Ever wondered what it's like to run a small, independent hardware shop in a little town? Ever thought about what challenges that would throw up? Like when the main competitor is an absolute idiot and the council is intent on ruining what little trade there might be? The look no further than this book.
Anecdotes that are all amusing with a strong plot that takes you through the banks vying for your head and the changing demands of the high street. Characters who are real and interesting.
A great read and quite impossible to put down! I just wish there were more DIY shops like this still.
This fictionalised memoir is based on some true stories and revolves around the survival of a high street hardware store.
Initially sceptical I was soon drawn into the battles that the owners, staff and `The Accountant' go through to ensure that the shop does not go under.
There are multiple layers to this book and it reflects so many aspects of our changing society, especially the greed and short-sightedness of banks and local councils.
Graham's writing is superb and his characterisations of the people are intimate and amusing at the same time. One of my favourite chapters involved the owner and apprentice's unusual trip to the seaside and the play on words around the gnomes they discovered.
An intriguing and fascinating book which you cannot fail to enjoy.
I hate DIY with a vengeance – the Black and Decker power drill my best man gave me at my wedding 20 years ago is still sitting unopened in my shed – but I had no problem reading and laughing my head off about it in this wonderfully warm and funny account of a local hardware shop going under somewhere ‘opp north’ in Little Sniffingham. It’s a very topical story – the last shop like Graham’s in my native Kingston upon Thames was also forced out by unsympathetic banks, parking charges and anonymous chain stores a year ago – and a sad one too, since I can’t buy a 100 watt light bulb anywhere now (Wickes and B & Q are not allowed to sell them) except…erm…at my local newsagent. So what of the book itself? Well, it’s as cheeky as its title, and features a stellar cast of characters including the prophetic and mouse-retrieving M.D. (could see Ronnie Barker playing him, a real Arkwright from Open All Hours), hapless apprentice Greville (a likely David Jason from the same series), punky and pierced Sapphire, blunt and ever-cheerful ex-actress Sharon, and of course the much put upon but ever (except for one occasion) sanguine Graham himself. What a great sit-com this would make, the humour is so visual and the gags just keep a coming. Highlights for me were Rita’s prune nipples, Trace’s battery-operated rabbits, Greville’s heroics with an aerosol glue can, Sharon’s fab one-liners like “I can spot a bloke with reptile dysfunction at fifty paces”, and of course the shop Christmas do which had me literally falling off my chair. “It’s nobbut a twig,” says the M.D. when shown Rita’s attempt at a Christmas tree. “I’ve got bigger bristles on my chin!” “There’s no such thing as a happy ending”, Graham tells Greville when his curious assistant asks why he is jotting down notes for a memoir, but he’s wrong. At the end of this book I was smiling from ear to ear.