Where would you get a pound of butter, if you lived around here? was one of my late father’s regular questions when we’d be driving around in the middle of nowhere.
Those drives and his question flash into my mind almost daily as I walk up to our local Centra shop which is just around the corner. We just call it The Tank because it was originally called The Tankfield Stores and you know the way you have a tendency as you get a tad older to call shops by the names they had when you got to know them first?
The Tank is all about ‘gatherings,’ for me. The staff are like old friends; it’s a place where I’m bound to meet someone I know; a place that has seen me in every conceivable mood; a place where I’ve shared in the highs and lows of community, town, county, national and international life; a place that I’ve seen change hands over the years but somehow retain that sense of being fundamental to my family, neighbours and local community generally. Apart from all that, it’s the landmark that I use to direct people to our house and a place where everyone, local, visitor or passer-by is greeted with a smile.
I suspect most people have a ‘local shop’ of some description ~ and here’s where I hand over to you!