I Love My High Street

This afternoon I took a stroll into my local town centre as I needed to go to the bank. When I got there, I found there were two signs attached to the door. The first read ‘This branch is closed’ the second stated ‘we are recruiting locally’. Well obviously, not that locally…

               We have an unusual assortment of shops on our high street. There is an art shop which opens by appointment only and has a Lowry painting in the window (with a selling price of £3500) next to a chicken takeaway which houses a nightclub in its basement. Perhaps keeping out the chicken fuelled revellers is why the art shop is open by appointment only.

               The ‘friendly neighbourhood chemist’ has a handwritten sign in the window. “We still don’t have any covid tests so don’t ask us anymore”. The word ‘still’ was underlined three times, I suspect it hasn’t stopped people asking.

So many useful items….

               Further down the street we have a betting shop, which rather than showing the horse racing or football seemed to be showing a repeat of Homes Under the Hammer. I wondered if the betting industry has moved on from the probability of a score draw at Crawly Town and onto the chances of planning permission being given for a two-bed town house extension in Walsall. I am so out of touch…

               Our high street still has an independent stationery shop which I never see anyone using as everything is twice the price of WHSmith (which is immediately opposite). The stationery shop is a ‘proud stockist’ of Ordinance Survey Maps, another item which surely doesn’t sell well anymore. If I was more interested, I would go inside and find out if they are also a ‘proud stockist’ of cassette tapes or Rubik’s cubes but I fear my presence would wake the owner from their nap.

               The bakery has started branching out from takeaway sausage rolls and pasties and now offers luxury options. These include sausage roll with rice and a pasty with rice. I am quite happy to live in a place that considers the addition of rice would make a dish luxurious.

The coffee shop also sells bean bags

               Charity shops are always worth a look as genuine bargains are easily found. We have a few on our high street, one of which puts books in the window to entice passers-by to step inside. I noticed their choices for the window display included:

  • An entire book of panoramic shots of the Blackpool Tower
  • A compendium of Royal Dalton figurines
  • A guide to female cricketers from Cheshire (1907-2007)
  • A biography of the last 55 Prime Ministers

There are a number of surprizing things here. Firstly that these are topics that the staff think people are interested in, secondly, that members of the public didn’t want these ‘fascinating’ books and donated them to charity and thirdly that the authors thought there was any demand at all for these niches. I suspect if I go back in a few weeks, the window display will not have been altered.

               Although I managed to resist the lure of the luxury takeaway rice, ordinance survey maps and second-hand Royal Dalton compendiums, that doesn’t mean I had a wasted day gazing through shop windows. I had a lovely time. I love my high street.

3 thoughts on “I Love My High Street

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