The ‘Lakeland Revival’

For a few weeks now, reports have been filtering around concerning some interesting – indeed, ‘special’ – goings on in a place called Lakeland.  Now, not all of us are as up to speed as my good self, so I thought I’d shed some light on behalf of the uninformed.  Whether or not this is a true ‘revival’ is, of course, open to conjecture, but there is no doubt that increasing numbers of devout followers are being affected by what is going on, and therefore it is worth giving up some of my Sunday night to comment on.

Lakeland is a small shop in central Exeter, and for many years now it has been providing its customers with high quality kitchenware and associated products.  The manager and senior staff had always considered their store ‘a good place to come’, commanding a small but committed community of regulars.  That was until earlier this year.

“It was around about the Whitsun bank holiday,” remembers Mrs T Bentley, assistant manager, “and I had just transferred from the Newton Abbot branch.  I don’t think I did anything much different that day, just arranged the new ‘altar’ range of bowls in the window, put up some horse’s bells and opened up for the day.  But the hunger of the people for high quality, well-designed kitchenware at reasonable prices was such that we’ve had to open the store up for special ‘overflow’ sessions on weekday evenings.  I’d heard of things like this happening before – they felt like long-distant stories, but now we’re in the middle of one of them!”

Mrs Bentley’s eyes fill with tears as she speaks – tears of joy.  And she is not the only one who is happy.  Todd Florida, Lakeland’s regional sales director, is pleased as well.

“Initially – and to everyone’s surprise – this great influx of people did not really translate itself into increased sales,” he says, looking at a wall chart.  “But we believe that this shortfall may have been due to the numbers of people falling to the ground as they strove to approach the checkout – the experience seems to have been too much for some of them to handle.  But as the days and weeks have passed with ever-increasing levels of zeal and fervency, large numbers have come to visit the store, many travelling impressive distances.  We have seen in them a great desire not only to engage with the unique Lakeland shopping experience, but to take some of our unique designs back home with them to share with their local communities.  In this way, people in many different locations in the West Country and around the world have been touched by what is going on here.”

In recent times, many have despaired of the retail sector, declaring it out of date and irrelevant to normal people’s lives, but this sales revival shows no sign of slowing – indeed, it is spreading.  Already, new stores carrying the Lakeland brand have been planted in other towns and cities and are reporting similar scenes as have been witnessed in Exeter.  The group’s website is also generating astronomical numbers of hits.  But not everyone is happy.

“I have been a regular here for years,” said Mary Rowe, a local politician.  “Week in, week out.  I was here before this ‘revival’, and I’ll still be coming when it’s all finished and forgotten.  I just wish people would stop trying to interview me and let me get on with my shopping.”

A Poem About Tithing!

[I just found this a few minutes ago – written in a slightly grumpy mood in a church service once upon a time.  Not too many songs on this subject!]

                                       I don’t believe in tithing,
                                    In chopping of a tenth of me
                                      And making it an offering,
                                         Cos it’ll be dead then,
                       And this is supposed to be a living sacrifice.

                                          Jesus didn’t do that,
                                  Didn’t lay down a pint of blood
                                     For the forgiveness of sins.
                                             It was all of him,
                                              And then alive.

Stonkingly Good Cereal

Like so many contemporary humans starved of affirmation, I save text messages that encourage me.  For example, on the 10th of October last year, I got one from ‘Miss Blyon’ saying:

                                           Stonkingly good cereal mix mr. Rowe!

Now, as that might have told you, I’m kind of a master-chef when it comes to mixing cereals together to create something uniquely new and thrilling, yet nutritious and satisfying (as I re-realised last night when needing something starchy after my football match).  So, rather than hiding it under a bushel, I thought I’d share what depth of understanding I have so far garnered.


A really good container – V important.  Mine is glass with an airtight lid.
A big bowl – Important.  Steep sided, like you use for eating noodles.  No messing around with shallow ones.
A big spoon – Likewise.
Milk – Well obviously.  I use semi-skimmed.


Good quality ‘base’ – I use crunchy oat cereals, preferably with dried papaya and stuff in.
Something sweet/chocolatey – Coco Pops, Pecan Crunch, whatever.  Quality not important.
Cheap muck – It’s surprising how good rubbish cereals become when juxtaposed in a mix.
A proper good shaking.

And the best thing is that because you’re adding new ingredients all the time, you are constantly in a state of change – a perpetually new, never-before-seen combination of flavours.  Never the same breakfast twice.

a wonderful opportunity to laugh at both americans AND lawyers

A lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina purchased a box of 24 very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them, amongst other things, against fire. Within a month, having smoked all the cigars and without having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the lawyer filed a claim with the insurance company.

In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost ‘in a series of small fires’.  The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason: he had caused the small fires in the normal fashion. The lawyer sued the company, and WON.

In delivering the ruling the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. Nevertheless, he stated that the lawyer held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what it considered to be ‘unacceptable fire’.  It was therefore obliged to pay the claim.  Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for the loss of the rare cigars in the ‘fires’.

But then, after the lawyer cashed the cheque, the insurance company had him arrested; on 24 counts of ARSON.  With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000.00 fine.