Many people will remember ‘Ned Scrumpo’s Emporium of Goodies’. This was a junk shop by any other name (9, New Street) that stood on the site that is now a taxi rank in Caston’s Yard. Next door was a public lavatory which was demolished and replaced by the Squirrel Collector’s Centre. I recall that for many years Ed Rennie continued to refer to the Squirrel shop as ‘the toilets’ (and probably still does).
‘Scrumpo’s’ was run by a bearded hulk of a man called Bob Rivers. My school-friend Stuart and I often went into his emporium to look at second-hand records. He didn’t seem to like us (or anybody else) and we sometimes found the sound of his breathing to be quite threatening. It was to this ill-tempered giant haystacks figure that I sold a suitcase full of Dinky and Corgi toys, including a fire-engine with extending platform, gold Aston Martin DB6, ice-cream van with chimes, German VW Beetle Police Car, various Thunderbirds and FAB 1 pink Rolls Royce, Batmobile and many, many more, all boxed and immaculate, for £3. Publishing this fact is a sort of catharsis. I often wish that my parents had intervened. The collection would have cost them a lot of money over the years but I suppose I should be grateful to them for letting me make my own mistakes.