Cigarette and tobacco display in newsagent

I hate to say this, readers, but I’m thinking of getting out. Easter has always been a rather fallow time for me, what with all the Labour MPs celebrating Passover in their own special way and the Tories either shooting their own bunnies or popping over to tend their modest chocolate estates in the Caribbean.

But pickings have been even leaner than usual. Now, I’m not one to gripe, but I’m beginning to harbour a suspicion that politicians’ protracted and systematic campaign of psychological and economic warfare against corner shops may have played some small part in this.

Do you remember the days when shops like Pat’s Mart were referred to as ‘CTNs’? Confectionery, Tobacco, News? It’s a killer business model if you think about it, and not in a particularly good way. The new Milky Bar Wowsomes probably haven’t arrived quite in time to save the industry - having tried one I’m not convinced the uniquely gritty mouthfeel will appeal even to those of us inured to Wagg Chicken & Vegetable dry dogfood (£14.75/17kg) as a valuable dietary supplement.

Well, what with that and the Coca-Cola tax and cigarettes apparently being somehow ‘bad for you’ and business rates running at 120% of turnover and nobody buying the Daily Express, it’s enough to make a shopkeeper a bit weepy. Except for the Daily Express bit.

Ah well. I have to say it’s been a pleasure serving you. I don’t know what the future holds but I’m going to cash in the last of my Premium Bonds as well as my secret retirement fund: I’ve never fessed up, but I’ve been holding on to some shares in Woolworths, Conviviality and Comet. Must be worth a small fortune by now. Toodle pip!