I have often mentioned my preference to shop locally and we’re very lucky here, that so many of the shops in the town are still independently owned and are really very good. There’s the usual selection of charity and second-hand shops and so on, and a few chain stores – newsagents, Boots and the Factory Shop are all that spring to mind, plus the Co op a mile from the town centre, but you can do most of your day to day shopping right here.
The very useful little dress shop just closed, unfortunately, apparently through lack of business. I bought most of my clothes there, though I don’t buy a lot of clothes and no one could keep going through my custom. The only clothes I’ve bought this year have been there – a skirt and a dress a couple of months ago and a few things back in the spring, but my (I guess) £250 clearly wasn’t enough. And, over the past decade or two, we’ve lost our book shop and shoe shop although, whilst some shops haven’t lasted, others selling similar produce have started in their place.
One of the oldest and best shops in the town is the furnishing/haberdashery/etc etc shop. The double-fronted shop front doesn’t give much indication of what’s inside – the dress materials and so on are only the start of it. To the left, it goes back two rooms that are filled with carpet samples and, behind that, there’s furniture. To the right, there’s a room of fabrics – the last thing I bought there was heatproof material to go under the cloth on the french polished library table we use as a dining table, but I’ve had curtain fabrics and all sorts of things there in the past. And behind that, there used to be – and probably still is – a selection of fairly traditional nightwear and underwear. I haven’t been in that part since my mother died, but she bought a really lovely dressing gown there to keep her warm and cheered during her last winter. In the front, there’s dressmaking stuff and bedding, gloves and various small household accessories and upstairs there are beds and mattresses. It really is fabulous. And LT and I spent half an hour or so being shown samples by John, the eponymous proprietor and came home with two pattern books and five samples, four of which we pretty soon dismissed. So now we have to consider whether the fifth is the one we want. It’s very good quality pure wool and expensive, and it’ll last us the rest of our lives or as long as we live here, so we don’t want to regret it.
Indeed, I’ll show it to you. The check doesn’t stand out quite as much as it seems to on the photo. We might have liked something a bit more autumn leaf-ish and we don’t want completely plain. But this might fit the bill. Any thoughts?