Smokin’ Beestonia.

It’s been a very busy day for myself and my very talented assistant, Mr Fox, interviewing for both the Local Politics blog and The Beestonian. The latter was particularly fascinating, chatting to the couple who ran the long-lamented Pet Mart for thirty-odd years before Tesco arrived and it was swept into the bulldozer’s scoop.

Still, I had a little moment yesterday I have to get off my chest: but fear not: I’m not about to launch into ranty polemic. It’s just a tale I was told that the more I think about it, the better it gets. It’s a fable worthy of Aesop, but with a distinctly Beestonian smear of surrealism.

It starts with me in the aforementioned Tesco buying ciggies. Now, two excuses. One, Tesco was the only place open at the time nearby. Two, I don’t smoke, I was buying for Lady Beestonia, who is still enslaved to the carcinogenic wares of Ken Clarke.

As such, I stumble over the name of her precise brand. ‘I forget the names’ I told the woman serving ‘I gave up about two years ago’

‘Bet you’ve saved a fortune’ she replied. I examined the loose change I’d grubbed together to buy the tabs, and replied ‘Nah. I spend it on other stuff. Should have put it in a jar’. She nodded.

‘A friend of mine did that. He wanted this piece of kit for his car, but it was far too expensive. So he gave up smoking, and saved the cash. Took him ages, but finally he got it together, walked down the shop to buy it, and discovered he’d actually saved too much: it’s dropped in price a few quid.’

I exclaimed that was a bonus, and how much I admired this chap’s willpower. ‘What did he spend the extra cash on?’ I asked.

‘A fresh pack of fags. Makes sense really.’

It really does, in some bizarre way.