Thursday, September 02, 2004


Some excellent news: I've decided on my new local newsagent. I don't know why I'm so proprietorial, like a cat staking its claim to its favourite spots (when me and Vic went back to London we noticed my mum's cat, Millie, only sits in three locations in the garden; all others have been sounded out and declared imperfect). We already knew all the pubs round here when we moved (we are, after all, just up the road and make it our business to know about these things) so the fun of locating a new local was denied to us, so I've been making do with working out which paper shop to give my patronage - the one at the bottom of the road or the one further down Edward Street.

Well, it's no contest. The nearest is a horrid, dark little place - the door lets out a intimidating bleep when you open it, which perhaps is meant to wake the staff, not that it works. They stare, near catatonic, perhaps shocked, as I edge in and inch over to the counter, where chocolate bars are piled in their original cardboard boxes. I resist the urge to lean in and try to locate one of those newfangled Marathon bars and grab at a Dairy Milk. The box is empty, but still on the shelf. I make do with a bag of crisps, probably past their sell by date. Does the woman know I am here, I wonder, as I hold out a coin. Yes, she grabs at it! I feel like I am buying a pornographic magazine, somehow ashamed. She looks at me with disgust. I retreat.

Down the road it is heaven. I skid down the hill and look! - new magazines in the window, nicely lined up! Sweets in jars! The chap behind the counter greets me as if I am the man he wants to marry his daughter. This is my shop. The climb up the hill afterwards might even get me fit, who knows.

Actually, I like it so much that I feel suddenly nervous about whether I should still wait 'til I get to the station in the morning before I buy my newspaper or make the switch entirely. I worry about the man, who has such hopes for me and his daughter. But thus far he has not yet addressed me as 'boss', as my man by the station does, so I shan't commit myself for definite quite yet. We underpaid Assistants have to take deference wherever we get it, you know.

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