Well, doc, it's like this. First I tried with my right hand, but nothing happened. Then I tried with my left hand, but still nothing happened. Then I asked my wife for a little help and she tried with her right hand, then with her left hand, but still nothing happened. Then she tried with her mouth, first off with her teeth in, then with her teeth out, but still nothing happened. So we called in Eileen, the old girl who lives next door, and she tried too, even with both hands and then with an armpit, but still to no avail." The doctor was shocked. "You asked your neighbour for help?" The old man replied, "Sure did, doc. But none of us could get the damn lid off."

TOES I like to keep my husband on his toes by texting him: “How could you do this to me?” at least once every other day or so.

MIRACLE-GRO Hey, guys! Miracle-Gro only works on plants, okay?

COWBOY BOOTS An elderly couple, Margaret and Bert, went to Texas on holiday. Bert had always wanted a pair of authentic Cowboy Boots, so seeing a pair on sale, he bought them and wore them back to the digs. Walking along proudly, he sauntered into the bedroom and said to his wife, "Notice anything different about me, Margaret?"

His wife looked him over carefully and said, "Nope., not a thing." Frustrated, Bert stormed off into the bathroom, undressed and then walked back out into the bedroom stark bollock naked, except for his new cowboy boots. Once again, he asked his wife, only a little louder this time, "Now do you notice anything different about me, Margaret?" His wife looked him over again and exclaimed, "What's different, Bert? It's hanging down again today, same as it was hanging down yesterday, same as it'll probably be hanging down tomorrow, no doubt." 
 Furious, Bert yelled, "AND DO YOU KNOW WHY IT'S HANGING DOWN, MARGARET?" "Nope," his wife replied. "IT'S HANGING DOWN BECAUSE IT'S LOOKING AT MY NEW COWBOY BOOTS, WOMAN!" Without changing her expression, Bert’s wife replied, "Should’ve bought a hat then, shouldn’t you?"

METROSEXUAL Metrosexual must mean you are partial to having indiscrete sex on the underground.

VEGANS You know that mouth watering moment when your steak is sizzling on the barbie? Do you ever wonder whether vegans get the same sensation when they mow the lawn?

EARTH What the hell kinda name is that for a planet? Say it out loud: “Earth.” And the saddest shit of all is that we actually named the motherf cker ourselves. * When we could’ve called it something really cool like Jupiter instead. But nooooooo...we had to name it after plain old dirt.

WTF A young lad is in his house when he hears his mum sobbing in her bedroom. He rushes in, only to find his old man pounding away on top of her. “Dad! Dad! You’re making mum cry, for god’s sake,” he yells. Smiling, his dad says, “Now son, go to your room and I’ll be along in a few minutes to explain.” About fifteen minutes later, the father is heading for his son’s bedroom when he hears sobbing coming from downstairs. So he takes the stairs two at a time, only to find his son pounding away on top of his Granny. “What the f ck ...” his father stammers. * “See?” says his son. “It’s not so funny when it’s your Mum, is it?”

SKIPPY A young lady goes to her boyfriend’s parents house for dinner for her first meeting with the family and she is very, very nervous. They all sit down and begin eating a fine meal, but after the broccoli soup starter, she begins to feel a little discomfort. The pressure on her stomach is almost enough to make her eyes water and left with little alternative, she decides to relieve herself by letting out a little Tommy Chufter. It wasn’t loud, but everyone around the table definitely appeared to hear a little pffft. Before she even had a chance to be embarrassed, her boyfriend‘s father looked around for the family dog that had been snoozing beneath the table and said in a rather stern voice, “Skippy?”

‘Phew!’ she immediately thought and allowed half a smile to cross her face. But a couple of minutes later, she felt the gas building up again, only this time she didn’t hesitate and let out a much louder, longer rip. Once again, her boyfriend’s father immediately yelled at the dog, “Skippy???” So once more she smiled slyly and thought, ‘Yes. Back of the net.’ Yet just another couple of minutes went by before she let out the fart of all farts and didn’t even bother to try and disguise it. At that, her boyfriend’s father stood up in disgust, looked at the dog and yelled, “Damnit, Skippy! Get away from that woman before she shits all over your head.”

CATCH A MOUSE Young Jenny walks in on her Dad, just as he’s putting a condom onto his thing. “Jeez, Dad!” she exclaims. “What are you doing?” “Erm. Erm. I’m trying to catch a mouse, honey,” he replies. “Why?” says Jenny. “Do you want to f ck it?”


DIPLOMATIC NURSE The nurse brought in our newborn and purred, “Ahhhh, that’s one cute baby you’ve got there.” I said, “I’ll bet you say that to all of the proud parents you see?” “No,” she said, “just to those who have really lovely looking babies.” So I asked, “And what do you say to the others?” She replied, “Ooooh, it looks just like you.”

ROMEO & JULIET Romeo: “I look my best when I sweat, my love.” Juliet: “Ooooh, thou art hot as dragon shit!”

OLD JEW A secretary enters the Pope’s chambers saying, “Your Holiness, an old Jew is sitting in the waiting room. He is really ancient. He’s been waiting to see you for two weeks. He will not leave and is insistent upon an audience.” The Pope, a little confused, says, “Very well. Show him in.” The door opens slowly and a very, very old man shuffles in, looking pretty much like the archetypal Jew. The Pope says, “Greetings. How may I help you?” The old boy takes a battered parchment from within his robes and proceeds to flatten it out on the Pope’s vast desk. It’s a painting of the Last Supper, obviously incredibly old and pretty faded. The Pope is impressed and wonders if he might obtain said item for the Papal museum. The old Jew says, “These are your people?” “Well, yes,” replies the Pope, with a certain pride. “These men represent some of our basic teachings. Why have you brought me this?” The old jew says, “They never settled the bill.”

QUACK’S ENCOURAGEMENT “Got some great news today. My doctor has encouraged me to masturbate more often.” “You’re kidding me?” “Yep. His actual words were: ‘You could have a stroke at any time ...’.”

GHOSTS So I’m sitting in the lobby of a hotel and every time the lift doors open for no apparent reason, I’m thinking: “Well, you lazy arsed ghosts. Why don’t you just float down?”

All jokes published are supplied by Edge readers. Please send your ‘egg yokes’ to shaun@theedgemag.co.uk

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Sir Ben Kingsley Watching Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast was somewhat akin to watching Julie Andrews in Ten (oh yes she was in it, along with Dudley Moore and Bo Derek) when you could see the outline of her nipples in some of the tops she wore. It was like, “WHAT?!?!?! Nanny Maria???” So when kindly Gandhi figure Ben Kingsley, as Don Logan, started ripping into Ray Winstone, as ex-villain Gal Dove, it was pretty jaw dropping stuff. The tirade was, quite frankly, disgusting. “Shut up, **** . You louse. You got some f*ckin' neck, ain’tcha. Retired? F ck off. You're revolting. Look at your suntan. It's leather. It's like leather, * man. Your skin. We could make a f cking suitcase out of you. Like a * crocodile. Fat crocodile. Fat bastard. You look like f cking Idi Amin. Know * what I mean? You should be ashamed of yourself. Who do you think you are? King of the castle? Cock of the walk?” [Don then punches Gal in the gut] The Edge loved Sexy Beast, but Ben Kingsley was proper terrifying in it all 4’11” of him - and I hadn’t seen Don Logan coming (in him) at all. Krishna Pandit Bhanji (or Ben, for short) is 75 these days, and was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, where your editor and Ecky Thump both come from (ish). He first came to The Edge’s attention way back in 1982, with the release of the epic Gandhi, who when you come to think about it is the complete and utter opposite of Don Logan, which is why the latter was so shocking. “We think it is time you recognised that you are masters in someone else’s home. Despite the best intentions of the best of you, you must, in the nature of things, humiliate us in order to control us. It is time you left.” I wonder what Ben will treasure the most though; his knighthood, or being a BEL (Bald Edge Legend)? Because amazing though his portrayal as Gandhi was, he’s definitely got his Edge nomination (along with Emmerdale vet Paddy Kirk and Telly Savalas) for his ’orrible, and I do mean utterly rotten to the core, portrayal of Don, make no bones about that. Married 4 times too. So are you really worthy of a knighthood for failing as a husband thrice over, Benjamin? He’s even been granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And apparently he these days signs off on all of his emails to folks as SBK (Sir Ben Kingsley). And quite right too.


At 10:00am sharp on Monday 4th November, local Chelmsford Nationwide Building Society Senior Branch Manager Oliver Worthington, with his colleague Ollie Killin (pictured above), will be presenting a Fraud Prevention programme at the Chelmsford Star Co-Op restaurant in the Quadrant Department Store in Chelmsford High Street, which will include some ‘top tips’ to safeguard your money and what to look out for in order to ensure that you don’t become a victim. This will be an educational presentation which will last around an hour and may well be worth a visit. The event will also be supported by Stephanie Scott, formerly Champion for Disabled Children & Adults for Chelmsford City Council from May 2016 - May 2019 and now The Dementia Friends Community Champion for the Alzheimer’s Society Essex. Stephanie says, “I have been working with vulnerable children and adults challenged by physical and neurological conditions for over twenty-five years. It is of great concern to me and my colleagues that so much fraudulent activity is targeted at vulnerable people. Although we cannot stop those choosing to commit such crimes, the Nationwide Building Society, together with various charities, can inform people of the dangers relating to Fraud Crime that they should be aware of in their home, on their computers, and on their telephone/mobile.” Page 23

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Whether you’re a spiritualist, pragmatist or scientist, India will touch your soul. It’s a place that holds magic, warmth and experience in every second you’re there. And yes, there truly are cows everywhere. At 21, I planned to visit this most colourful country, but life got in the way. In hindsight, this was probably the best thing the universe dealt me, because a decade later, with loss, heartache and personal achievements under my belt, I was far more maturely equipped, thirsty for cultural life experience and much more open to going with the flow (the latter is a skill that is most definitely required when visiting India). Rather than previous trips, where I pretty much winged it, I took myself to STA (a travel company I would highly recommend) with a budget, time frame and a loose list of my chosen ‘must sees’. They found me a package tour group via G Adventures (another thumbs-up) that ticked all of my boxes. The tour was 15 days, an intimate group, set age bracket, the perfect balance of free time and tourism, visiting 9 destinations; Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Tordi Sagar, Pushkar, Udaipur, Ahmadabad, Mumbai and Goa, with all transportation, accommodation and main attractions covered in the cost.

sets. Agra: beautifully crafted rugs, Jaipur: material printing and jewellery, Udaipur: meticulous miniature paintings. If buying a personal piece, pay out (it’s still minimal in context) for the professionals in the shops. While the markets might be cheap and inviting, what you really want is an heirloom that will last. So why not support the local traders whose skills have been passed down for generations. We stayed in a variant of accommodations including basic fan based rooms, middle of the road air con hotels, night trains (an interesting, but wonderful experience) and a palace. Yes, a palace (Tordi Palace, an absolute must) which I figured I may as well throw in there. As I have mentioned, this element of the trip was all taken care of via G Adventures. However, if organising independently, I would honestly advise researching places extensively before booking. Unless you’re paying big bucks to stay at The Taj, the cost, like most things in India, doesn’t always reflect the quality.

I lucked out with my travel companions and we hit it off from day one. Having never travelled with strangers before, this intense bond in itself made the trip even more sensational. Like a hybrid family of ‘The Waltons meets The Brady Bunch’, under the supervision of a native who’s knowledge and love for his country was nothing short of infectious, we set off soaking up every second of the entire experience, saying yes to every activity offered. These included sunrise bike rides, sunset dune hikes (with masala chai tea at the top), late night star gazing in a shepherd’s village, camel rides and gypsy dances in the dessert, local cooking classes, Shantaram (learning the local trade), Bollywood movies, joining in morning blessings and lunchtime prayers, to name but a few outside of the Taj Mahal (well, obviously)!

This leads me on to food, one of my favourite subjects. You can eat as cheaply or expensively (which still wouldn’t break the bank) as you like in India. There are always plenty of places to eat at and you also have the choice of indulging in street food; Vada Pav, Pani Puri, Lassi, ominous looking but delicious Dahl, plus miscellaneous curries far too numerous to mention etc. Personally I have a varied, fresh and spiced filled diet, and take probiotics (the latter I advise taking before and whilst you’re away, if you don’t already) which I’m sure helped me escape being monopolised by the dreaded ‘Delhi Belly’ (you cannot escape it, no matter how equipped you think your gut is). By all means, indulge in street food, as it is delicious. But if it’s not busy, or the food’s been sitting there for a while, take your time, watch the stalls, and if your head, heart and gut is telling you ‘no’, then seriously, don’t chance it! Regardless of where you choose to eat, the food is very often out of this world. The colours, flavours and textures, Mmmmm, it’s all an experience in itself. And be sure to talk to your waiter, or surrounding locals, to see what the popular or ‘local speciality’ is.

India is a country proud of its trade and skill

A few essentials that I couldn’t have gone with-

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out; hand sanitiser. Take/use it by the bucket load. Water bottle; you seriously MUST stay hydrated. Hydration tablets; drop in your water daily. Phone space; for the multitude of photographs you will inevitably take. Padlock; your belongings (mainly for trains/coaches). Finally, hand tissues and a high deet mosquito spray. And now for a tip not many travellers are aware of; as a tourist, you cannot take Rupees into the country. There are ample cash machines at the airports due to this factor, so load up your travel card of choice. If flying into Delhi, there’s a fantastic company called Woman on Wheels, a taxi service empowering women to drive and earn their own sausage and mash. This has since expanded to Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmadabad, Banglore and Indore. As a solo woman arriving in India, it was a great comfort to be greeted by a woman, as it made me feel both safe and comfortable to ask my driver a million-and-one questions! I would advise anyone planning to visit the enigma that is India to DO YOUR RESEARCH. Read personal blogs and quiz anyone who has been. You will also come across extreme stories of horrific situations that have occurred to tourists. Having travelled extensively, it’s the age old rules that keep you safe.Trust your gut instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, DON’T DO IT. Use your loaf. Take your time when making decisions and do not put yourself in precarious situations. I personally arrived in India knowing in my very soul that it would be the making of me, but that was due to my own personal journey to finally get there. However, who hasn’t got baggage they would like to get rid of? Having spoken extensively to others who have been, whether it was 15 years ago, or during the previous year, either ridden with baggage or carrying only a clutch-bag of anxiety. Everyone, in essence, has said the same thing; India will change you. You will reflect and see that all experiences, both good and bad, were wonderful, and you will have the time of your life in every sense. Love, always. i.am.squelch

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OK, so this month’s heading seems like a simple question, right? But what follows is a mind scrambling journey into the murky depths of the human brain. Specifically its ability to make sense of altered realities. And we’re not talking about all the lies Trump, Johnson and Farage try to gaslight you with. No, it’s the concept of time itself that we’re going to look at this month. So, having frightened the horses, greetings again from San Diego. Don’t worry, you won’t need Einsteinian levels of grey matter to follow this, just an ability to think logically and to concentrate for a bit. Will it be worth the effort? Probably not, but we can but give it a go. Let’s start with a bit of a history lesson. Did you know that time was a spectacularly unimportant concept until the mid 1800s? Then along came steam power. If you were going to catch a train from London to Birmingham you had to know when it was leaving. Just saying “it’ll be a bit after the cock crows” wasn’t much use, any more than “it’ll get to Birmingham when it does”. So timetables were invented, but they only worked if time meant exactly the same thing in London as it did in Birmingham. Hence a standard was implemented and the whole country abided by it. So that works just fine if you want to go somewhere fairly local. But along came aeroplanes and all of a sudden you can go 3,000 miles in a fairly short time. But in New York the sun sets well after the lights of Soho have come on. So, the time zone concept came to be important. That’s a bit head-scrambling itself. If you fly from London to San Diego you’re up there, bored witless, with an aching bum and stiff legs, for eleven hours, yet when you arrive it’s only three hours after your last soul destroying wander through the duty-free shop at Heathrow. Now, let’s complicate things a bit. How about we add in the concept of British Summer Time, or Daylight SavingTime as it’s more widely known around the world. The actual hour depends on what season it is. Yeah but….

Britain and Europe change their clocks like clockwork (ha) on the last Sundays in March and October. Over here it’s always a few weeks different. So at certain times of the year San Diego is not eight hours behind London, but seven. Or nine. Jeez. Wanna make your head spin some more? Right, try to get your mind around this.Should you take a summer road trip from Monument Valley in Utah to Las Vegas in Nevada, it’s about 400 miles. Not very far by American standards, an easy day’s drive, but a slightly more challenging trip on a motorcycle. But on that road trip you go through three states and five time zones. Yes, five. How’s that, you might ask. Well, are you sitting comfortably? Firstly, the USA has four time zones itself. Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific. Our trip concerns us with just two though – Mountain and Pacific. Utah is on Mountain time, as is Arizona, which we’ll pass through, and as we roll into Vegas we’ll have reached Pacific time. Now, there is a complicating factor. Actually there are two. Firstly, Utah observes Daylight Saving, but Arizona doesn’t. Except, that is, unless you are on an Indian reservation in Arizona, in which case Daylight Saving is enforced. So, we start off In Utah on Daylight Saving Mountain time. But within a few miles we cross the border into Arizona, so that’s also Mountain time – and, as we’re on

a reservation, the time hasn’t changed. A few miles down the road we’re still in Arizona, but leave the reservation, so we gain an hour. Count one. Roll along a few more miles, and the main route to Vegas requires another cross of the state line back into Utah. Lose an hour. Count two. Further on the road loops back into Arizona. We gain an hour instantly. Count three. But sadly a bit further on we’re back in Utah, so that hour is lost once more. Count four. Finally, as the bright lights of Vegas are looming ahead, we cross a state line for the last time. We’re now nearing the end of the odyssey and are in Nevada – Pacific time and another hour gained. Count five. Phew. So, you won’t have followed that and why would you. But the point is, this whole scenario is freakin’ nuts. Recently an idea was put forward that on the surface sounds daft, but when you start to consider that 400 mile journey from Monument Valley to Vegas, maybe it’s not so off the wall after all. The proposal is that there is just one time zone for the whole world. What? How would that work? Well, for you in the UK, apart from booting BST into the dustbin of history, nothing at all would change. Greenwich Mean Time would be the world time. And along with Daylight Saving, the 12 hour clock would also be junked and we’d all do the sensible thing and work with the 24 hour version. For us in California, currently eight hours behind you, under the new regime we’d be on the same time as you. So when it’s noon there, it’s noon here. But, and it’s a big but, instead of working 9-5 (09:00-17:00), we’d now be sitting down with coffee and donuts to start our daily grind at 17:00. Yes, it would take a bit of getting used to, but in these days of automated everything and instant communications, the advantages of a standard time become compelling. Will it happen? Probably not, it’s a bit too scientific, forward looking and sensible for today’s prevailing mood of going back to the 1950s. But hey-ho, one can but dream.

When you spend a lot of your time sat in front of a bloody computer screen, it’s sometimes nice when a friend-in-need can do with a helping hand. Only my wife had informed me that the tree in question (see page 21) needed “trimming”, yet when I got there, I discovered the truth of the matter which was that our friend wanted the tree to be removed in its entirety. Hmmmm. Bearing in mind that we were in need of some wood to burn in our chimenea and that the branches I was removing I was then having to further cut into short pieces and load into the back of my motor, I soon figured that I’d draw the line once I got to the trunk and arranged for local ‘Jack of all trades’ Joe Greengrass (see his small advert on page 5) to come round and chainsaw the remainder to the ground (as well as cutting the wood into bite sized chunks for me) for a nifty-fifty. Have to say though, I was chuffed with the progress I made with a simple hand saw and what’s more, I genuinely enjoyed every minute of it. There’s something incredibly satisfying about being the provider of progress, isn’t there? And between the three of us and the blessing of some blinding weather, we got a helluva lot done over the course of the weekend. What’s more, an ice cold cider will never taste sweeter than when you’ve done a bit of honest manual toil. On the Saturday (late afternoon), we were also rewarded with lamb shanks that literally fell off the bone and some delicious cheddar mash (and creme fraiche too, yum-yum) before England saw off Bulgaria 4-0. All in all, I was reet pleased with my efforts and was initially contemplating asking Joe (Greengrass) if he’d be interested in taking me on as a budding apprentice to work alongside him. However, with arthritis in my sawing shoulder and a distinct lack of cartilage in the spine of my lower back, I have to hold my hands up and admit that I also felt as though I’d been run over by a truck by the end of each day, poor old bugger that I now am. I’m also gutted - and I do mean gutted to a monumental degree - that our summer is now well and truly over, as the mere thought of four or five months of winter to endure is enough to send me onto a shrink’s casting couch. I just hate dark mornings and even darker evenings so very much. But then how our gardens once again break into new life come the following spring never ceases to amaze me and is always something I look forward to, being a bit of an Alan Titchmarsh at heart (arf, arf).


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f I’m going to talk about the such people have had to endure. explosion of gender preferences On the other hand, while making and sexualities on offer these sure they’re treated equally and days, I suppose I’ll have to start without prejudice is both right and with the obligatory disclaimer: I am important, I think it’s perfectly a ‘cis’ male (meaning I’m a man and acceptable to accept that we are The Kingmeister reports enjoy boobs) and I believe that talking about a minority, so making everyone should be able to love the other 99.9% of society bend who they chose and identify with, itself into pretzels to accommodate whichever gender they choose, them will only ever end in a backwithout fear of ridicule lash. HE/SHE HIM/HER HIS/HER HIS/HERS HIMSELF/HERSELF “Perfectly balanced, as or oppression. zim zis zie zir zieself I realise that might all things should be”, said come across as virtue the great philosopher, sie hirs sie hir hirself signalling, but it’s really Thanos, and despite em eirs ey eir eirself just common sense. being a scrotum-chinned ver vers ve vis verself Anyone that gets mass murderer in a offended by how anothMarvel movie, he makes ter ters tey tem terself er person chooses to a good point. I’ve said it em eirs e eir emself live their lives in a way before and I’ll say it that’s both legal and again, balance is someto be offensive, while others will champion the making no appreciable impact on theirs is an emothing we just don’t do very well, and we never cause of the LGBQT community. However, the tionally and intellectually stunted buffoon, and if seem to learn that correcting an imbalance isn’t vast majority of people simply won’t care either you happen to be one of those people, please find accomplished by smashing the scales the other way. That might sound harsh, but I’m willing to bet the nearest plant and apologise to it for wasting all way. At some point, they simply swing right back that, like me, most people have got enough going of the oxygen it’s busy producing for you. again. on in their lives to be overly concerned about who For the purposes of this article, however, I’m going I think, I hope, that things are steadily improving someone else is sleeping with or what pronouns to play devil’s advocate, because as much as for the LGBQT community, and I hope they continthey prefer. everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with ue to do so and we reach that point where sexual If you’re outside of the standard ‘cis’ gender desigrespect, just because you don’t identify with one of preference is as noteworthy as what socks you’re nation and you get a strop on every time someone the ‘classic’ genders, or you’re pansexual, or currently wearing. But the sad truth is that we’ll forgets to call you Mx or Zie, or whatever, then all demisexual, or whatever, doesn’t mean you get a probably never reach those dizzy heights, as the you’re doing is hurting your own cause. I’ve had 4 license to act like an entitled dickhead. ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ mentality is hard-wired into us, but decades of referring to males as him or he, it’s an I’ve been looking through a number of LGBQT hey, you never know. automatic, ingrained response by now and it’s sites and resources over the past few days and so Whether we ever reach such an inclusive utopia or going to take me a conscious effort of will to far I’ve counted 74, yes, 74 possible different gennot, it’s worth remembering that whoever you are, remember not to do that in certain situations. der preferences and sexualities. It’s important to whatever your preferences and pronouns, that tolIf I get it wrong, I’ll happily apologise and try hardremember that for most of the last 5,000 years of erance goes both ways, and that it’s all too easy er next time. But if someone makes a big deal recorded human history, 2 genders and 2 sexualito make people become intolerant of tolerance. about it, then rightly or wrongly, I’ll be less inclined ties were all we had to worry about, so you can’t Sometimes, you can do as much damage to your to make the effort. I bet it must suck to be part of a reasonably expect people to jump from 2 to 74 cause by fighting for it in the wrong way than the minority at times, and I’m certainly not trying to overnight, can you? people fighting against it ever will. downplay the decades of intolerance and hatred Some people, regrettably, will go out of their way




riends of ours are now the proud owners of a boat on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, that lovely stretch of water that takes you all the way from the centre of Chelmsford to Heybridge Basin, and truly long term readers may remember that our editor, ‘Lengthy Boy’ and I once undertook that epic journey a fair few years ago, after those really nice people at Paper Mill Lock lent us a Canadian canoe. Our friends have truly fallen in love with their boat, and the river, and they’re pretty much along it every single chance they get. As paddle boarders, Lou and I are also regular visitors and we love being out on the water, slowly paddling through the countryside. It really is a fantastic amenity and we’re very lucky to have the Chelmer and Blackwater nearby and free for everyone to enjoy. Being the responsible citizens they are, our friends recently invited us to join the Chelmer Canal Trust as part of one of their volunteer work crews in order to clear out the invasive Pennywort that, left unchecked, will cover the river from bank to bank, making it very difficult for boats and boards to get through. If you use and enjoy the river, then I think you should put a little back when you can, so we were happy to sign up to help. We joined the crew from the trust on a glorious Saturday morning at Sandford Mill Lock, and after a safety briefing and explanation of the work we’d be doing (thank you, Neil), we set off towards Cuton Lock in our miniature flotilla of 1 boat, 1 dinghy and a handmade coracle. The Pennywort is truly growing at a ferocious rate at this particular time of the year and it didn’t take long to start seeing huge rafts of the stuff covering the water. My friend, Mark, and I stayed in the main boat with Neil, armed with ‘chromes’ that are like a specialised type of garden rake. Neil would pilot the boat into one of the large rafts of weed, then Mark and I would hook it with the chromes and keep hold of the dratted stuff as Neil backed the boat out and we dragged the Pennywort to the bank. Once we got it there, Lou, Angela, Susan and Barry would use their own chromes to drag it from the water and stack it alongside the tow path, which was really not an easy task at all as large chunks of waterlogged Pennywort can weigh a hell of a lot. Meanwhile, William and Steve, in dinghy and coracle respectively, would clear up the smaller rafts and we worked our way slowly downriver like that for an hour or so before stopping for a well-earned cup of tea and a hot cross bun. Upon resuming our task, we then swapped roles a little and Neil and I joined the crew on the bank while Lou became the captain of the dinghy, Page 26

William took over the boat and Barry and Angela started hooking the rafts of weed. Soon it started getting very hot and we were all working like Trojans. I won’t lie and say it was easy, because it wasn’t. It’s hard graft and we were all wet and filthy by the time we had finished. But at the same time, we were all genuinely enjoying ourselves. The guys from the trust are a great bunch and we all had a really good laugh both with, and at, each other as we worked, and it felt really good being part of a team and all working together to look after a place we all truly love. It was great to see the piles of weed strung out alongside the towpath and to ride back to Sandford Mill Lock through a stretch of water that was now completely clear of Pennywort from bank to bank. The trust are always on the lookout for volunteers and the work parties run most Saturdays. So if you use, and love, the Chelmer and Blackwater, then please think seriously about joining in and helping to keep it clean and clear and easy to use. Please check out the Canal trust: www.chelmercanaltrust.co.uk and see how you can get involved. I’ll definitely be joining up again, after I’ve stopped aching, that is.

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COFFEE LOVER I’m a true lover of coffee and I think its brilliant that we now have so many coffee houses with their Baristas providing a very decent cuppa. We also have some pretty good machines that dish out wonderful tasting coffees for domestic consumption on the hoof. Personally, I don’t think you can get a better Espresso than the black Nespresso capsule, which to my mind is pure perfection. Whenever I sit having a coffee in either Starbucks (well, I used to) or Costa and look around at all the many Silver Surfers enjoying their drinks, I’m truly in awe of the volumes of coffee that people of my age are able to consume. For instance, the smaller of the Starbucks’ cup measures in at 12oz, while the next up is the Grande offering 16oz, while the larger Venti provides a whopping volume of 20oz. These are the equivalent of 340, 450 and 568mls respectively, the latter corresponding to a pint of coffee all in one go. Given that we sometimes consume 3 of these large cups in one day, is it any wonder that us oldies have to keep running to the loo every 5 minutes, before booking an appointment with an already overworked GP to complain about the frequency and urgency of getting up two, three, or sometimes even four times during the night for a tinkle (in polite terms this is called nocturia). No doubt we’ll also complain that our sleep patterns are being disrupted because of the stimulant effect of the caffeine and the volume of fluid that we’re consuming. So, like our parents before us, we’ll sit down in the afternoon and have a bit of a nap, and sometimes we’ll nod off during the evening too, so in the morning we’ll all drink numerous cups of coffee just to try and keep us awake for a while. But if the caffeine does keep us awake at night, well, it isn’t so bad, what with all of the great TV available these days, including streaming and box sets. So now we can all settle down on the sofa and within 10 minutes we’re either hooked on something, of fast asleep. Either’s good. Failing that, as I’ve now discovered, there are also plenty of audiobooks and radio plays to be had on the Audible app on your iPhone/iPad. For instance, for those who love the Alien films (well, the original and Alien II), I’d thoroughly recommend the Alien III audio play, which is so much better and makes far more sense than the totally pants movie of the same name. Then, for sheer entertainment, try listening to the Charles Paris series of plays; the music and his stories will evoke strong memories of the sixties and seventies, for those of you who are Silver Surfers yourselves! The Edge 077 646 797 44


All You Can Eat! OCTOBER

served personally to your table! SAVE THE PLANET As we all now do our bit for the environment by recycling our rubbish, why don’t the supermarkets help us out a little? For instance, bananas and cucumbers come with their own natural protective wrapping, so why do supermarkets insist on covering them in plastic shrink-wrap, or bagging them up (in plastic)? They do the same with meat, vegetables and even avocados, which has an outer skin as thick as a rhino’s backside. Is it because they don’t care? Or is it simply too expensive for them to change their ways? More likely it’s because even if Europe and the USA stop using plastic, it’s unlikely to make any difference to global plastic waste, as 95% of all plastic discarded or non-recycled is dumped by just four Asian countries. I just wish that supermarkets would be a little more aware and provide us with some help with our recycling. But we must continue with our very own recycling efforts, otherwise the council will refuse to pick up our rubbish! Here’s a thought; why don’t we take our packaging back to the supermarket so that they can dispose of it, rather than giving us the problem?

SOPHISTICATED Where oh where have all the sophisticated men’s clothes shops in Chelmsford gone? A few years ago, us oldies, who were gently morphing into late middle age, could always go and see Jeremy at Bucciali, or Paul at Zagger, if we wanted to stay smart and sharp suited, but definitely not wanting to look like mutton dressed as lamb. Sadly, those days have now unfortunately passed. But thankfully we still have Number Six and John Lewis (for the moment) and, as a last resort, we can always buy our elasticated trousers from you know who in order to help ease our passage into proper old age. Roll on the day when comfort becomes the new fashion!

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A giant chalk figure of a man with a huge, er, club has been given a make over. The world famous Cerne Abbas giant in Dorset is 180ft tall and has recently been re-chalked by hand by dozens of volunteers over a two week period. It has been a feature of the area since the 17th century and was in need of a gentle polish and tickle to restore it - including its 36ft erect penis. Since its last refresh in 2008, the weather had taken its toll and weeds had encroached on the Giant’s private parts, blurring its previously sharp chalky outline. Tonnes of the white stuff extracted from a nearby quarry have now been tightly packed into the existing 1,509ft outline of the figure to ensure it remains visible for miles around. The Giant was given to the National Trust to look after in July 1920 and they are planning a year of celebrations throughout 2020 to mark its centenary. Natalie Holt, countryside manager for the National Trust, said: “Re-chalking the Giant is challenging in many ways, not only due to its size, but because of the sheer steepness of the slope he’s on. It needs re-doing every 10 years or so because he gets weathered and discoloured and covered in weeds. The first job is always to dig out all of the old chalk before hammering in 17 tonnes of new chalk. The Giant is also vulnerable to erosion from rainwater which can collect in its chalky outline and run down the hill at great speed. Therefore it is vitally important for us to ensure that the chalk is packed as tightly as possible about his person. Only when we’re happy we’ve done a really good job will we will leave him alone for another decade.�


Hi Shaun, I have just read your piece in the September issues of The Edge and would like to pass comment. I think that there may be a bit of confusion going on here, as the double yellow lines in the banjo are under the local highway jurisdiction, while the double yellow lines on the concrete road, leading up to the college, is on private land. The local authority, via their parking enforcement department, could take action against illegal parking in the banjo, but have no jurisdiction over the concrete road, and nor do the police under road traffic laws. If they employ a private contractor to control the parking on that site, the contractor could then take action, but again, that would depend upon the terms of the contract. Regards, Tony Seaman.

Page 28

A bloke has revealed that he suffers from such a hatred of chewing that he has estranged himself from relatives over fears he might ‘fly into a rage’. Derrol Murphy (41) has ended relationships because of the noise his partners make while eating, or when clearing their throat. He even said he has left dates and almost come to blows with colleagues for clicking pens. Derrol has diagnosed himself with misophonia, a condition that makes people irritable about ordinary sounds humans make. He says he is learning to manage his condition, but wants more people to be aware of it. He said: “I thought I was crazy for many years. Little noises would make me fly into a rage. The noise of someone chewing can drive me absolutely crazy. But most people don’t get it and it’s hard for me to explain it. It’s affected my relationships, especially people I’ve been dating, because you take it out on the people closest to you as you expect them to understand.� Derrol eventually started to search for answers when he was 30 because he’s grown concerned about what was wrong with him. He can be triggered by breathing or yawning, but chewing is his biggest nemesis. “One noise can really stick out and if I’m in a restaurant and I can hear chewing and cutlery, it almost makes me go loopy. The rustling of plastic bags in the cinema is another one, so I haven’t been for more than 10 years because people opening food bags is a very bad trigger for me.� He says he is also estranged from some family members as a result of his condition, while he’s cut off ties with other people because it’s safer to - for them. Derrol has now been dating co-worker Kurt Vin (41) for the past two years. However, his jaw clicks and he used to eat with his mouth open, so Derrol warned him early on that he’d probably have to smash his face in if he didn’t mend his ways, so now Kurt takes extra care not to upset his mentally fragile lover. The Edge 01245 348256

The Edge 276 new_The Edge 172.qxd 24/09/2019 00:28 Page 29


Man on the Clapham Omnibus

THE INNY’S & OUTY’S Each night, on my way home from work, as I trudge down the platform at Liverpool Street, I am faced with a most interesting prospect. So now’s probably a good time to tell you that this is not another rant about our wonderful train provider ‘Crapper Anglia’ (other train providers are sadly NOT available), as there isn’t sufficient room in this space to vent my spleen. I am generally witness to the shift change that takes place each and every evening between five and six-thirty. I like to call it the ‘in and outs’. It’s a sort of living example of Newton’s third law, which states, as surely you worldly Edge readers know, that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. To set the scene, I am in amongst the weary throng of early evening commuters, attempting to get back home on our woeful service. Most nights that is the best you can say about the journey, but I have strayed into train stuff far too many times in this column already, so I shall refrain. We are trudging down the platform to our very own Orient Expresslike carriages (Stop it! Signed, EE), tired, crumpled, stale and possibly even a bit smelly, but mostly just extremely fed up, judging by all of the looks on other people’s faces. The muted conversations in the carriage also underpin this sentiment. Almost everybody can run their respective companies better than their manager can, not to mention anybody else, right up to the chairman. Much in the same way every touchline has a pie loving, beer swilling, couch potato who loudly advises they can do a better job than the current striker in their team. We know this is not really the case, but I hear it night after night, between the ‘outs’ talking on their phones, or to a fellow traveller. The air of defeat is heavy in the carriage. People are contemplating that just one sleep separates them from doing it all over again. We will, of course, face exactly the same challenges from our service provider (That’s enough! Signed, EE) once again in the morning, albeit in the opposite direction. Yet we harbour false hope that a brand new day will be better, because our managers have had some kind of epiphany overnight, and all will be good in the world of work. Naturally, we now have to address the ‘inners’, the (almost) opposite and equal action to us ‘outers’. The inners bound off their trains clutching their cheap day return tickets equally as tightly as we clutch our four grand smartcards. The waft of sweet, heady perfumes from delightfully dressed ladies, accompanied by their equally fresh, cologne splashed and uncrumpled partners, lift them graciously across the platform. They are happy, full of hope and optimism, as they

dash along, theatre tickets safely ensconced on their person. They are usually bound for the West End, looking forward to a bite to eat via a Groupon deal and the latest Julian Lloyd Webber extravaganza on a two-for-one special up in the gods. You do not deny them their moment, as they look and laugh at us ‘outy’s‘, but we know a secret. Yes, the ‘inny’s’ are definitely feeling smug, but in a few hours’ time they too will become an ‘outy’s’, only in far worse circumstances. Of course, we may be temporarily envious, as bedraggled we board the ‘outy’ express, full of cynicism and weariness. Whereas the ‘inners’ go happily upon their way. However, we know what we know. The evening progresses. ‘Outy’ is at home lounging on the sofa in comfortable vegetating attire, deep into a box set, a large pack of crisps/Maltesers and possibly a tinny or two. Tired, yes, imagining it must surely be time for bed, but one more episode beckons. It’s midnight. The ‘outy’ is now bleary eyed and regretting the decision to soldier on through ‘Game of Tweed’ or ‘Tweedy Blinders’. But a glance at the clock lifts ‘outy’s’ spirits immeasurably, recalling all of those happy inny’s who are right this moment becoming outy’s. ‘Outy’s’ secret knowledge: Outy is able to walk upstairs and recline in bed. But our not so fresh ‘inny’s’ are now back at Liverpool Street, tired, crumpled and not smelling so nice either. They will be getting on the midnight train. Ahhh yes, that delightful experience of drunken ‘outy’s’, a global range of smelly foodstuffs being consumed from rustling paper bags. Somehow the stench of the pasties manages to overpower even that of the katsu curry. What the hell is in those pasties that makes your fingers smell even the following morning? The atmosphere is febrile, fragile and you know deep down terrible things of some kind can never be more than a moment away. It is a uniting time. The ’inny’s’ have been turned into ‘outy’s’ and they absolutely hate it. The circle is connected once again, in readiness for the morrow. Yours aye,

Beaulieu Park Housewives

Extracted from a Beaulieu Park housewife’s diary. *Names have been tweaked to spare blushes and exposed breaches to Pre-Nup Agreements.

A Stepford Wife, I most certainly am not. Privileged, pampered, preened and pandered to - sometimes, maybe. But hey, life is short, so why the hell not? Let me introduce myself. I’m Nicole, wife of Nat. Ex-career-girl, Mum of one; my mini-moi. A Beaulieu resident, part of the clique and loving life, mostly. We have a relatively close circle of friends here at BP. ‘Professional’ couples with a fair amount in common - working husbands/stay at home wives; big spending habits and even bigger egos; a love of labels, long-haul and LOTS of entertaining each other in our enviable homes. So why shouldn’t life be good? Only when I say “a close circle of friends”, I guess I mean it relatively loosely. ‘Friends’ from school, or later along life’s path, have sadly(?) paled into insignificance, somewhat. Our ‘clique’ these days is largely dictated by related careers on the paternal side of things (typically Banking, Broking, Commodities Trading etc.), similar shopping habits on the maternal front, plus a shared goal in all things cosmetic, aesthetic and vehicular. Big, brash, botoxed, beluga, best in class and beyond the means of most of Essex is definitely our M..O. I was never destined for life as a SATHMA (‘Stay at home always’ mum), believe it or not. Although not part of the guilded-youth, I had a good upbringing with multiple annual family holidays and a fairly sound education which led to a City career in its own right - I didn’t need a man to validate, or pay for me, for that matter. But hey, when given the opportunity to marry one with a pretty sizeable six figure salary (before the annual bonus), my personal choice of brand new wheels each year, a full-time PT, nails, eyebrows, tits and teeth, without ever having to think of leaving the house for the tedious commute five days per week, it was a relatively easy life choice. In return; give him a child, a lifestyle-magazine-front-cover-worthy-home, fulfill conjugal duties and entertain his colleagues and their vacuous wives with manageable frequency? Bingo! Where do I sign? Hell, yeah! shaun@theedgemag.co.uk

So post the Nineties and Noughties City career, the devil may care hedonism of maybe just one or two scarily promiscuous girls’ holidays to Ibiza and the like, here I am, in beautiful Beaulieu Park, wiling away the hours in between lycra-clad school drop-offs and pick-ups with many a mani-pedi, coconut latte, girls’ lunch and odd trip to the gym. The ratio of lycra-cladding to gym-outing can be somewhat skewed, but hey, ‘appearing’ to be off and ready for a quick 10km is just as impressive. Prosecco features heavily, as do Ocado deliveries, Net-A-Porter browsing, long phone chats talking about other members of our clique (mostly the females) and their errant other halves. I’d like to think that some of the chaps are actually true to their vows - although sadly, along with their large salaries, penisextension cars and membership to the region’s most exclusive golf courses, come the affairs, the late nights ‘working’ and more than the occasional visit with the lads to a less than politically correct ‘gentleman’s establishment’.

I mentioned before that we all have a lot in common and from afar, we probably do - certainly materially speaking, age-wise (give or take 4 or 5 years) and in terms of our insanely annoying habit of label or name checking every damn thing from our latest make-up bag staple, to where we last ate the most expensive steak, or which watch we are wearing this season. There are differences amongst us though: take Sacha and Alistair, the newly-wed sporty ones who do Park Run every Saturday morning TOGETHER without fail; Leanne and Paul, who are on the brink of a mahooosive divorce, given Leanne’s latest affair; Victoria and Rob, who are arguably the wealthiest, yet least bright amongst the group (shit how that happens, eh?); Jo and Richard, who are more in love with their pet pooches than each other, and Anna and Neil, the oldest couple in our ‘clique’, each on their third marriage and embarrassingly amorous with each other in anyone’s company - for god’s sake, you two, get a bloody room! Don’t get me wrong, I like them all, most of the time. Why wouldn’t I? They are generous with their dinner invitations, even if they’re dressed up pissing contests. The wine is expensive and abundant and, like everyone, they are all craft gin expert these days. So soiree at theirs’? You betcha! Page 29

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Simply forward to shaun@theedgemag.co.uk Page 30

So it’s goodbye to a dear old friend. I know it’s hard to part and now I will never ride you again. Chelmsford's free rollercoaster ride, I’m talking about. The Army & Navy flyover, of course! As I look back over the years, I realise the A&N and I have been through some happy and also some very sad times together. In its latter years, I have cursed and sworn at the damn thing as I am sat there, going nowhere fast, sweltering in the heat of summer, shivering in the cold of winter. I even remember my very first time going over it back in 1982. Up, up, up and away we went, in my mum's Mini Clubman estate. It felt as though we were soaring in the air, and to be honest, it was a miracle that car ever made it to the top, before we went flying down the other side with my mum pumping the brakes for all her right foot was worth, while my auntie was screaming, “Hold on, kids. Adopt the brace position!” To this day my cousins and I still reminisce about the days before seatbelts and how we all crammed into that Mini for yet another wonderful adventure; we really did take our life in your own hands back then. Who remembers bleeding their brakes on a Sunday morning to get the air out? Back in the day, there were none of these poncy on board computers telling us to contact the manufacturer. We all had to check out our cars for the week ahead, so Sunday morning was traditionally a time of topping up the water and oil and banging the brake pads out. In winter we’d de-ice the screen and put a blanket over the front grill, or if you were poor, a bit of cardboad to save the radiator from cracking. And whatever happened to head gaskets? People were always having one blow out on them, while the look of commiseration from fellow car owners would befall on them like a bereavement. Kids today just don't appreciate what it was like to own a car back then. Strange tales of mums having to take off their tights in order to save the family's dream holiday of a caravan in Clacton for a week when the fan belt went (went where?). Yes, long before dogging in lay-bys ever became folklore, perfectly respectable mums all over the country were stripping off their tights in order to stop the family car from overheating. Whereas if you were flush and you belonged to the AA or the RAC, you got

a shiny metal badge to show off on your front bumper, so that the rest of the riffraff could see you were a ‘cut above’. I could not wait to get my first car so that I too could ride over our ‘Mystical Flyover’. When I was at Chelmsford College, I would often hear strange tales of people driving over it ‘the wrong way’ because the sign had just changing upon their assent, or some such nonsense. The sheer number of folk who ended up having head-on collisions made for numerous front page headlines on the Essex Chronicle. Because there was none of this online reading back then. Everyone bought the weekly newspaper, didn’t they. And if you’d made a pratt of yourself at the A&N, your mugshot would be splashed all over the front cover. Whereas idiots these days get off lightly as most people are far too glued to Instagram or Snapchat looking at photo’s of the Kardashian’s ever expanding arses to bother reading anything of any merit. Coming home from Reds my friend was once racing her 1.1 Fiesta with a rather dashing chap in a Sierra Cosworth and took the roundabout way too fast and ended up crashing into the barrier. We all fell out in a tangled heap with our white stilletoes and our Ra-Ra skirts and tried to pull the doors and bonnet back out so that we could carry on our way. And do you know, that dent still remains in the crash barrier to this day (truth). The times I have driven past it over the years and said ‘a silent prayer’ as to how lightly we all got off that night. During more recent times, I would often get my son to behave while he was out shopping with me by promising to take him on a ride over the flyover if he was a good boy. I even used to get him to wave his arms in the air out of my softtop at the time, promising to pick up the photograph the very next day. Poor boy. He was 14 years old and on a day trip with the school to Thorpe Park before he realised the good old A&N was not a proper rollercoaster. Well, back in the day, us single mums had to invent our own fun, didn’t we. After the last warning that the flyover was crumbling, I used to imagine driving over it like I was in an action movie and any minute it would start flaking away as I went over the top, having to drive across the cracks before it collapsed, which did make my journey home a trifle more exciting, I have to say. But I do think it is a very sad day indeed that our unique little flyover is finally no more. Surely there needs to be an official day of mourning, or some sort of party to celebrate its passing? Remember when they took the Berlin Wall down and people danced in the streets and held candle vigils. Surely we need to do something along the same lines? We cannot just allow this great monument of human endurance of being stuck in a traffic queue go uncommemorated. Surely there needs to be one last ride, for old time’s sake. Or maybe a ‘Rave on the Roundabout’ before it is abolished and all we can see is the shining beacon of Aldi'sv new store lights to guide us safely on our way...


The Edge 276 new_The Edge 172.qxd 24/09/2019 00:28 Page 31







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Profile for webwax

The Edge Magazine October 2019  

Chelmsford Essex based fanzine with local news fun and current affairs

The Edge Magazine October 2019  

Chelmsford Essex based fanzine with local news fun and current affairs