In this edition of Tenbury Wells against Tesco supermarkets we flit joyously back to the year 2011 and look at a plan the town put together to try and ward off the planned Death Star.
As the spectre of the global retail giant Tesco loomed large over the small yet perfectly formed town of Tenbury Wells the inhabitants were busy plotting. The now disused auction yard was for sale and although Tesco had become front runners for the site by bribing the relevant officials with cash and processed meat snacks of questionable origin there was still a chance that a project of suitable merit could steal in and secure the land.
In the gloomy shadows of the ‘Town in the Orchard’ a group of ‘White knights’ was established which consisted of local business owners, proactive townspeople and the jewel in the crown Mrs Margaret Austin (yes, THAT Margaret Austin. The celebrity). This special collective had to come up with a scheme that would bring more revenue and traffic to the town than a new Tesco supermarket, quite a challenge in itself but one that was made doubly hard by the impending closure of the the Teme bridge.
Three successive meetings had produced very little material for the group to work with as the distraction of working with Margaret was proving too much for some people and the lollipop lady turned poet found herself spending the evening reciting her entire back catalogue. On the evening of the fourth meeting as the group moved into their second hour of stalemate and Margaret was three verses into “You can’t make a kettle out of apples” one member of the group stood bolt upright and shrieked “lets give Tenbury a safari park”. The room stood to a man and entered into simultaneous applause. Margaret herself quietened the crowd down and as she has done so often over the years played devils advocate. A safari park wasn’t quite the right option as Tenbury relies on the Teme bridge for access and the huge volume of traffic that a safari park would bring could put this system under unbearable pressure. Margaret had the answer in a flash though, a safari park was almost right, a Zoo would be perfect. That night they carried Margaret out on their shoulders and drank 4 of the Teme Street pubs dry. A slightly inebriated chant could be heard as the last stragglers left the vaults;
“This old girl, she chose one,
She’ll build a zoo for everyone;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Tenbury needs a zoo,
Tesco shops all smell of poo”
The gang had already planned a compulsory purchases of suitable land
For two days the project was planned and discussed but however the team tried to manipulate the finances they just couldn’t make it work. The kind of animals they needed in order to make the Zoo an important tourist attraction were not cheap. The Internet was trawled and even http://www.cheaparcticfoxes.ie couldn’t provide the kind of value required, for a basic pair of breeding ring tail lemurs the going rate was in excess of $3,000. Inspiration was required and just like every other ‘town in trouble as global retail giant looks to muscle their way in only for something outlandish to happen and save the underdog’ story it arrived in a very unlikely form.
As the farmers drifted out of the pubs following a successful days market trading a very shady looking character shimmied into the tourist information office and put his cards on the table. After an arduous game of snap the mysterious chap said he had come to make a deal with the townsfolk and for just £7,016 he could help them make the zoo dream become reality. The apple logo was beamed into the sky ‘a la Thundercats’ and within minutes an emergency meeting was taking place between the white knights and this intriguing fellow. He demanded payment upfront but wouldn’t reveal any details of how the animals would be delivered. The knights were desperate so they paid the rogue and agreed to meet him on the centre circle of the Tenbury football club pitch in 5 days time.
D-day arrived and at dawn the meeting took place, the trader had 5 animal pens and a bag. Inside the bag was some seeds and an instructions Manual for a ‘grow your own zoo’ an even though this wasn’t ideal it was all they had to try and help them ward off the evil Tesco so they shook hands And made the payment.
Once the man had gone they began opening the pens and suddenly things didn’t look so rosy. In Pen 1 was a badly disabled pig, labelled as a ‘Viatnemese pot belly’. True enough the belly did scrape along the floor, but this was where the similarities ended.
Pot bellied pig? No.
In pen 2 was a crumpled giraffe which try as they might the gang couldn’t get to stay upright. They tried tent poles, starch and even Viagra but all to no avail.
Not even Viagra or Cialis could help this wee chap.
In pen 3 was an owl which on the face of it seemed a healthy addition. On closer inspection it was without ears and this would of course render it completely useless, an owl with no ears is just like a bicycle with no tyres.
An Owl with no ears is like a swordfish with no fish. Just sword. A sword.
The note on the top of pen 4 said “wild cat” and as they carefully prised the cage open the gang began to get excited. Could this be a snow leopard? Might it be a Bengal Tiger? Dare they dream it was an ocelot? No.
Wild cat? No. Hungover cat? yes.
The final pen was no better, the label claimed a zebra would be inside but once again only disappointment emerged when the lid was removed. A painted cow was all that lay in wait.
Zebra? Is it? really?
The gang were dismayed but not beaten, they still had the seeds for ‘grow your own zoo’ and as this was their last chance they planted them immediately and set about finding the required elements. Within 24 minutes of planting they had to water the seeds with the tears of a unicorn, then repeat every 5 hours for a week. The first animals would be hatched as dusk fell on the 8th day……..
The only thing that might foil the White Knights plan is that they didn’t EXACTLY have a Unicorn
Look out for part 2 to see what the hell these magic seeds produced.