‘Any Glass, Any Car‘ say Autoglass… er… well, not a Tata Safari, Puna’s finest, and if the Indian promotional literature is to be believed ‘a premium MUV targeted at the upper strata of society.‘ However monsoon-proof Tatas purport to be, it has to said that their windscreens are not best suited to the cracking northern winter we’ve just experienced. Thus it was that I found myself in a steady descent from the rarefied upper stratum of Northumberland heading towards Blackburn where, in between rounds of uncontrolled clog dancing, a couple of Lancashire lads were happily occupied unscrewing the oily bits from a car similar to mine – the windscreen was ‘champion’ apparently.
As usual the sat nav issued instructions on where to go, without offering a sense of where I was. Passing signs for Samlesbury Hall, Church and C of E School, I realised this was the scene of my father’s childhood. Here the Graf Spee ruled the sawmill pond, pram wheels came off runaway bogies and zeppelins hung in the sky – escape from a lifetime on the home farm came courtesy of Adolph Hitler – my dad never hated the Germans, he had a good war.
‘You have arrived at your destination.’ Amongst steep streets of red brick houses Blackburn was a scene from ‘the day after’. After what I couldn’t be sure, though there was certainly a sense of being too late and of having missed it. White youths paraded jarhead haircuts that framed faces too old for their years, uncertain Pakistani patriarchs rode similarly elderly Mercedes, and uniformed Asian kids filled the pavements by a string of halal snack bars.
Miraculously the cheery chappies from Lancashire Windscreens were expecting me, having successfully removed the ‘champion’ windscreen from the wreck, and were primed with glue to replace the existing crazed glass . While the adhesive went off and whilst the law still allowed, I took the opportunity to have a quick pint – the Griffin – ‘grand pub, lovely inside.’
‘Psychic Night’ announced a board propped by the door, and even without ‘the gift’ I had a premonition of what lay within… Tortured whispers strained across the bar, ‘What you ‘aving in there Al?’ It seemed that Sheffield style guru John Shuttleworth been here first, offering a range of services from feng shui to fashion makeover and elocution lessons. ‘No, were not doing food. Just ‘ad to make a call t’ospital.’ I made do with a packet of crisps and supped my pint of Thwaites, waiting patiently for the certainty of death along with the other afternoon regulars.
How many holes are there in Blackburn, Lancashire? Maybe that’s the wrong question…
This post’s weblink reminds me of finding Jilted John on cassette in a field and having evicted the nest of earwigs, playing Gordon is a Moron to destruction on a friend’s state-of-the-art ‘music centre’ – http://www.youtube.com/newfaces73?gl=GB&hl=en-GB#p/u/0/wscAmw0u2-o