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Customer Review

12 January 2015
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.
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