In the days before Malls and Supermarkets, there were Shopping Centres at the heart of the local community where you could buy everything you needed from individual traders.
Let me take you for a trip down memory lane to one such shopping centre.
This is a whirlwind tour of my local shopping centre on a typical Saturday morning.
The shopping centre is in the suburban neighborhood where I live and a quarter of mile bike ride from my family home.
There is no need to go into town or indeed to those monstrosities they are starting to build on the outskirts of the town which threaten the livelihood of the traders.
Let’s go first to the Grocer where I buy some basic foodstuffs, tinned, packed and processed and paid for at the till in the days long before scanning.
I am no vegetarian and a visit to the Butchers is a must. You can’t beat a cut of fresh meat.
Next step is the Greengrocer, the place to get all that fresh local fruit and veg, local produce, not forgetting King Edward new potatoes. None of that imported foreign stuff you get nowadays.
The Bakers is bang next door and this is the place where cakes really do sell like hot cakes, and a Fresh unsliced loaf of Hovis is worth every penny paid for it.
As it’s Saturday, my husband has given me the list of his weekly bets to place, so I should pop in to the Bookies (I mean the Bookmakers!). Always fifty pence each way.
After that, I should pop in to the chemist for some bandages and medical supplies.. The chemist is nearly always on hand to give advice if it is needed. Such a charming chappie.
Across the square is the Jewellers where I want to buy a necklace and drop off my wristwatch for a minor repair.
My husband’s grey suit has got a couple of stains and needs freshening up, so it’s into the Dry Cleaners next. I cannot believe there is a queue!
There’s a newspaper and a sports magazine to pick up at the Newsagent which doubles up as a confectioners and sweet shop.
On the corner, there is the Post Office where I buy a stamp to send a letter to my sister in New Zealand. I have missed the 9am collection though.
There is still time to pick up some food for the dog at the Pet Shop, make an appointment for later at both the opticians (I need new spectacles) and the Hairdressers (Saturday is Perm Day).
There is just enough time left to grab a coffee and a currant bun in the cafe before getting on the old bike in the drizzle and head home.
The shopping centre is very complete.
There is a Fish and Chip Shop and the queue on Friday evening after work stretches around the block. A Chinese Takeaway has just come into the precinct and perhaps it is a sign of the times with a wave of immigrants to the country from overseas.
There is also a florist, a bookstore, a toyshop, a cobbler for shoe repair, and a travel agent to book a foreign holiday but they are definitely for another day.
What more could I ask for?