Thamensian: ‘Not all fun and games if we’ve got no toy shop’

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THERE is a man who walks down our street and regularly allows his dog to foul the pavement right outside my house.

To be fair, I haven’t actually caught them doing it so it could be a lady. But I do suspect it’s a dog.

I was starting to think it was personal and someone was protesting about something I had written but then remembered that I am anonymous on this page so, in theory, people don’t know who I am (well done to a Mr Carr of Thame for working it out last week by the way).

It isn’t too hard to figure out really especially when I keep giving my gender and age away ...

When I was a BOY I used to love Subbuteo. Myself and my best friend Richard Thomson used to have a little league and would spend hours flicking the little football figures around the baize cloth that constituted the pitch.

We had league tables, we had numbers on the bases so we could keep tabs on the top scorers and we even had the floodlights just in case there was an unexpected power cut.

We would take turns to spend our pocket money in the Pied Pedaller on all the accessories. TV gantries, scoreboards, throw in takers, even plastic supporters long before the MK Dons invented them.

I loved going into that shop. I am not talking about the later Pied Pedaller which served the town for years and is now the library. I am talking about the original toy shop which was at the bottom of the High Street and is now an off-license.

To my junior eyes it was an Aladdin’s cave full of toys, games and bikes hanging at the ideal height to smack your head on.

Obviously it was way too small but that created a sort of ‘Old Curiosity Shop’ effect because smaller pocket money toys were tucked away in corners and shelves where you had to discover them rather than find them on purpose. By the time the shop moved to bigger premises I was also moving on.

Richard and I were by now telling our mums we were going to eachother’s houses to play Subbuteo but actually disguising our voices and spending our nights in the corner of the Rising Sun. The newer Pied Pedaller wasn’t needed until I had children of my own and I hope it holds similar happy memories for them to my own memories of the original.

All of which leads me on to the main point of this page this week (yes, there is one). I went past the Spinning Top toy shop at the weekend and couldn’t help but notice it was empty and a prominent ‘To Let’ sign was hanging outside.

I don’t want to presuppose too much in case they are relocating elsewhere in town and need bigger premises. I hope so. If not then Thame is left without a toy shop and I think that is really sad. It’s not all fun and games you know.