Thursday, 26 July 2018

Living abroad II* (with retail therapy)

Britain is becoming crowded.

Look, I grew up in London, granted in a relatively spacious street, but just around the corner from '2up-2downs' with a front door that opened directly onto the street. It was fairly crowded, but we knew that 15min drive up the road was countryside, fields, woods, open spaces and very few people. It may have been this way for the last century or so, but it *feels* like this place is disappearing under concrete faster and faster, with the gaps between villages and towns getting ever smaller.

So Brexit.**

No, it won't fix it.

Last night we semi-jokingly talked about retiring somewhere else, as in another country (Brexit may kibosh that, although I am still an Austrian citizen, therefore European) and we talked around where we might go. Italy, where we've just stayed, isn't exactly crowded but I doubt it's terribly affordable on a longer term basis. Then I suggested going all 'Marigold Hotel', and Chris wondered how she would manage to do the shopping.

All our married lives, we've shopped in a supermarket, and India, very sensibly for their local traders, has effectively banned supermarkets as we know them.

But there was a time when supermarkets like that didn't exist. When we were children.

I have distinct memories of being taken around Caters in Croydon by my mother (memories from the pushchair - so probably 1964ish) but I have many more memories of the local (as in South Norwood) fishmongers with live eels and crabs, butchers with fake grass and porcelain statues of bullocks, bakers, grocers, hardware etc shops. Yes, there was a small Tesco in the town, even then, but it wouldn't even qualify as a mini-market now, with just a single set of shelves of good running the length of the small store and an aisle that looped around it from the front door to the rear & then up the other side to the tills. There was a shop that sold working cloths and teddy-boy gear (Wolfs) in Portland road, several sweet shops (the nearest was Foucaulds - pronounced foldcards by us higgerant locals) and a toyshop (one of 3 in the town) called Noteus (which local pronunciation mangled into notice's).

I mention this lot because Bicester has no toy shops and 1 chocolatier (a Thorntons franchise) which might possibly be classed a sweet shop. It's not that I'm being nostalgic for those businesses that have closed since we moved here in 1990, but as a nation we probably have no idea how to 'go to the shops' any more.

And then, once shopping was done you would have to carry your goods home, often long distances, instead of loading it into the back of the car. I bet if this was the only way to shop, our houses would have a LOT less junk in them.

I wonder how difficult it would be to move to Jaipur?

*This has nothing to do with previous post, apart from the title.

**that's another post.

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