Wednesday, October 21, 2020

New Crazy Golf course heading to Nottingham

Nottingham will soon be home to a new Crazy Golf venue.

The Glory Holes Crazy Golf course is opening in Hockley, Nottingham

A new themed, adults-only Crazy Golf course called Glory Holes is opening in Nottingham.

The 18-hole course, bar and diner will be located in the Hockley area and is scheduled to open in November.

Glory Holes is part of the Curious Venues group of bars and pubs.

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Happy Back to the Future Day

Today is Back to the Future Day.


DeLorean time machine at MediaCity in Salford
Back on the 13th March I got to see a DeLorean time machine at MediaCity in Salford. How different times were then!

B.V.C. - Bolton Video Centre in Little Lever
Last Saturday we found a video rental shop stocked with loads of VHS tapes. It was like stepping back in time! You can find B.V.C. - Bolton Video Centre in Little Lever

DeLorean at the 2019 Didsbury & South Manchester Car Show
I got to see my first DeLorean at the Didsbury & South Manchester Car Show in Didsbury Park back in July 2019

Monday, October 19, 2020

35 years of Blockbuster Video

The first Blockbuster Video store opened in Dallas, Texas, USA on this day in 1985.


Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester

At its peak in 2004 there were more than 9,000 stores around the world. 500+ of which were in the UK.

There is now just one Blockbuster Video store left open. It's in Bend, Oregon.

Blockbuster Video in the UK

Blockbuster Video entered the UK video rental market in 1989 following the purchase of Ritz Video.

I remember going to the Ritz Video shop on the Peachcroft Estate in my home town of Abingdon, Oxfordshire back in the late 80's and early 90's. That store became a Blockbuster and I rented some classics from there back in the day.

Blockbuster ceased operations in the UK in December 2013. At the start of that year there were 528 Blockbuster locations in the UK. The number dwindled until October when only 264 shops remained. The remaining stores closed on the 16th December.

There are still clearly visible remnants of the brand on the high street and on retail parks almost seven years later.

This is the old Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester, UK.

Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester

We've also been to the Blockbuster Video Express in Colne, Lancashire and found the remains of quite a few other old stores.

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne, Lancashire


Finding a video shop on Video Shop Day 2020

Last Saturday happened to be National Video Shop Day and we were fortunate enough to stumble upon a video rental shop in Little Lever, Bolton! What are the odds?

B.V.C. - Bolton Video Centre in Little Lever
It was like stepping back in time

The old-school video rental shop was fully stocked with VHS tapes. I haven't seen anything like it for years.

What a time capsule.

You can find B.V.C. - Bolton Video Centre in Little Lever.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Family Shopper - not a Happy Shopper

My recent hunts for Happy Shopper shops led me to find out about the Family Shopper brand. The stores are part of the same retail group.

This was the first Family Shopper I saw. It's in Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside, Greater Manchester.

Family Shopper in Ashton-under-Lyne

I'm still on the lookout for retro Happy Shopper stores and have been lucky to find one in Preston and a couple in Sheffield.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Weird World of Crazy Golf

Check out The Weird World of Crazy Golf from Britclip - a look at the World Crazy Golf Championship in Hastings.


It's fun seeing the excellent Hastings Adventure Golf course being played by a colourful cast of crazy golfing characters.

World Crazy Golf Championship in Hastings
In action in my tilt for the title

From Blockbuster Video to Taco Bell

I've been taking a look into the world of Blockbuster Video during lockdown. We live near to an old store that still has visible signage and branding and it's always fun to pass by and see a glimpse of the past.

I've also found that back when we were freely able to travel around the country we had unknowingly 'visited' some former stores, most notably in Felixstowe, Suffolk. There, the old sign with its distinctive torn ticket outline had been used for a new business.

Tracking down old Blockbuster Video stores I've noted that there were two in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. The one in Wombwell is now a charity shop and the old QuikDrop box is still in place. The other on Peel Street in the town centre is now a Taco Bell. We passed by it back in January 2019.

Taco Bell on Peel Street in Barnsley
Not a Blockbuster

I always keep an eye out for Taco Bells on my travels. I think it's got something to do with the year 2032.

Sadly the old torn ticket sign from its days as a Blockbuster is long gone.

The Barnsley store closed along with the other last stores in December 2013. There had been 528 Blockbuster Video stores in the UK at the beginning of that year.

In addition to the Blockbuster Video locations in Fallowfield and Felixstowe we've visited the Blockbuster Video Express in Colne, Lancashire. Other former stores we've been to include the former stores in PrescotChester, Cheadle Hulme and Marple.

Monday, October 12, 2020

New indoor Crazy Golf course in Peterborough

There are plans for a new glow-in-the-dark indoor crazy golf course in Peterborough.

There are plans for a new glow-in-the-dark indoor crazy golf course in Peterborough

Peterborough could soon be home to a new glow-in-the-dark indoor crazy golf course.

It'll be a new course for us to visit on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour when we're visiting friends in the area.

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Plonk Golf opening at Peckham Levels in London

A new Plonk Golf course is opening at Peckham Levels in London.


Plonk Golf in Shoreditch
Hole 4 of the Plonk Golf course in Shoreditch

Plonk Golf are opening a new 9-hole indoor Crazy Golf course at Peckham Levels in London later this month.

Visit the Plonk Golf and Peckham Levels websites for more information.

Rascal Bay Adventure Golf opening in Chelmsford, Essex

New Adventure Golf course heading to Chelmsford.

West Park Golf Centre in Chelmsford, Essex will be home to a new Adventure Golf course

West Park Golf Centre in Chelmsford, Essex will soon be home to a new adventure golf course.

The centre will be creating an 18-hole adventure golf course planned to open in January next year.

The course will be called Rascal Bay Adventure Golf and it'll be the third in the brand following the Brentwood, Essex and Manston, Kent locations.

Check out the West Park Golf Centre Facebook Page for more information.

Visiting West Park Golf Centre

We visited West Park Golf Centre on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour way back in December 2009. The old Crazy Golf course there was the 157th course played on our travels. We've now been to 956 courses since 2006.

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12 years ago...

I won the Weymouth Open minigolf tournament on this day in 2008.


Richard Gottfried, the 2008 Weymouth Open minigolf champion

What a day that was!

The inaugural Weymouth Open minigolf competition was held on the 18-hole Pirate Adventure Mini Golf course at the Weymouth Sea Life Centre at Lodmoor Country Park.

Pirate Adventure Mini Golf at the Weymouth Sea Life Centre at Lodmoor Country Park

I had a very good record in Weymouth Open events. As well as winning the individual title in 2008 my team-mate Chris Harding and I were the Weymouth Open doubles champions in 2011.

Richard Gottfried and Chris Harding, the 2011 Weymouth Open doubles champions

I was also runner-up in the 2009 and 2011 events and seventh in 2010. In the 2009 tournament Kevin Moseley and I were tied after two rounds and it took 4-holes of a sudden-death play-off to separate us.

Pirate Adventure Mini Golf at the Weymouth Sea Life Centre at Lodmoor Country Park

The course was the 77th played on our travels. We've now been to 956 courses since September 2006.

Pirate Adventure Mini Golf at the Weymouth Sea Life Centre at Lodmoor Country Park

I've heard that the Pirate Adventure Mini Golf course at the Weymouth Sea Life Centre has undergone some changed in recent few years. It'll be interesting to revisit the layout on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Happy 40th birthday Pac-Man

Pac-Man was first released in North American on this day in 1980.


Happy 40th birthday Pac Man

The 22nd May is considered to be Pac-Man's 'official' birthday as the game was first released in Japan on that date.

I like to celebrate the brilliant video game character as often as possible!

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Putt18 World Pro League 2020

Final results of the first ever Putt18 World Pro League.


Putt18 Golf Putting Game Mat

The inaugural Putt18 World Pro League season has concluded with Matt Ansley of New Zealand taking the title.

Matt was the wire-to-wire winner of the league with a tremendous display on the Putt18 Golf Putting Game Mat.

Putt18

The Putt18 game mat consists of six tee-off boxes and three target score zones. Players must hit their balls from each of the tee boxes in turn aiming at the Par-4, Par-5 and Par-3 targets while avoiding fairways, bunkers and water hazards that carry penalty points. After the 18 shots have been played you tot up your score to see what you've shot for your round.

Putt18 World Pro League

Players from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and the USA competed in the seven event series.

Each player had a 20-minute time limit to play four 18-hole rounds for a 72-hole total score in each of the seven events. There were additional points on offer for low scores and the round total.

Results of the 2020 Putt18 World Pro League

20 players competed in the league. Matt Ansley took first place with a score of 866 points. Dave Gomm (GB) was runner-up with 693 points, with John Ansley (NZ) in third place with 655 points.

Also in the prize money were Cameron Couper (NZ) with 578 points and Josh Mars (AUS) with 455 points.

The leading US player was Pat Sheridan in 8th place on 352 points.

During the tournament Matt shot an average score of 63 per round.

As well as being runner-up Dave Gomm shot a world record low round score of 57.

In the team event New Zealand won, with Australia runners-up and Great Britain in third place.

I finished the league in 18th of 20 players with 107 points.

In the strokeplay rankings I finished in 17th place of 20 players with 2,189 shots and an average of 78.18 per round of 18 holes.

2020 Putt18 World Pro League - Points Table


2020 Putt18 World Pro League - Points Table

2020 Putt18 World Pro League - Strokeplay Table


2020 Putt18 World Pro League - Strokeplay Table

Find out more about Putt18

Check out the Putt18 World Pro League Facebook Group and Putt18 website for more information.

Competitive isolation and Putting at Home


Competitive isolation and Putting at Home

The Putt18 World Pro League has been a fun and interesting way to keep on putting and compete during the pandemic. It's also been a first in terms of getting players from around the world to compete on the same putting surface in a league format.

Read more in my blog post about Keeping social and competitive in the new world of physical distancing.


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Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Pubs of Stockport

Check out the interview in The Viaduct magazine about our mission to visit every pub, club and bar in Stockport during lockdown this year.

The Kings Tap in Cheadle Hulme
The first pub we visited - The Kings Tap in Cheadle Hulme

The Crown Inn in Stockport town centre
Pub number 73 - The Crown Inn in Stockport town centre with the viaduct behind it

The Nursery Inn in Heaton Norris
Pub number 256 - The Nursery Inn in Heaton Norris

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

A look at Fella's Crazy Golf course in Weston-super-Mare.


Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

We played the 14-hole Crazy Golf course opposite the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare back in July 2011.

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

It was the 260th course played on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

We've now been to 956 courses since September 2006.

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

In a first for us the course charged an extra 30p if you wanted a scorecard and pen to score your game!

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

Emily won our minigolf match-up with a score of 39 to 43.

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

We're looking forward to a return trip to Weston-super-Mare in the future.

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

Fella's Crazy Golf in Weston-super-Mare

Monday, October 05, 2020

Minigolf rules at Hastings Adventure Golf

The team at Hastings Adventure Golf have added details of Covid Secure Miniature Golf to each of the scorecards at the seaside centre.

The Happy Shopper in Sheffield

It was nice to find a Happy Shopper shop with the original branding up and still open. This one is on Page Hall Road in Sheffield.


The Happy Shopper on Page Hall Road in Sheffield

The two other Happy Shopper shops I've seen this year have both been closed. One of those was also in Sheffield.

The Happy Shopper on Page Hall Road in Sheffield

I remember seeing the Happy Shopper shops and branded products a lot when I was a kid in the 80's and 90's.

The Happy Shopper branding from the 1970's was changed in the year 2000 and I think it lost a lot of its charm and individuality. Many of the former Happy Shopper stores were rebranded as Premier shops.

Interestingly the social distancing signs on the door showed the original Happy Shopper branding with the smiling blond face appearing before the word 'Happy' rather than in place of the 'o' as seen in the second incarnation of the logo
Interestingly the social distancing signs on the door showed the original Happy Shopper branding with the smiling blond face appearing before the word 'Happy' rather than in place of the 'o' as seen in the second incarnation of the logo 

The Happy Shopper brand has been part of the Booker Group since 1996. Booker itself is now owned by Tesco.

Related blog posts:

- Happy Shopper

- Happy Shopper in Sheffield

- Happy Shopper in Preston

- Shopfronts

Happy Shopper in Sheffield

I found an old Happy Shopper shop in Sheffield.

It was nice to see the old Happy Shopper branding still up on the signs at what was once Pops Mini Market on Sharrow Lane in the Highfield area of Sheffield.

Happy Shopper on Sharrow Lane in Sheffield

As the Happy Shopper branding was updated in the year 2000 I didn't think it would still be possible to see it 20 years later. I was glad to be wrong.

Happy Shopper shop on Sharrow Lane in Sheffield

Last month I found a Happy Shopper in Preston purely by chance while en route to look for an abandoned Toys R Us.

While in Sheffield I actually managed to find a Happy Shopper that was open and had some of the original branding on the signage. Marvellous.

I remember seeing the Happy Shopper shops and branded products a lot when I was a kid.

The Happy Shopper on Page Hall Road in Sheffield
The Happy Shopper on Page Hall Road in Sheffield

The Happy Shopper branding was changed in the year 2000 and I think it lost a lot of its charm and individuality. Many of the former Happy Shopper stores were rebranded as Premier shops.

Happy Shopper does still exist, as both convenience stores and own brand food & drink products. It has been part of the Booker Group since 1996. Booker itself is now owned by Tesco.

Related blog posts:

Happy Shopper

- The Happy Shopper in Sheffield

Happy Shopper in Preston

Shopfronts

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Covid-19 social distancing signage with 1970s branding

One of the best finds during my 'retail archaeology' expeditions this year is the social distancing signage using the original Happy Shopper branding from the 1970's, 80's and 90's at The Happy Shopper convenience store in Sheffield.

Coronavirus social distancing sign at The Happy Shopper in Sheffield
A slightly unexpected sight on a sign of the times in 2020

Coronavirus social distancing signs at The Happy Shopper in Sheffield

I remember seeing the Happy Shopper shops and buying their own-branded products a lot when I was a kid growing up in Oxfordshire back in the 80's and 90's.

The Happy Shopper on Page Hall Road in Sheffield
The Happy Shopper on Page Hall Road in Sheffield

The Happy Shopper branding from the 1970's was changed in the year 2000 and became a lot simpler design. I thing it certainly lost a lot of its character.

The original Happy Shopper branding has the smiling blond haired face appearing before the word 'Happy' rather than in place of the 'o' in the word 'Shopper' as seen in the second, and probably more widespread, incarnation of the logo.

The Happy Shopper on Page Hall Road in Sheffield

The two other Happy Shopper shops I've seen this year have both been closed. The first was in Preston and the second was also in Sheffield.

Check out my Instagram account for more social distancing signs I've spotted on my urban walks during the coronavirus pandemic.