Give thanks for get­ting a ham­mer­ing

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Panto Time -

It’s be­gin­ning to look a lot like Christmas, with Christmas lights glow­ing on the dark nights and Santa’s grotto set up in Park Mall. But be­fore we could get into the fes­tive spirit, we had to get through the strange day now known as “Black Fri­day”, a day where re­tail­ers give dis­counts to cus­tomers.

Our near-neigh­bours at the YMCA char­ity shop were cer­tainly ea­ger to get in on the ac­tion, even advertising in their win­dows that their sale would start a day early... on Thurs­day.

We sup­pose that you can’t blame char­ity and in­de­pen­dent shops us­ing what­ever tools they can to boost busi­ness, es­pe­cially at a time when con­sumers ap­pear re­luc­tant to part with their cash.

Yet Black Fri­day is meant to be a ges­ture of good­will fol­low­ing Thanks­giv­ing in the United States.

We’ve al­ready im­ported Hal­loween cel­e­bra­tions which have rather usurped our tra­di­tional Bon­fire Night. One can only hope that Thanks­giv­ing isn’t about to leave Guy Fawkes sand­wiched be­tween two Amer­i­can fes­tiv­i­ties.

At any rate, it would mean two lots of turkey and serv­ings of brus­sels sprouts, so hope­fully it won’t catch on! Stay­ing with the grumpy fes­tive theme, we re­ceived an email about “shock­ing fillers” from Hous­ton PR. They were look­ing for the worst pos­si­ble stock­ing fillers, and in­cluded things like coal in the past, but that has ap­par­ently been re­placed by bat­ter­ies.

Other items on the list ap­par­ently in­clude a tin of spaghetti and sausages, out of date Kit Kats, ho­tel conditioner, and a pa­per­back guide to par­ent­ing.

But none of th­ese are as bad as our re­porter Dan Wright’s sug­ges­tion for fel­low re­porter Aidan Bar­low’s stock­ing filler.

The West Ham fan sug­gested a signed pic­ture of for­mer Ham­mers player David Unsworth from the old au­to­graph shop at the De­signer Out­let might make the grade.

Mr Unsworth, aka Rhino, made the ma­jor­ity of his play­ing ap­pear­ances for Aidan’s team Everton, and is cur­rently the care­taker man­ager at the club. And fi­nally, staff at Ash­ford’s County Ho­tel in the lower high street are feel­ing flush af­ter the venue won ac­claim for the qual­ity and stan­dards of its toi­lets in the Loo of the Year Awards 2017.

The pub has been awarded a plat­inum star rat­ing by in­spec­tors –the high­est pos­si­ble in the awards which aim at high­light and im­prove stan­dards of ‘away from home’ toi­lets across the UK.

Loo of the Year in­spec­tors visit thou­sands of toi­lets across the UK and the plat­inum rat­ing only goes to venues which of­fer “ex­cep­tional toi­lets”.

The cri­te­ria in­clude dé­cor and main­te­nance, clean­li­ness, ac­ces­si­bil­ity, hand wash­ing and dry­ing equip­ment and over­all man­age­ment.

County Ho­tel man­ager Christina Danger­field said: “We are de­lighted with the award. Staff at the pub en­sure the toi­lets are in first-class con­di­tion at all times and it is great that this has been recog­nised by the in­spec­tors.”

The Black Fri­day sale at YMCA char­ity shop in Ash­ford started on Thurs­day; David Unsworth is cur­rently the Everton care­taker man­ager. He played for the club, but also had a stint as a West Ham player. Right, the award-win­ning toi­lets at Ash­ford’s...

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