Donuts and Toilets

On a recent trip to Stroud I spotted a postie delivering letters to the Wy Wong takeaway, and since my mind works in mysterious ways I imagined that the white envelopes scattered across the mat were from dissatisfied customers answering that very question.

2014-08-30 13.56.43‘Because it wasn’t the weightwatchers version I asked for,’ might be one reply, or ‘because as always I was still hungry after eating it.’ Or simply, ‘because you forgot to put in the prawn crackers.’ That sort of thing.

Naturally, I jotted these thoughts in the Moleskine writer’s notebook that follows me around, its pages rich with wacky catering snippets – a source of writing inspiration only surpassed by people’s moronic mismanagement of mobiles in public.

A lot of material has come from Indian Restaurants – probably because I’m in them so often. The chicken madras in the Rice ’n Spice at Haywards Heath according to the menu contained ‘avid black pepper’. In the Bengal Lancer at Llanelli you could get a ‘potion of chips’ (spooky).The Bilash at Rugeley offered ‘King Prawn Roshuni – a pleasant dish of king prawns made by our chef,’ which sounded, well, really pleasant. When I hurried the order along at the Jalsagor in Hereford the manager said he’d ‘hasten the papadums in a minute.’ And in the Taste of India at Leominster the menu described chicken tikka as ‘tender pieces of lamb cooked in …’. I wondered if it might have been ‘torn’ chicken – torn, that is, between whether it was a chicken or a lamb. It got eaten, so we can’t ask it now.

Elsewhere, a sign in Tesco exhorted me to buy puddings: ‘Life’s Short – Eat Dessert First’. In the same store a man asked the shelf filler if they had any Camp coffee. ‘Ooooo, I’m not sure. Now let me see-ee.’ And in a lovely cafe called Quinns in Worcester the menu offered ‘a lovely large bowl of home-made soup, lovely salads, lovely old-fashioned puddings and orange squash served in a lovely plastic cup with a straw’. Lovely. I was, however, appalled to see 30p for a glass of tap water with ice and lemon at Nice Things cafe in Ledbury, a charge sensibly removed by new owners.

Further afield, I liked the English blackboard menu outside the Hotel Verol Restaurant, which included chicken breast with chips, chicken wings with chips – and chicken tights with chips, presumably a thirty denier Las Palmas speciality.

I'm sure there's a chimp in here somewhere.

I’m sure there’s a chimp in here somewhere

And during a three-night stay in Bangkok I took a shine to a nearby fish restaurant – Kuang Seafood – which had numerous fish tanks fronting the street. Families and business people filled the room each evening, waiters brandishing huge trays of mouth-watering delicacies and chefs periodically lowering their nets into the bubbling homes of red snappers and catfish. In Thailand what we know as prawns are called shrimps; and tucked among the long list of shrimp dishes I found ‘Baked Chimp with salt’. I didn’t fancy the salt and opted instead for crab curry and fried rice with fish.

On the move, I particularly enjoyed the jolly Welsh trolley man on Arriva trains between Manchester and Cardiff. Happy in his work and determined to offer travellers a new experience, his operatic rendition of ‘Just One Cornetto’ lightened the atmosphere of a crowded carriage, as did his later promotion of sea serpents and snake venom in as deadpan a way as one might sell Walkers crisps or KitKats.

And on a bus near Gloucester I overheard a woman telling fellow travellers they should try a cafe in Herne Bay, Kent which sold ‘the best garlic bread in the world’. Okay – tomorrow perhaps.

I’m used to restaurants glossing their menus; outrageous descriptions are now so commonplace that I rarely bother noting them. A roadside Brewers Fayre listed ‘fresh, hand-battered, pole-and-line caught Cornish cod, served on a bed of chef’s chunky, crispy-dipped potato strips and topped with a jus of caper-infused mayo rich in mountain tarragon’. To you and me, fish and chips with tartar sauce. Even M&S gets in on the act with ‘handcrafted, British pork sausage rolls’. And I found a fine example at the Seven Stars pub in Ledbury: ‘complex, muscular yet graceful, with fine length and lovely maturity’. Not as I had imagined some sort of sex service, but a bottle of Bolinger for fifty quid. A stark contrast with the pundit on a TV wine tasting who glugged some red and got ‘a WVS clothing store’.

2014-11-04 11.04.31

Only last week I found that a Weston-super-Mare seafront cafe had thoughtfully placed its menu on the outside wall.

Only two choices. But which first, that’s the exciting thing?

Eenie, meenie, miney …



Copyright © Paul Costello November 2014

Utterly Undiscovered by Paul Costello. A hilarious Bed and Breakfast memoir set in deepest Shropshire. Order through bookshops or direct from

Website:                 Twitter: @PaulCostello8

Eddie’s Eye 9 – Goodbye


Well, friends, it’s time to say goodbye. Sadly, this is the final edition of Eddie’s Eye.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a glimpse of our political shenanigans, and that you’ll laugh as much during the Show as we have at rehearsals. Come and see your favourite politicians as never before, facing a public that demands its say! The World Premier of Terms and Conditions Apply – coming to a theatre near you! Ledbury Market Theatre

But before I go, here are the parting thoughts of our colourful characters:

Dave Camshaft:                               Pffft!

Nick Clogg:                                       I know I can do it – please let me try.

Usborne:                                          Sorry, too busy – dining out all week.

Govis:                                              They got me all wrong.

Ducken-Sniff:                                  Yes, I’m still here.

Eddie Moribund:                              A new era is dawning. Make it Laborious.

Theresa Mayhem:                          Get them out!

Harriet Harmful:                              I’m the one sat by the Laborious Leader.

Nigella Gar-arge:                            Auf wiedersehen.

Middle England Residents:            Hard knowing who to believe.

See you at the Theatre!Rosette


Eddie’s Eye - folllowed by BBC Radio – has been brought to you by Paul Costello on behalf of the cast of Terms and Conditions Apply.

Terms and Conditions Apply – a play by Paul Costello. Fabulous political satire about a 5-year coalition government, seen through the eyes of ordinary, suburban households and, in stark contrast, the rose-tinted spectacles of politicians. Director, Bob Maynard.  Thurs 31st July – Sat 2nd August @ 8pm.   Ledbury Market Theatre

Tickets £10 adults  £5 students

On line:

Or: Masters House, Ledbury (Mon/Tues 9.30 to 4. Fri 9.30 to 2) 01432 260500

Or:  07967 517125



Eddie’s Eye 8 – Govis

When LADS (Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society) began rehearsing Terms and Conditions Apply  the title and plot were very different from the Show you’ll see at Ledbury Market Theatre next week, 31st July to 2nd August.

My original play was about a sixteen year old desperate to go to the school prom in a pink stretch limo, get off with a feller she really fancied and live happily ever after. Sadly, the girl was the subject of bullying by two ugly sisters who on the night of the prom forced her to stay at home and watch repeats of Don’t Tell the Bride.

Armed with this exciting format, Director Bob thought the ugly sisters should be played by men, and chose this actor (seen at his first rehearsal) to play the one I’d called ‘Drizella’.

Gove funny

At first the casting seemed perfect. The man would stand uncomfortably close, emitting a light spray through botoxed lips and staring at you fixedly through the pebble lenses of his oversize, horn-rimmed spectacles. It was hard to feel at ease in his presence and no surprise to find he’d once been cast as the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

But whilst his looks were ideal for the part there were problems with his personality. From the start he set about manipulating the play in little ways, throwing ideas around like actors do; a change of word, a change of emphasis, perhaps a tweak to the set. But lurking behind those pebbly eyes was a mind so dogmatic and forceful that he soon began pushing for greater change; getting rehearsals rearranged, forcing costume changes and demanding that whole scenes were scrapped, insisting he knew best.

Although resentment was building, Bob went along with his ideas because his frightful face was so perfect – even without specs.

Gove funny 4 no specs

It got worse. Before long the actor had changed the plot, altered the setting, renamed all the characters (taking Govis as his own) and changed the title to what it is now – Terms and Conditions Apply. We didn’t know where we stood from one rehearsal to the next, and the play seemed more of a political satire than a love story. With the Show due in a few weeks, our fate was set.

But as is right, it was the Director who decided on the final change. He had ‘Govis’ fired in an early scene by a character of his own creation, Dave Camshaft. Relegated to a minor role, his influence was removed with one firm blow, and we’d now see very little of him. What a relief!

And my writing was not entirely wasted. You see, in revising the script ‘Govis’ had given a character called Nick Clogg a similar role to the one I’d written for the sixteen year old girl, and even found a use in Clogg’s dialogue for the word I’d dreamt up for my original play title – Cinderella.

Back soon, friends.


Watch out for the final Eddie’s Eye!


Terms and Conditions Apply – a play by Paul Costello. Fabulous political satire about a 5-year coalition government, seen through the eyes of ordinary, suburban households and, in stark contrast, the rose-tinted spectacles of politicians. Director, Bob Maynard.  Thurs 31st July – Sat 2nd August @ 8pm.   Ledbury Market Theatre

Tickets £10 adults  £5 students

On line:

Or: Masters House, Ledbury (Mon/Tues 9.30 to 4. Fri 9.30 to 2) 01432 260500

Or:  07967 517125





Eddie’s Eye 7 – Henchmen


Take the worry out of life with a family-friendly 5-year renewable Security Contract. Our Exchequer Division has years of expertise transferring most of your money into government funds. Leaving you less money reduces your cash management problems and lowers personal risk – and you can’t be too careful with all the baddies around these days. And what’s left in your pocket is fully secured by our Protection Directorate which sorts out anyone posing a threat to you or your loved ones. Terms and Conditions Apply. Vote Con.

A leaflet containing this promotion was dropped by private Cessna aircraft before the last Election, targetting the marginal electorates of Rotherham, Runcorn and Burnley. Sadly, it’s proving hard to replicate this Con tactic in Terms and Conditions Apply  due to the problem of getting Cessnas in and out of Ledbury Market Theatre.  But we do use leaflets in the Show, and you’ll have plenty of candidates to choose from – not just big Parties like ConDems and Laborious, but niche groups like the Dream On Party which offers unbelievably generous policies.

So who are Mayhem, Usborne and Con (MUC)? As you’ll see, Dave Camshaft’s empire is minded by iron-grip henchmen. His primary protector is Usborne, whose boyish fringe belies a sharp-fisted, no-nonsense character fit to grace the doorstep of any town bar. If you think you spotted him last Friday wearing a yellow armband outside Wetherspoons, you were probably right. But bouncing is only his night job. By day Usborne heads the Exchequer Division of MUC, offering just what was promised in those Cessna drops – taking away your money for safeguarding in huge underground coffers deep below 11 Downing Street.

Now, clearly MUC doesn’t want to leave you too little to live on. So you’re left with a float, a monthly allowance as it were, to buy staples like Tenko Value Tea and Morrisons White Potatoes and to save towards gas and electric, or thermal clothing if these are not affordable. Here’s the bit from rehearsals where the man playing Usborne declines a request from a Doncaster resident for an increase in their monthly allowance during a particularly hard winter.

osborne sneer

Sadly, it’s a postcode lottery – South v North.

And for those little emergencies which the allowance never covers MUC will direct you to chic City bankers (The Henchman Reserve), always willing to tide you over with a loan – at the going rate, of course.

But how does MUC then secure your monthly allowance? Well, that’s where the Protection Directorate comes in. Theresa Mayhem, Camshaft’s other adjutant, is there to wipe out threats to your hard-come-by leftovers. Anyone coming within ten metres of you or your property is a suspect; anyone who’s a suspect is banged up, deported or taken out; and experienced Chinese builders are nearing completion of a great wall round the British Isles to stop invasion by people with dodgy passports. We rehearsed this scene outdoors, with the Mayhem actor and her best friends on their way to sort out a suspect found sneaking through the remaining gap in the wall.

May with police

So rest assured – your residual pocket money is fully protected.

In Terms and Conditions Apply  Camshaft’s henchmen might appear flippant. But don’t be fooled. Beneath the frivolity lies MUC, a system of protection dictators would die for. MUC, a fully-owned subsidiary of Camshaft & Co, Accountants.

Sounds a good racket to be in; wouldn’t mind a slice of it myself!


In Eddie’s Eye 8, the penultimate edition of this highly acclaimed newsletter, I’ll tell you how a character called Govis systematically interfered with the production of Terms and Conditions Apply. Out soon.

Terms and Conditions Apply – a play by Paul Costello. Fabulous political satire about a 5-year coalition government, seen through the eyes of ordinary, suburban households and, in stark contrast, the rose-tinted spectacles of politicians. Director, Bob Maynard Thurs 31st July – Sat 2nd August @ 8pm. Adults £10, Students £5.  Ledbury Market Theatre

Website:                 Twitter: @PaulCostello8


Eddie’s Eye 6 – Underlings

Eddie’s Eye 6 – Underlings

Only a few weeks till Terms and Conditions Apply  hits  Ledbury Market Theatre  (31/7 – 2/8) – rest assured that until then Eddie’s Eye will bring you all the inside gossip!

The performers love the limelight. I’ve given many a mention to the main protagonists but I thought it high time I headlined those in the cast who don’t get to see the light of day as much as us Leaders – the hard grafters in the engine room where policies marinate and mature, who so generously act as scapegoats when those policies flounder.

Take Ducken-Sniff. Here’s a man who devotes every waking hour in his understairs office to moulding and massaging Universal Credit into a policy fit for a modern economy, as portrayed by this actor at rehearsals.

ducken-sniff at workNow that’s perseverance. It must be like a bait digger in the Severn Estuary extricating his trapped left wellie from thick mud only to find that the right  one gets stuck. Yet he’s an honest man and I’m pleased that in Terms and Conditions Apply  he at last gets the recognition he deserves. A spot in the spotlight.

The same goes for Vince Capable. Poor feller looks so forlorn sometimes. Look – we’ve found the perfect person for his part!

vince forlorn



Some see Vince as a whinging, would-be entrepreneur, wittering about big-time business with Bermuda and Bahrain and deals with Denmark and Dubai, yet perhaps never travelling beyond Dover. But at least he tries. So again, I’m delighted he’s making a go of it. Good for you, Vince!


And how about Harriet Harmful, a misnomer if ever there was one since my Assistant is a caring, compassionate servant of the Laborious Party who for decades has sat alongside Leaders at PM Question Time, nodding when needed, grinning at her counterpart across the Chamber and joyfully joining the cheering and jeering from the back benches behind her.

harriet conducting



Here she is helping me get a Mexican Wave going at a recent rehearsal. Loyalty, staying power and an undying willingness to handle the humdrum stuff, that’s what Harriet has.


Then there’s Nick Clogg. Not everyone is born to be a Leader, you know. Some try but don’t quite reach that exalted height, others make it but don’t stay the course. Nick is one who tiptoes tentatively, so I’ve been doing all I can to help rehabilitate him as he goes it alone. Though he still has a way to go, his stint as Camshaft’s helper in Terms and Conditions Apply  at least gives him a platform from which to drive forward to a future befitting such a fine feller. It’s a treat performing alongside Clogg. He’s the kind of chap I’d be happy to take to my mum and dad’s for tea.


In the next Eddie’s Eye. Henchmen.

Terms and Conditions Apply – a play by Paul Costello. Fabulous political satire about a 5-year coalition government, seen through the eyes of ordinary, suburban households and, in stark contrast, the rose-tinted spectacles of politicians. Director, Bob Maynard.  31st July – 2nd August   Ledbury Market Theatre

Website:                 Twitter: @PaulCostello8

Blog:     Recent blog: Eddie’s Eye 




Eddie’s Eye 5

I promised to tell you about one of the great electorate – Mr Wildbore.

You know how water floods into a canal lock once the sluice gate is opened? Well, that’s what it’s like when Mr Wildbore starts talking, an analogy that came to mind from the narrow boat holidays my wife and I take …

… not because we can’t afford more luxurious ventures as we both earn an incredible amount of money (which no longer in itself makes us the target of media flak thanks to Tony’s placing the Laborious Party rightfully in Middle England), but because we like to be seen doing the commonplace things the Mr Wildbores of this world indulge in …

… so that we at least appear to stick to our brotherly roots even if we sneak a Caribbean holiday or two (when Parliament isn’t busy and the hurricane season is over) in order to meet our true social needs – thus covering all bases, as it were.

There – I bet you thought I was never going to stop! And that’s exactly what I found with Mr Wildbore!


This picture on his doorstep –

as he explained the sun’s trajectory, itemised the rainfall figures in Afghanistan, banged on about medication and bus timetables, decried the loss of public toilets with the cutbacks and how church services had become too modern what with all the guitarists and gospel choirs …

… and berated own brand sausages, detailed the shipping routes for Argentinian beef and its average fat content, stressed that Marmite should be spread thinly …

… and criticised Mrs Smith next door for having doorstep deliveries which was ridiculous considering the price of milk in Tenko offered such good value, except to farmers, although this was their fault for still running tinpot farms with six cows when the world around them had moved into mass production and anyway no-one wants full-cream milk any more …

… and insisted that if you work at it (and young people these days don’t know the meaning of work) you can write endless sentences like Alan Bennett which as long as they’re properly punctuated still make sense even if readers do lose the will to live

– was taken by Nick Clogg, lurking behind a silver birch to watch and learn as part of his apprenticeship.

The actor playing Mr Wildbore in Terms and Conditions Apply  is so well cast that it’s hard to get a word in at rehearsals. This is me recently, about to throttle him when he wouldn’t stop.

Eddie throttling

Quite rightly, Director Bob has started imposing a time limit when ‘Wildbore’s Witterings’ become too much like a one-man show.

I can understand how Golden Brown slipped up in Rochdale calling Mrs Duffy ‘that bigoted woman’. Yet in the battle for Middle England votes we embrace one and all, meaning that the Wildbores and Duffies of this world and you, my friends, will I am sure eventually find us. Laborious. The Party of the People.

Ta ta for now.


Mr Wildbore appears in person at Ledbury Market Theatre 31st July to 2nd August, alongside Dave Camshaft, Nick Clogg, Vince Capable, Theresa Mayhem, Nigella Gar-arge and many other favourites. Terms and Conditions Apply – a hilarious political satire.

Stand by for more Eddie’s Eye! And do share with your friends! Need to catch up on previous episodes?  

Eddie’s Eye 4

Dear oh dear! Nigella Gar-arge is proving such a handful.

I recall telling you in a previous Eddie’s Eye how at rehearsals she barged past me to lunge at a voter. I have to tolerate this sort of thing from Gar-arge all the time; the Leader of the You Fancy a Kip Party clearly has much to learn about common courtesy. And playing the ‘Cruella de Vil’ card (or de Vile as we call it) and drinking pints does her no favours at all.

Not that there’s anything wrong with women drinking pints. I’d like to think that we in the Laborious Party are modern about this sort of male-female crossover; indeed many of my female colleagues enjoy a pint of IPA, especially those descended from the leftie leaders of the 70’s and 80’s. But I’m not sure it’s entirely a healthy political image ever since Tony prised the reds’ gnarly fingers off our beloved Party and put New Laborious in its proper place – alongside the Cons and Dems looking after the level-headed folk of Middle England. Thanks to Tony’s foresight (but not Golden Brown’s, I fear) I’ve found it easy to settle in as Leader of the Laborious Party, modelling myself on Dave Camshaft in the same way as Nick Clogg follows my example.Cruella after 10 pints

The main trouble is that at rehearsals Gar-arge has to appear verbally aggressive after a supposed ten pints, and the only way the actor can achieve this is to actually drink the stuff, a routine she fell into rather too readily if you ask me. This makes it harrowing for the rest of us, as you can imagine from these images taken last Sunday. What’s more, treating the Methodist Church (where we rehearse) like a pub is in my view totally inappropriate.

I think I know where she acquired this drinking habit, because after a few pints she starts waving around this photo of her ex singing into his beer.

Farage PintI can’t repeat what she says about him; after all, Eddie’s Eye is a family newsletter. But let’s just say there isn’t much love lost between them.

Little does she know that I’ve a surprise in store. My dad (Eddie Moribund Snr) and a load of his pals are coming to see the Show on the Friday, filling the whole of Row D, I understand. In their wonderfully old-fashioned way they like women to behave like women, and when I told dad about Gar-arge’s behaviour he came up with the brilliant idea of them all crunching their Werther’s Originals in unison really loudly whenever ‘Cruella’ speaks. So although the audience will have to tolerate her appearance, at least no-one will be able to hear ‘de Vile’s’ bile.

All arranged, friends!

Speak soon. Oh, and don’t forget your own tickets! Full details below.


Terms and Conditions Apply – a play by Paul Costello. Fabulous political satire about a 5-year coalition government, seen through the eyes of ordinary, suburban households and, in stark contrast, the rose-tinted spectacles of politicians. Director, Bob Maynard 31st July – 2nd August   Ledbury Market Theatre

Website:                 Twitter: @PaulCostello8