Far as the eye can see!
“Okay,” said Country Mouse, “so there’s still nowhere in town to buy an ordinary pair of socks. But… TOYS!”
The new Clarkes Stationers – don’t let the stationery part of its name fool you – has arisen from the ashes of Clinton’s Cards (which I still miss). Downstairs there’s some reasonably-priced stationery that would have been exciting had Paperchase not stolen its thunder. But upstairs… oh upstairs! Follow me up the stairs to a proper toy shop: Playmobil, Lego, board games, practical jokes, dolls, the lot. A whole Saturday afternoon can be whiled away up there if you have small children, or even if you don’t but just like toys and don’t look too creepy.
“Right,” said Aging Lad, whose interest in these kind of toys is minimal, “If we can get a toy shop we can get the other things we so sorely need.”
“Socks,” said Country Mouse, obsessively.
“Sushi,” said Hoxton Mum, inevitably.
“An independent electrical shop that is willing to fix broken toasters and has a big box of spare springs that cost 35p each,” said Grange Girl, who is nothing if not specific in her demands.
“A Topman,” said Aging Lad.
“Any men’s clothing chain – Gap, H&M, anywhere that doesn’t sell tweed caps in fact,” added Born and Bred Boy.
“A French bistro serving hearty rustic suppers, like they used to have in Paris back in the 20 franc ‘menu de jour’ days,” said Sherpa Sal unrealistically.
“Skylark is great of course, but a bigger bookshop would be terrific,” said Village Postmistress, who was en route to her ‘quit smoking’ classes at the Phoenix Centre.
“A shop that sells ethnic food, like Taj in Brighton,” said Eco Dad.
It was most odd the way everyone I’ve ever known kept passing by, seemingly for no other purpose than to add their own suggestions.
“Marks & Spencers, for flip’s sake,” cried Sweary Mary.
“Yes, with a food hall please,” panted Absent-Minded Girl, running past on her way to a forgotten appointment.
“McDonalds,” said Pells Boy.
Ah. Hang on a minute.
“KFC. Burger King,” he continued. The rest of us fell silent. “A much bigger Tescos. A pound shop. A cheap hotel like a Premier Inn, for instance where the old magistrates court is.”
No-one said anything for a while. Then we all quietly dispersed. I don’t know where the others went, but I popped back to Clarkes to buy some Top Trumps.
Beth Miller. Published in VivaLewes.com. Photo by Katie Moorman