In this blogposting...
*Information Needed...
*Things You didn’t Know You Didn’t Know
*In Memoriam
Now, read on, Macduff...

I have been informed - by a source I generally consider to be impeccable - that the World Pie Eating Championships were held at Wigan (where else?) in December. Unfortunately, my source (whose name I am concealing to protect the innocent) is refusing to tell me who won and - perhaps most importantly - how many pies he/she managed to consume to achieve the victory.

The event (should its existence prove to be a reality rather then the result of my friend’s fevered truckshuntery) has also inspired me to get the old grey cells a-moving. How whacko! would it be for us to sponsor a logic-defying world championshiop of our very own. Custard pie throwing. Poetry reading. Swimming through treacle. Trainspotting.

I’d better stop and take a tablet.

Over to you.

As everybody must know by now - and as you can see from the picture above (courtesy of Vivienne and murphyanddorastravels.blogspot.com) - AGM XII took place at the Centre for Life in Newcastle on Saturday 23 January. The absence of a couple of hardcore truckshunters was more than made up for by the attendance of no fewer than three AGM virgins.

The formidable - and previously mysterious - Ellie journeyed all the way in from Seaton Delaval to make sure that her year can only get better from hereon in. It was great to be able to put a face to the name and to have her seated where she truly belongs - at the head of the table. Thanks for your lovely comment to blog 188, Ellie. Come back soon. And all our truckshunting love to your cats!

My friend Sue was visiting me from Hereford for a few days and decided to tag along to the AGM as well. I am glad to say that I’ve received a bulletin from the Hereford and District Home for the Suddenly Bewildered that - apart from occasional nightmares - Sue is recovering steadily and should be out if hospital within a few months, provided a suitably caring and sympathetic environment can be found for her.

Perhaps the most surprising visitor of all was the redoubtable Michael Poulter. Apart from the flawed genius that is Paul Wappat, Michael is the first of my ex-colleagues to pluck up the idiocy to attend an AGM and, to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the last. His attendance was worth its weight in solid platinum, if only because I got to find out that the overnight show on BBC Radio Newcastle - which has been non-stop music since I left a year ago - now has more listeners than it had when I was at the helm.

Talk about crestfallen. Any more news like that and I think I might join Sue in the Hereford and District Home for the Suddenly Bewildered. All that work - for nothing!

Vivienne, Hildie, Maureen and Lawrence made up the disparate group of truckshunters who enjoyed themselves immensely - as usual. My thanks to them - and everyone else - for taking my troubled mind off the audience figures. I haven’t slept since. I’ve been forcing myself to listen to the overnight programme on BBC Radio Newcastle, thus increasing its audience even more. How’s that for irony? (Or should that be ‘paradox’? What’s the difference?)

The next truckshunter mustering will take place at 1100 on Friday 19 February at the cafe in the new Central Library in Newcastle. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Maureen has forwarded a genius email to me called Revenge on the Telemarketer. In case you haven’t seen it....

Three Little Words That Work!!

The three little words: 'Hold On, Please...' 
Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of hanging-up immediately) would make each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that boiler room sales would grind to a halt. 

Then when you eventually hear BT's 'beep-beep-beep' tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset....you have efficiently completed your task. 

These three little words could help eliminate telephone soliciting. 

Do you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end?

This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone. 
This technique is then used to determine the best time of day for a 'real' salesperson to call back and get someone at home.

What you can do after answering: If you notice there is no one there, is to immediately start hitting your # button on the phone, 6 or 7 times, as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialled the call and it kicks your number out of their system. Gosh, what a shame not to have your name in their system any longer!!! 

When you get those 'pre-approved' letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope. 

Most of these come with postage-prepaid return envelopes, right? 
It costs them more than the regular postage IF and when they are returned. It costs them nothing if you throw them away!
In that case, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little, postage-prepaid return envelopes. 
Send an advert for your local chimney sweeper to American Express... they might need one! 
Send a pizza coupon to HSBC... in case their canteen packs up. You get the idea. 

If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them back their blank application form.... after all, it is their form! 
If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you return. 

You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing! It still costs them, and it is their envelope after all… you are just returning it!!!! 

The banks and credit card companies are currently getting a lot of their own junk back in the post, but folks....we need to OVERWHELM them, in order to stop them. 

Let's let them know what it's like to get lots of junk mail, and best of all they're paying for it...Twice! 

Let's help keep Royal Mail busy. Since the Royal Mail is saying that e-mail is cutting into their business profits, let's help them so they will not need to increase postage costs again.
You get the idea! 
If enough people follow these tips, it will work ---- maybe you'll get very little junk mail anymore.

I’ve put this into practise already. The feeling of smug self-satisfaction is incredible. Try it.

*There is a general for every 415 men in the Army
*Every Scot drinks the equivalent of 46 bottles of vodka each year
*2 houses in every 1,000 in the UK still depend on an outside toilet
*20% of British children think that bacon comes from sheep
*8 out of 10 of the dirtiest hotels in Europe are in England
*The dinosaur sinosauropteryx was ginger-coloured
*The world’s oldest bible - now in a Florentine museum - was written by the scribes of Jarrow and Wearmouth
*Henry Travers - the wonderful actor who played Clarence the angel in It’s A Wonderful Life - was born in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

In the everyday hurlyburly of your exciting truckshunting lives, please spare a thought for Pernell Roberts, who has died aged 81. He played the part of Adam Cartwright in Bonanza.

And don’t forget Bobby Charles, who has died aged 71. He wrote See You Later, Alligator.

And finally, our thoughts should fly to Edwina, Britain’s oldest duck, who has died aged 22.

When I started this blog half a lifetime ago, I never for a moment imagined that I would end up commemorating the death of a duck.

...the last time I looked, this blog had 15 followers. It now has 14. Which rat has deserted this particular sinking ship?

Post comments on this blog or email me: truckshunters@googlemail.com


Vivienne said...

Hi Ian,

Many thanks for your new posting, and for giving murphyanddorastravels.blogspot.com a mention. Sid and Maureen are my only 'regulars' on M&D these days.

I'm sorry but I'm booked for more dental treatment on 19th Feb, so won't be able to attend the next AGM. My dentist says I need a new crown costing £300. All my pension is going on dental treatment..... I'm not joking either! I hope you have a lovely time, and that I see you at the next AGM.

I hope Sue is making a speedy recovery. I could tell she was suffering although putting on a brave face. Her nervous twitches grew worse as the day progressed, until she went into a complete catatonic shut down!!! That's what happens when a lovely, sensible woman like Sue receives a massive overdose of Truckshunters!!!

Sid said...

Sorry to hear of your dental treatment Vivienne. Why these dentists want a Rolls Royce so badly I'll never know!
There was turmoil at the pie eating competition at Harry's Bar in Wigan.
The sole woman competitor stormed out, and officials banned gravy after rumours of doping with cough mixture.
Drama engulfed the bar after Wigan pies were excluded in favour of Adlington pies.
Contestants had been practising for weeks on the soft Wigan pies.
At the last moment they were substituted with the larger, brittle pies 4.7 inches in diameter.
The winner was......an outsider, Barry Rigby. In true Truckshunter style he explained it's not the size of the pie, it's how you eat it that counts. My thoughts exactly.

mim said...


I am a lass from Lancashire and lived about 3 miles from Wigan. Why do pies in Wigan have a hole in the top?

So you can pick up 4 at once with one hand.

I have to say I miss the pies there and when I go back I always buy one as a treat!

Love Margaret x

Its my birthday today!!

Hildie said...

Ian ... you sound full of the joys of Spring! That there is a brilliant bit of blogging, I do still enjoy reading your postings ... love your vocab!!
Margaret ... hello again!
And Happy Birthday!
Only yesterday, I was perusing birthday cards ... I picked up a really lovely one and was about to buy it until I saw what was written inside - HAVE A AMAZING BIRTHDAY it said. It reminded me of that Driving School car I saw with PASS YOUR TEST IN A AUTOMATIC
emblazoned on the side of it. What's wrong with the world?!
I shouldn't let it get to me, should I?
Anyway, have an amazing birthday, Margaret!

Sid said...

Happy Birthday Margaret.

As part of a college course my grandson was 'frisked' by a female police officer yesterday. He described the experience as 'mint'. It's a whole new world out there Hildie!.

Now this IS making me smile...when Ian asks "which rat has deserted this particular sinking ship" does that mean the others are, by implication, also rats?

The Paper Boy said...

Tis I that have stopped following - but I'm still following (if you see what I mean)...

On the subject of pie-eating champs - they changed the formula a while back (2006 I think it was - on the grounds of healthy eating) from "eat as many pies as you can" to "eat a pie as fast as you can". This year's competition was won by Barry Rigby, a warehouseman won, scoffing a pie in 45 secs (the current record is under 36 secs).

Alison said...

Hi Ian & all

Re listeners to on the nightshift - remember there is a difference between quantity and quality!

I liked the things you did not know you did not know - when I read the one about the army, in my head I thought and for every two staff in the public sector, one manager and for every manager, 10 consultants to assist in the event of the need to make a decision.

Kind regards to all


Maureen said...

So now we know who ate all (of!) the pies!
Ian, I wouldn't give those figures a second thought. As we said at the AGM, Ian got the majority of his listeners online because of the time it went out and apparently they don't count. They only get the figures by a selection of people filling in a form saying what they've been listening to, so stand for nothing I reckon!
Have a lovely day Margaret.

Leroy La Strange said...

Hi Guys n Guyettes,

How do they know how many are listening? ............ Hmmm!

Has anyone ever wondered who "they " are when people say "They say" while describing something or to add weight to a subject..... example.. "They say 9 out of ten cats prefer eating mice"

Just a thought...I really should get out more.

Sid said...

The junk mail item...
I get lots of surveys sent to me, goodness knows why. I NEVER tell the truth, it's part of the fun. Adding a few thousand pound to my income, lowering my age, changing religion now and again, the possibilities are endless. I'm even pleasant to the Jehovas Witness people who knock at my door...It doesn't half confuse them.

Maureen said...

What a great idea Sid. You do realise that you are messing up the national statisics? and what a pity that would be...
Has anyone noticed how dark it's gone in here? I'm off to get a torch...

Sid said...

When the papers do these polls....and Gordon Brown smiles a lot...should I tell him?

The Paper Boy said...

Tell him what? It's not like his ears work.

Anyway - he's not the most unpopular leader in the EU by a long chalk - the IRish PM has just had a massive 5% positive leap in his popularity to 19%... so Glass-eyed Gordon can't even get unpopular right.

Maureen said...

Yes but where do 'they' get their figures from? Ever felt like you are on the Magic Roundabout???

Vivienne said...

Happy birthday Margaret. I hope you've had a super day.

I'm glad you owned up to being the rat that sort of left the sinking ship, Paper Boy, as I've been pondering over who had left since Ian brought it to our attention.

Now Sid may not tell the truth in surveys, but he's not the only one who stretches the truth is he Paper Boy? 253 years old??? Love the photo by the way.

Vivienne said...

Hi Michael,

Ian will be pleased he's back to having 15 Followers again. It's good to see you're keeping an eye on us.

Jimbo said...

Hi Ian

Glad to see your post On here and not your junk mail. I was worried about you with such a long gap. It's good to note you are still in such good form. As I live in Edinburgh AGM's prove difficult.

Keep up the good work


Hildie said...

Hi Jimbo ....
we are a curious lot ....
we are very, very glad we have a Truckshunter in Edinburgh ....
but how did you ever stumble upon us?!!

Hildie said...

Happy Birthday, Ellie !!
x x x

Maureen said...

Nice to see some new faces on here,some familiar, some not, although I think I recognise you as emailers to Ian during the nightshift? You're welcome anyway and Happy Birthday Ellie..now how did Miss Hildie Marples find that one?

Ellie said...

Thank you for Birthday wishes - I've ended the day by reading Ian's wonderful blog (except the embarrasing bit about moi!!!) He does have the gift, doesn't he? I will try to be at the next AGM. Regarding 'Listener figures' - some plonker at the BEEB is justifying the decision to remove a remarkably interesting broadcaster with worldwide listeners to save money by plonking on constant music and telling us all that the figures are up!! Rubbish methinks....Educated Idiot methinks.....will shut up now x x x

Vivienne said...

Hi Ellie,

Hope you had a lovely birthday. I'm sure you are correct about someone at the Beeb saying the figures are up - to justify his very bad decision to remove Ian and the Nightshift.

Maureen said...

Can I just wish my favourite couple a happy birthday for today? Tom and Jerry 70 today! They're not doing badly are they? and probably considered so politically uncorrect, brilliant!