Take Two

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TALKING of The Full Monty and watching it back now, it’s amazing how much Sheffield has changed in the last 15 years.

And not just because those towers are no longer there.

The entire skyline seems to have altered since. Strange perhaps that it’s strange already to look down on the city and not see a giant Cheesegrater looking back at you.

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NEWS from Down Under where one-time Diary regular the Reverend Geoff Usher is carrying on a Sheffield tradition in his native Australia.

Readers may remember he was the city’s Upper Chapel minister who gave a public reading of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens to a loyal audience around this time every year.

It was a routine which took place in Norfolk Street and which he started in 1993 in aid of Homeless and Rootless at Christmas charity. And it has been much missed since he returned home in 2010.

But Sheffield’s loss is Sydney’s gain, it seems.

This very day he is doing a reading at St James’s Church in the city’s King Street to raise funds for the homeless there.

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NOW, here’s a free offer one shop owner hopes will prove to be long-sighted.

John Longbottom is giving away 1,000 binoculars to customers who go into his Barnsley store before Christmas Eve.

He hopes the offer – a pair of 8x21 pocket compacts – will attract more people to Clearview Binoculars in Spark Lane, Mapplewell.

“It’s more of a showroom than a shop so there’s not really a frontage,” he explains. “And, ironically given what we sell, that means people sometimes don’t see us. This is costing us money to do but it’s a gimmick which I hope will bring people here. They’re great little binoculars for spotting birds with.”

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BLIMEY.

Would this column not want to be taking the calls at Sheffield City Council this week after The Star revealed 17 dogs could be destroyed – because they bark too loudly. The animals, at Mill House Animal Sanctuary in Fulwood, are facing the death sentence after authority officials issued a court order.

Good luck to the poor office junior answering the complaints about that one.