The Thing Is with Steve Canavan - October 20, 2016

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It’s amazing how one little incident can make a week.

Up until Tuesday nothing of note had happened.

I had visited my mother - she had bought two cardigans in the Marks and Spencer sale and wanted advice on which best suited her figure (‘be honest, do my bosoms look too big in this one?’) - been forced to accompany Mrs Canavan to Tesco (‘I’m five months pregnant, how can I possibly be expected to carry the shopping?’), and filled in a Fylde council electoral registration form.

In other words, my week had been about as exhilarating as cleaning the inside of a cupboard with a damp J-cloth while listening to a Leonard Cohen album.

But then on Tuesday we went to the chippy and a rather splendid thing happened, namely a woman in the queue went berserk and flung her chips everywhere.

The women - who looked fairly normal (mousy hair, teeth slightly too large for her mouth, a wooden leg that dragged on the floor when she walked) - was just being served when I strolled in, and I heard her ask for fish, chips and peas.

A few moments later, the young lad behind the counter handed over her food. It was exactly what she’d asked for - chips and fish in a styrofoam tray with mushy peas on top.

‘What’s this?’ she said, in a tone that couldn’t have been more indignant had a stranger knocked on her front door and asked to use the toilet.

“It’s your order,” said the young lad, looking slightly concerned, as if he had an inkling that this could be a tricky exchange.

‘It’s not my order,’ she barked. ‘I ordered fish and chips and I wanted the peas separately. I didn’t want the peas plonked on top of the fish. Look at it? Who’d eat that? It looks dreadful.’

This was slightly melodramatic. I mean a leg broken in three places after a road traffic accident or the death of a small child is dreadful; mushy peas on some fish and chips is, at best, mildly disturbing.

The rest of the fish and chip shop queue - which consisted of me, an elderly couple on a day trip from Cleethorpes, and a sensitive-looking teenage lad with a ring through his nose and a T-shirt saying ‘Save the Arctic: Icebergs Won’t Last Forever’ - held our breath, waiting to see what would happen next.

In fairness to the young lad serving, he didn’t back down.

Clearly not a fan of the old adage the customer is always right, he said, “to be fair, you didn’t specify that you wanted the mushy peas wrapped separately so I wasn’t to know.”

He said it politely, but the woman reared up like a cobra and looked as if she might rip his eye sockets out with her fingernails.

‘What?’ she screamed, hysterically.

The teenager beside me attempting to save the Arctic looked petrified and took several paces back.

‘Do you think I’m going stand here and be lectured to about how I want my fish and chips?’ she shrieked and then - in what was quite the most magnificent moment I have ever experienced in a chippy - reached over the counter, picked up the parcel containing her tea, and hurled it at the chap behind the counter. The peas landed with a satisfying splodge on his white apron and began slowly sliding onto the floor, the woman shouted ‘idiot’ and marched from the premises, and the elderly couple from Cleethorpeks gasped and stood open-mouthed.

It was only later that I realised had I filmed the whole episode on my mobile phone it would have got a shedload of hits on Youtube.

I can only assume the woman was either having a very bad day or that she is very precious about how her mushy peas are served.

Either way, I must thank her for enlivening my week.

It was slightly embarrassing being next in line to be served though.

“Can I have the haddock and chips,” I said to the lad as he dabbed at his midriff with some kitchen roll, “and, erm, some mushy peas please”, at which he shot me a funny look and asked if I wanted them wrapped separately.

Anyone want a ticket? I’ve got spare...

I have spent the last couple of weeks involved in a dispute with the online ticket firm Ticketmaster.

Months ago I bought - or thought I’d bought - four tickets to see a concert in Manchester, but, looking again the other week, couldn’t find any confirmation email or evidence of the money leaving my bank account.

So I rang Ticketmaster, who, after various checks, told me I definitely hadn’t purchased tickets from them.

As a result I rang the venue direct - the Bridgewater Hall - and ordered four more tickets … then the next day I got home from work to discover an envelope through the post from Ticketmaster containing four tickets.

It meant I now had eight tickets for the concert at £30 a pop.

I tried to sell them to others but unfortunately the artist I’m going to see is a 73-year-old American folk singer and when you say to people ‘would you like a ticket to see a 73-year-old American folk singer?’ they tend to reply along the line of, ‘sorry but I’ve got to worm the cat that evening’.

Ticketmaster say they have no trace of my call (the call where they told me I hadn’t bought tickets) - which is very handy for them - but I’m not giving in just yet.

The battle will continue - there’s 120 quid at stake.