August 4th, 2004

pissed off

What happened to my town while I was away?

I live in a market town, about 30minutes train ride north of London. One of its charms is that it still has sole traders; Halseys the grocer’s (MWNN and I named it The Sin Shop when we first moved to the town from South London, over 20 years’ ago) Allingham’s, the game butcher’s, Bliss, the baker’s, and, of course, the market three times a week. Before we went away at the end of April, M&S opened a M&S Just Food that competed with the purveyors of lunchtime goodies, such as Hampers. No problem, I thought, there’s room for competition. I know now that I was wrong, it was the beginning of the rot.

I went into town to collect my repeat prescription and decided to do a little shopping. Oh, look, there’s a new Waitrose supermarket, and an Italian Coffee House next to Café Rouge. I tried to buy a new pair of Stonefly boots ( because mine were damaged during one of the hairier moments on the boat ) from Mr Pomfrit but was told that he no longer stocks them. I decided to have a consolling cuppa in my favourite tea shop The Tea and Coffee House. Hitchin once boasted three tea shops; Mrs Miller’s, St Mary’s Tea Rooms, and The Tea and Coffee House. We lost the first two over the course of about ten years as they changed hands and then changed their nature to just another provider of lunches and snacks. I couldn’t believe my eyes, jennylyle, when I entered the market square (the market no longer takes place there so it’s a bit of a mis-noma). There, on the corner, oppposite Halseys was Starbucks. The Tea and Coffee House has gone.

An English market town with no English tea shop? It’s not possible. I’m miffed.

And I'm missing MWNN already. Once I stopped worrying about his plane flying through the storm and knew he'd landed safely,but late,in Dublin last night, I started missing him.
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    pissed off pissed off