Thursday, June 07, 2007
Atherstone, my kind of town
I went into the town yesterday and had a good look around, and it has a really good, old fashioned high street, with two butchers, three bakeries, banks, a post office and a variety of other shops, including a Viking office supplies outlet, a few beauty parlours, at least three of those cheap hardware sort of shops (very useful) and the lovely mobile phone shop in the photo. There's also a small Somerfield in the high street itself, and a Co-op 'superstore' (rather touchingly so named, I think) and an Aldi just about on the end, but hardly out-of-town. Oh yes, and three charity shops, including two for local hospices, which doesn't fill one with hope for the residents of the area, but netted Jim a great pair of new boots. And a farm shop and two off licences.
But the thing about it is, of course, that it's like stepping back in time to the days before superstores took over the country with their illusions of choice and cheapness. Whenever I'm in a new place (this goes back to when I was going to job interviews all over the country) I think 'could I live here?' in terms of 'could I enjoy shopping here?', and I think I could really enjoy shopping regularly in Atherstone. It's very unflashy and unglitzy, but seems genuine and, hopefully, sustainable - although I have to say it wasn't exactly heaving with customers. All that and the canal too.
Things have been picking up a bit here today with more people arriving; a great many with dogs various and one with a cat. People have started coming to look at the engine, including the RN top brass, who got stuck straight into it, and Warrior has had a few compliments, which has done much for my view of human nature. I am still deeply perturbed, however, by the fact that the man who is co-ordinating the moorings for the rally is called, not as you might imagine, the Moorings Co-ordinator, but The Harbourmaster. I don't know why they don't just get him a cap with some gold braid and call him the Commodore, frankly (although he is doing a great job, but we must be about as far from the nearest harbour as it is possible to get).
Tomorrow we have to sign up for the workshops, which I think I've rather lost enthusiasm for. Do I want to display my woeful (lack of) crocheting skills to the world in general? There is a session on 'Boat Electrics for Ladies' (why you need a really expensive inverter to run your hairdryer. No, really). As there is no equivalent session for blokes, Jim wants me to go along as a kind of fifth columnist and report back, but I don't think I can face it, so I've said he can borrow my dress if he likes.