Friday, 18 March 2016

Co-op

If anyone is in Scotland, they might be interested to know that Nathan is currently at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. He'll be in the podcasters' lounge tomorrow afternoon, and then, one assumes, wandering around the stalls, spending obscene quantities of money on wool.

The day started in Nuneaton, at a little Premier Inn where they did amazing breakfasts. It's very difficult not to gorge oneself silly on a Premier Inn breakfast. There are so many wonderful things to try as part of the fee!

I dropped Nathan off at the train station before 9am so that he could start his epic journey North. The rest of us hung out in the town centre. I wrote in a cafe whilst my Mum, Dad and Edward went to sort out their wills at the family solicitor. Who knew we had one of them? We talked about it briefly over a cup of tea, but it's not a conversation I like having overly much. I just felt hopelessly sad and then the need to tell inappropriate jokes.

We went to the Co-op in Nuneaton, which is apparently closing down. There are so many reasons why this news is unwelcome. Firstly, this particular Co-op is a proper old-fashioned department store. It's not one of the garishly-branded Co-op food stores you get across the rest of the country. It's in a beautiful purpose-built art deco building which looks like a cinema. Secondly, the shop is obviously a hub for the elderly population of the town. My own Grandparents used to go there all the time. It was their favourite shop. It was glamorous, even. One of the most important dates in my Nana's calendar was the bi-annual sale. She never went on the first day, because she feared she'd catch 'flu surrounded by so many people.

It's like Grace Brothers in there! There are all sorts of staff who stand behind seemingly pointless counters. A great deal of the upstairs is given over to the sale of three piece suites. The area is full of elderly people simply taking the weight off their feet before heading to another department. There's a lovely restaurant on the second floor, and the shop was chockablock with old people talking about their ailments! I was tempted to buy a light in the closing down sale in honour of my Nana, but wasn't sure I'd have the skills to wire it in. I bought three pairs of shoes instead.

As we left the shop, my Dad told me he'd heard that there was a possible reprieve for the store in the offing. The Co-op plainly own the building, and, let's face it, who on earth is going to move into a department store-sized Co-op branded art-deco elderly-Mecca building in the middle of a High Street which is basically closing down? I think Co-op has a duty to keep it open.

We went to the cemetery to see my grandparents' and my Old Uncle Ben Till's graves. Seeing my name on a gravestone never gets any easier, although my parents tell me that, further north in Warwickshire, there are stone bridges with B Till carved into them, such was the prevalence of my name within my family.

I drove home in the late afternoon. It's been cold and damp today and I just wanted to bury myself underneath a blanket in the sitting room. I watched Comic Relief. I tend to switch off when the celebrities head of on all-expenses paid trips to Africa to weep about malaria and things, but all the British charities, which usually deal with loneliness and dementia, get me every time.

I have learned that Jenson Button should stick to driving cars and that Paul McCartney needs a haircut. Returning to one's barnet from the mid 1980s is inexcusable for the over 70s!

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