The Supermarket Shop


ok I know I’m old – but humour me!

As a little girl, there were no such things as supermarkets as such where we lived – or certainly not like they are today. I certainly remember my Mother and her friends gossiping on the street corner about a newly wed just moved into the locality who went out of town to do a weekly shop in one hit – Mother and friends were aghast at such decadence!

Weekly shopping never happened for us until I was past my teens practically either – instead my Mother shopped daily and we (my sister and I) tagged along sullenly at the daily boring ritual of it. A stop off at ‘Audreys Corner Shop’ for cupboard items like breakfast cereal and milk;  then onto  ’Pages Fuit & Veg’; ‘Wilkinsons Hardware’ for household cleaners, toilet rolls – stuff that was really boring – but I remember perking up when they got pet supplies in there; then on to Phil the Butcher who routinely  chatted up every housewife in the locality – he must have been exhausted by it! There was a fish monger who didn’t get much in the way of business from my Mother who wasn’t that keen on fish.(Ostensibly it was whispered he was probably Gay, as he didn’t do much chatting up -and never did as well for trade as Phil!) And then perversely off to see Mr Leader the Chemist – we always seemed to be in there for some reason.

At the weekend – we might get to go to the local Co-op – our supermarket, which in hindsight was little more than a Tesco express – but it was like wonderland to us – they had such exotics – like yoghurt and variety cereal packs and Cadbury’s ‘Smash’. We would then finish the trip in local chippy and over to Marjory’s sweet shop for a bag of Kay-lie dip. Apples had grubs in them, potoates always came with a shovel of soil, milk was in bottles and it was always home made stew and dumplings on a Tuesday.

The point to this?

Now when I think about it – I remember how we walked about everywhere – with real shopping bags come rain or shine. My Mother had to plan it all each day and eke out what I know now to be a terribly meagre housekeeping. Poverty was never really very far from our front door – but at the time I didn’t truly realise it. A fit of nostalgia, yes it is – because I don’t really want to trudge with sore hands carrying heavy bags in the wind and rain throughout January and Februay; or be faced with a pittance with which to create a culinary masterpiece. However, I do feel that something of those days is truly missed nowadays and it plays on my mind – those small things we have lost and I want to recapture something of it for my kids before its too late. To that end I intend to try! How can I wean my family shop away from the weekly rat run that is me each Friday night in Tesco or Morrisons? How can I return in a sensible way? (we do live and work in the 21st century – I can’t recreate 1962 Nottingham suburbs and nor do I wish to) Can I make sensible affordable choices that are also healthy and wholesome? I’ll let you know.

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