Look at it this way - January 20, 2012

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Nostalgia ain’t what it was.

If Past Times is permitted to close by administrators I, for one, will lament its passing.

It’s been a fine source of Morley memorabilia...last year I bought most of my younger brother Robert’s gifts for his 50th birthday at Fleetwood’s Freeport outlet.

With the aid of black marker pen the Magic Robot became the Magic Robert – although the magnetic rod said to point unerringly to the answers wavered in a decidedly wonky fashion after the no frills flight to the south of France where my brother now lives.

All the old favourites were there – even his beloved Klangers. Not my time, I was more Sparky and the Magic Piano, Torchy Battery Boy, the Woodentops and Watch with Mother. I even bagged a bagatelle for my mum in memory of the year we outed Santa and helper bearing a much bigger version of the game rattling noisily down from the attic.

It’s a shame a shopping chain which celebrates the past faces hard times itself. Of course, it’s a sign of the times. Past Times is not alone. Bon Marche, beloved of older ladies with its sensibly priced sweaters and smart blouses and skirts of many colours, is under threat since the bank British taxpayers bailed out – the Royal Bank of Scotland – pulled out of talks to help save parent company Peacocks.

I’ve had a soft spot for Bon Marche since being rescued by five elderly shoppers from the Cleveleys branch, materialising at my side like Disney fairies, in coats of many colours, blue, green, yellow and so on, after one of my regular drop attacks (pre-pacemaker clinic days) outside the nearby Halifax branch.

They fluttered about me, rescuing handbag, bank notes and finally me. Now if that had happened outside a bank they may have fluttered past. Some names are to be cherished. Woollies were one such. So much history gone. Barely a week goes by without another familiar name lost.

And surely taxpayers would rather see the 83 per cent state-owned RBS supporting stores which are trading profitably – even if the parent company carries debt – rather than give £4.3m to the head of their troubled investment banking division in April? If we’re stake holders do we not get a say in who we save?

Perhaps we should all take heed of those cheery wartime messages still sold in Past Times – Keep Calm and Carry On. (Particularly if you haven’t got a lifeboat to fall into – while up the creek sans paddle.)

On an equally gloomy note Boris Johnson announces a new Thames Estuary airport, the Government backs a high speed rail link between Birmingham and London (there goes electrification for our Blackpool cul de sac rail line) while here in the North West we get fracking, gas storage and plans for a massive underground nuclear storage dump in Cumbria.

Forget independence for Scotland. Let’s have a referendum on it for the North West.