Bits and pieces of life

 Posted by at 00:28 on 15 January 2014
Jan 152014
 

I’m afraid you get no Travel Tuesday post today. On the bright side, my Glossop Events are all caught up, at long last! Perhaps I’ll do better and not let it get so far behind that it takes 12 solid hours to catch it up next time…. hah, that was nice wishful thinking.

Dribs and drabs …

In good news, Chris is making progress with his twitter post scheduler for me, so I should soon take far less time to schedule the twitter posts. The best option I’ve found so far takes at least 90 seconds to reload between each tweet – when it doesn’t spaz out and go blank and require me to relogin and start from scratch, which is a good 4 minute delay. This stretches out the job rather unnecessarily. And yes, this does mean the other options I’ve found were actually worse; topping that list is TweetDeck, Twitter’s own app. Thankfully, I have a Chris who’ll write me something that works properly, paring this job down for me immensley. I’m also developing a better system myself – good ol Excel to the rescue.

There’s an archery course starting next month in town, which I’m giving serious thought to taking up. It’s not that dear, and I’ve always wanted to take up archery. No idea where I’d have to go to continue playing with a bow and arrow – probably somewhere I’d have to drive to. Really need to focus on getting that UK car sorted out.

We had sunshine yesterday – all day! I made the most of it, enjoying my walk down to the post office to mail a package, to the store to pick up bread, and back home again – about four miles in all. That’s more than I’ve done in awhile; the dreary days of winter turn me into such a hermit. Happily, I’ve noticed it doesn’t go full dark now til about 4:30, instead of about 3:45, as it was doing. Hooray, longer days are a-coming!

We got some daylight-spectrum light bulbs recently to try to improve the light in our home. They go in any lamp with a screw or bayonet cap just like ordinary light bulbs, but the light is supposed to be much more close to the sun’s rays. Apparently sunlight is blue, because these bulbs are blue – and it does, in fact, match the daylight that comes through the window those precious few hours a day. It also gives much better color accuracy than our old lights, which are quite yellow: with the yellow lights, I can’t actually tell apart the gold and silver coins of the realm, should I need to do any change-wrangling at night. With the blue daylight ones, I can. So, win. But the blue trips me out in the floorlamp, so the one behind my computer stays a daylight bulb, and for now we switch the light bulb in the floorlamp between the blue one during the day (when it really works as an extra window, giving us that extra daylight) and a yellow one at night.

I’ve finally just about devised an Excel workbook that works for me for a budget. I’ve been trying for years, and finally the one I used in 2013 worked. I’ve improved it a bit, linking things up and so forth, but I think it finally works. At last! I looked back through old ones for some reason recently, and I was horrified by the first few stabs. It’s crossed my mind to make a blank version (of the good one, obviously) to post online in case it’s helpful for others, but it’s so personalized to what your exact bills are, I’m not sure that’ll work. A sample might be easier to do. Hm.

Tomorrow’s WI Day for me: a meeting in the morning and a meeting in the evening. We have seven WIs in Glossopdale, and five have their meetings today, tomorrow, or the next day. I’ll never understand why they didn’t spread them out more. Ho hum. Anyway, my usual day is generally shifted later than most peoples’, so a meeting that starts at 9:30am means a rather early morning for me. I am looking forward to seeing my friends, and also to this speaker. Faye Hartley is going to tell us about the old Finlay McKinlay’s, the old chemist shop (pharmacy) in the centre of town. I’ve heard so many little dribs and drabs about that place over the years; it’ll be nice to have one coherent talk. The speaker at the evening meeting will be sharing his experiences of being a mystery shopper; I missed the meeting when he spoke to my other WI, but heard rave reviews of his talk, so I look forward to that, as well.

I’ve recently dropped from being a member at three WIs to two. I found my attendance was very spotty at all of them, and realized it was that I was, essentially, doing the same thing over and over again. The format’s the same at all of these: a speaker for about 40% of the meeting, business for about 40% of the meeting, and informal chatting (and tea, you mustn’t forget the tea!) for about 20% of the meeting. The business is largely the same from one local WI to another – though when we have discussions, such as for the resolutions in May, it’s interesting to hear the different focuses the different groups take. The speakers make the rounds, so I have heard several speakers twice and some three times (and skipped some meetings just to not hear that speaker a third time). Because my attendance was spotty at the monthly meetings, it was spotty on group outings (since you sign up for those at the monthly meetings). The outings are where you really bond and spend time with the fellow members – where you make and maintain friendships. Since making and keeping friends is my primary reason for joining, I decided I needed to have less spotty attendance – and the only way I see myself actually doing that is to have less feeling of doing the same thing over and over!

Thursday night will be my book club meeting. I finished the book ages ago; I hope I can remember it well enough to discuss it properly! It was An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge. It was just okay; I wouldn’t recommend bothering with it. We’ve been struggling a bit lately to think of books to read; this one came out of my Book Lover’s Companion: What to Read Next. If you have any suggestions, please do tell me!

Anyhoo, off to bed for me!

Atmosphere

 Posted by at 23:40 on 11 December 2013
Dec 112013
 

I had an appointment today in Denton, about 8 miles from home. As I was making my way there and back, I reflected on how different my life is here as a pedestrian versus in the US as a driver. There are pros and cons to both, actually; there are things I will miss when I finally do get my UK license and car. I will, however, enjoy having more free time.

For my 10:35 am appointment, I set off from home at 9:00 am, and made it exactly on time. I walked the mile from home to the Glossop train station, then took the train to Guide Bridge, and then walked the mile and a half to my appointment. I did get to see the beautiful sunrise this morning (while I was getting ready), and I got to be outside properly and enjoy the sunshine that hung around all day (being in a car just isn’t the same). On the way home, I was able to slow down and see what shops there were, and I discovered a fantastic one that I would’ve driven right past and never known about or visited – it has no parking, like most shops here. I was able to feel the atmosphere of Denton, Audenshaw, and Guide Bridge (parts of Tameside, the next borough to the west), instead of passing it by in the blink of an eye, never experienced.

More about the atmosphere, and why I live where I do…

Indeed, I’ve ridden in cars and buses through Tameside quite a few times, but never experienced it like I did today. I walked one way to my appointment and a different way back from it, but both ways found me surrounded by masses of red brick buildings. I get bored sometimes of all the stone in Glossop, but I have to say, the red brick was very mildly depressing. After I got home, Chris helped me put my finger on it: it’s institutional-feeling. It’s evocative of base housing, housing estates, and the like.

On the way home, I realized what else was missing once the train got to Broadbottom: green. We Glossopians talk about how we can see the hills around us from almost everywhere in town so much that I forgot what it was like to not have it. I realized that part of the feeling besieging me today was from the lack of nature: it was all flat; just buildings, buildings, and more buildings – very nearly all red brick. To rub salt in the wound, there were quite a few little signs of neglect creeping in – paint needed here, a mending of the footpath needed there – that sap the residents’ pride in where they live. I imagined what it must be like to live there …

Much ado is made in the local press, at least, about Tameside’s lower than national average longevity, worse health issues, etc. My immediate reaction to hearing something is lower than average is always dismissal: by definition, half the data points are lower than average. Duh. Tell me instead what the spread is, where this data point lies (how many standard deviations from x̄?), and whether it’s large enough to be concerned about on this particular occassion. They never do. I also want to know how much of this problem is caused by people not wanting to get things checked out because they might end up at Tameside Hospital, with all its myriad problems (absolutely no sense of respect for patients or patient dignity whatsoever, from my personal and secondhand experience, plus the higher than expected mortality rates – though after so much number-jiggling it’d take Charlie Eppes to find the truth).

Today, however, I began to wonder if the cumulative effect of living in that environment bears some responsibility for the poorer health of our neighbors.

My family and friends back in the US have often asked why I don’t move closer to Manchester, if that’s where the paid work is, and if any commute I might have is likely to be on the order of 1-1.5 hours each way. Anywhere closer to Manchester is Greater Manchester, which Tameside is part of – and Tameside’s largely no different from the rest of Greater Manchester. It’s flat, it’s faraway from nature, it’s crowded, it’s generally showing signs of neglect, it’s generally higher crime, and so on. That’s a large part of why I live where I live.

Life’s too short to be miserable in your surroundings. Having hit upon a place that, quite the opposite of making me miserable, sits right in my soul – such a rarity – I’m keeping hold of it as hard as I can, as long as I can. The community, the people, the land – it all just clicks for me.

All that said, however, I do sure miss driving sometimes. A car could’ve halved the trip time on this occassion (but only because it wasn’t during rush hour).

Eeek!

 Posted by at 23:26 on 4 December 2013
Dec 042013
 

I can hardly believe it: this is the first time this has ever happened, in my memory.

Yall, I have emptied both my email and paper inboxes!!! Shock, awe, horror – the running and screaming in the streets will start as soon as hit Publish, clearly. Obviously, The End Is Nigh!

Am I the only one who has trouble keeping these things cleared up…?

Now I can tackle the rest of my to-do list – right after this celebratory cake… and maybe some sleep. And hopefully, you’ll even get a proper blog post before too long!

I could live off sandwiches

 Posted by at 17:58 on 14 November 2013
Nov 142013
 

We don’t have a television (for many different reasons), but we do enjoy watching certain shows very occassionally. Columbo is one of these, and we watched an episode recently. One thing we noticed early on about Columbo is that there’s an overwhelming prevalence of husbands and wives killing each other – so now we have a running joke, after watching an episode, to promise to each other we won’t kill one another. As you do.

One of the methods used in this most recent episode was poison, so I made Chris promise to not poison me. He duly did. Later on, as you can expect, he said he can’t cook or help cook anymore, so that he doesn’t accidentally poison me. Mmmhmmm.

“Okay,” I said, “that’s fine. If you’re not going to bother cooking, I’m not either – I shall live on sandwiches! Maybe the odd can of soup.”

“So you’re just going to revert to your college ways?” he asked.

“I’ll have to start buying ramen again, and making spaghettios,” I continued.

Okay, okay – I’ll cook, if only to save you from yourself!”

“There’s nothing wrong with living off sandwiches! I know, I’ve done it!” I cheerily objected.

“HOW HAVE YOU SURVIVED?!?” he demanded.

“Sandwiches are nutritious! Well, mine are.”

“That’s true,” he conceded. “It’s probably a good thing you have such high standards for sandwiches.”

(Lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions – why are these so uncommon on sandwiches? They make it far tastier!)


I often sing songs with lyrics I make up on the spot to entertain us while we wash dishes, or I make lunch or clean or whatever. Today as I was preparing one of the truly brilliant aspects of Thanksgiving leftovers – a turkey sandwich – I reflected back on that conversation. When I brought my sandwich out to the living room to eat (where Chris was coding away), I sung something about how wonderful sandwiches are, and how I could live off them. I turned to look at him, and he was just holding his head in his hands. Hee! 🙂

I’m afraid I must dash now – I’m hungry, so I think I’ll go fix myself a sandwich!

My week so far

 Posted by at 01:06 on 12 September 2013
Sep 122013
 

Having just read this interesting post about challenges some bloggers have faced and their advice for others, I’m strangely inspired to write something.

Must confess, I suffer from many of the fears they mention – wondering if what I have is worth sharing, performance anxiety, etc. I’ve decided I need to just get on with posting anyway – it’ll undoubtedly be useful to me as a record, at the least!

One aim I have with this is to keep friends and family updated on my doings, so I’ll do that in this one. I have something on most days this week (versus last week, where I gloriously barely left the house – I really am such a homebody at heart). Between social functions, I’ve mostly been toying with my calendar as I find yet more sources of events to include on it. It started out with I’d just include things as I came across them; now I’m slightly addicted, seeking out local groups’ and venues’ websites to include their listings on mine. D’oh.

Click for more …

Then I started tweeting about upcoming events. I laid in bed one night, before dropping off to sleep, realizing that that might be annoying some of my followers who aren’t local to me. True, that’s not very many, really, but it also struck me that the opposite might be true – if I tweet about events, people might only want that information, and not my oh-so-clever observations as well. So, I’ve created a separate twitter account (@GlossopEvents) from which to tweet about upcoming events. For now, I’m just tweeting about things happening in the next 24 hours or so, mostly, and retweeting others’ event tweets as I see them. Not sure if another format will work better. I imagine my followers (my event twitter has followers, woohoo!) will tell me if they think of a better format.

I really need a better icon for that account, but I can’t think of anything. Do tell me if anything occurs to you. (The current icon is the front of the Market Hall.)

So what else have I been up to? Sunday afternoon found me at The Oakwood (pub) covering the time broker slot for Glossop’s time bank. We have two time brokers, and two more (including me) who are “time brokers light” – we can do most of the time broker’s jobs, but not necessarily all of it (only the time brokers can check IDs for DBS checks, for example). One time broker was at work, and one was out of town – I made the mistake of calling it on vacation before I found out he was going camping. Poor thing. That’s not vacation at all!

They don’t say out of town here. They say away. As in, “I’m sorry, I can’t, I’m away then.” I really dislike away when used this way. I’m not entirely sure why – it’s just a word, like any other word, and in other contexts I don’t mind this word. Perhaps one day I’ll figure out why I dislike it so much; til then I’ll just keep translating it and using different phrases back to them. I also hate holiday when they mean vacation. I always want to tell them (and sometimes do, depending on the conversation at the time) that holiday means Christmas, Easter, etc. But then, the British are nothing if not overloaders of words (people who give words far more than one meaning) – some time I should actually count up all the definitions I’ve found them to have for the word brilliant.

Anyhoo, so I went to that. No one turned up to see me, for which I was actually grateful. I have this ongoing mystery sinus malaise (since March), and finally saw a specialist for it a fortnight or so ago; since then, I’ve been permutating different medicines to try to get a better handle on what helps and what doesn’t. It’s made me feel more and more lousy, and I actually felt quite, quite ill that afternoon. Chris came and sat with me the last hour, actually, which was good of him.

After my shift ended, we decided to go see how our favorite restaurant, Thai To Go, looks after its refurbishment – it’s lovely! I had my very first glass of proper iced tea in this country that wasn’t made by myself or Chris – and it was yummy, to boot! They’re selling it as lemon iced tea. I’m vastly amused I’ve had to go to a Thai restaurant to get something I associate with Southern American.

20130908_ThaiToGo DSCF4391

When we left the restaurant, the skies were very moody. This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but it looks cool in its own right, so I’ll share it with you.

There was crafting Sunday night – jointly with Chris and I – which was good. More on that in another post.

Monday morning, a friend of mine came over and we crafted together. She’s very busy, and we’d struggled to find time to see each other, til I came up with this idea of combining seeing each other with crafting, since she’s into lots of different crafts, and I always have something that needs mending or altering or something in my pile. I actually remembered how to do the stitch May taught me back in May at that class, a sort of hand blind stitch thing, to alter the front of a top I have. I’m almost done with that bit; next up I’ll be adding beads to that top. Fall’s definitely arrived – or perhaps winter – and with it motivation for me to finally get my warmer clothes sorted out. It was lovely to see my friend; I always enjoy our chats.

Monday evening I discovered my online order for grocery delivery from Sainsbury’s had been cancelled. (I do an online order once a month, to help reduce the amount of shopping I have to lug.) I’d not ordered from them before, but I’d gotten a coupon so I’d given it a try. I actually had coupons from three of them for the same week, so I pulled up all three and did my shopping at each one to see which would be cheaper. As I expected, they came out all very nearly the same, so I opted for the one with the biggest coupon. Anyway, turns out Sainsbury’s has some ill-thought-out policy about quantity you can order: if you order over 6 of any given item, you have to go through some “bulk order” process (I’m not sure what this entails) and order it a week in advance because, as the lady on the phone told me, “We’re not a warehouse.” Gosh, that cat food only comes individually – and she eats more than 100g (3oz) every 5 days! Righty ho, Sainsbury’s can carry right on not getting our money – not that I think they’ll notice.

Tuesday afternoon was Lunch Bunch – a certain group of 3 friends plus myself trade off hosting lunch every month or two. That was lovely, as always. The lady hosting this time had her daughter and five-month-old granddaughter there with us this time; thankfully the granddaughter was very happy and quiet most of the time. After a couple of hours she got quite fussy, so her mother took her home. It was nice to meet them, though. I do so enjoy Lunch Bunch. I hope to start another sometime, actually, because I think it’s a brilliant idea.

Today was a WI activity – Charlesworth WI went on a safari lunch. We had starters at one house, then a main course at another house, then dessert at another house. Well, actually, we broke into three smaller groups, so each group had its own house for starters and main course, and then we all converged to one house for dessert. I’ve decided that, while I see the practicality of it (preparing the whole meal yourself is a whole lot more work, to start with), I’m not keen on this idea of grazing all afternoon. I may give it another go to be sure – I really wasn’t in a social mood today, as happens sometimes for no particular reason, which I’m sure tainted my perception of things.

Tomorrow night there are three different things I’d like to go to – Simmondley WI’s meeting, my book club’s meeting, and the launch of Glossop Record Club – but my book club always wins when it conflicts with anything. This month we’re reading J.K. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, which I must finish tomorrow. So far it’s been a decent read, though I’m not sure how much discussion we’ll get out of it!

The record club guy told me he hadn’t realized there was so much on on Thursday nights – I’m hoping my calendar becomes a useful tool for people trying to schedule things around town: I’m hoping I get enough on there (I don’t aim to include everything: that way lies madness) that they can fairly reliably use it to choose lesser-populated days – or where what is planned that day targets a different audience, at least. Fingers crossed!

Then I’ll have to get ready for Sunday – I’m looking forward to the Charlesworth & Chisworth Village Get Together! 🙂

How I Shop in Glossop

 Posted by at 22:18 on 31 August 2013
Aug 312013
 

One of the many things I had to learn when I arrived here in Glossop was how to shop. There is no Target, no Walmart. There is no Tesco Extra1 in my town. When I want something, I must go hunt it down, like game in the jungle, elusively mocking my inability to find it.

Glossop High Street.

At least, that’s how it felt at first. Coming from the land of find-everything-under-one-roof, where I see more and more small shops have gone the way of the dodo on each visit, to this land populated entirely by small and medium shops, I was very frustrated at first. It didn’t help that I wasn’t even familiar with what I was looking at: where’s the 409?2 the Bounty?3 the Downy? What’s “washing up liquid” and why’s that on the aisle sign in the supermarket?4 Why does searching for “sponges” on the supermarket website bring up cake?5 Where can I buy a hand dishwashing rack and bowl?6 Where do they sell unscented candles?7 WHERE is the baking soda!?!

Okay, a few of those are (slight) exaggerations, but I still really miss the ability to just look for the really big numbers 409 and quickly leave the chemicals aisle (the fumes always bother me), not to mention having just one bottle of cleaner I’m sure will pretty much work on anything.

However, I wouldn’t trade my shopping experience here with my all-under-one-roof shopping experience in the US (most days). What I have here is just too enjoyable to do that. Friday, I was out for 4.5 hours to do the shopping, and it was really lovely. Doing the shopping here is so much more a social event for me than it’s ever been before in my life; I reckon it’s outside the experience of most of my friends and family, and far too many Britons, so it’s about time I write about it.

Read all about it …

On this day, I started by seeing my beautician, Suzanne at The Beauty Room, who has the unfortunate responsibility of taming my wild eyebrows. Usually you think of waxing as rather unpleasant, but I don’t mind going to see Suzanne – the pain itself is far less from her than from other waxers I’ve had, but moreover the natter is always enjoyable and usually interesting.

I emerged from there and saw that the newly-opened bakery in town, One17, was actually open, and I was there, so I popped over to check it out. I met the proprietress, Jane, and we had a lovely chat about all sorts of things. I bought a couple of things to try, and went on my way.

I headed up to the market, to work my way back down again (I don’t usually double back, but Suzanne’s is in the middle of my path down the high street). On the way, I saw Nigel, the proprietor of Sowerbutts, taking stock as I passed by. He was sure to point out to me that they’d gotten in some smoked garlic; I thanked him and told him I’d get some on my way back down the street. Shortly after that, I ran across someone I know but haven’t seen for ages; we stopped and chatted a bit about how life’s going. I told him about Bankswoodberry this weekend, since the rock music playing there struck me as his cup of tea (I was right).

Then I picked up my local(ish) paper, the Glossop Chronicle, from the newsagent. I finally remembered to look for the Buxton Advertiser‘s new Glossop edition, only to find out that this week is the first week they haven’t published it. Apparently it didn’t sell very well, so they’ve stopped. The newsagent and I had a good laugh at the supreme localism – how some people look askance at people from o’er the hill – and how the Buxtonites, especially, can’t be trusted, after having stolen Glossop’s Howard Park gates all those years ago!

I poked around Niche Markit, after being lulled over by half-price sizable water guns. The clerk put her mind to helping me find a gift – no luck, in the end, but I definitely had to relieve them of a couple of water guns. 😉

I waved at Maggie, who waved back while talking with someone at her card stall as I went past, and I headed into the market. The lady who runs the Market Deli was leaving to get some customers something out of the freezer as I was passing by; trust runs high in these parts – I hope rightfully so. The market bakery (The Muffin Stall) still had some oven bottom muffins (also here), so I snapped up a couple for Chris. Then I stopped at the cheesemonger’s, Parker’s, and had a lovely chat with Jean.

Jean’s hiding down at the end in this snap.

Too many times I’m in a rush when I do the shopping, but today I wasn’t, so I strolled through the market and ogled the rug stall (we need a new living room rug, but I keep forgetting to measure our floor). The stallholder came over and chatted to me again – the first time I was drawn to his stall, he told me all about his trip to New York some years ago, and we’d had a lovely chat. I wandered down to Glossop Screenprint, who’s recently set up a stall in the market. He has some very amusing shirts, but I hadn’t realized he was a screenprinter, too, until I saw something from the market’s twitter mentioning it. I have an idea for some t-shirts to make, so I got some prices and information from him. Then some socks caught my eye at Mini Muggles (a children’s clothing stall), but sadly they didn’t have the size I needed. The gal helped me work out size probabilities for a child of unknown size, and efficiently helped me find something to suit. Hooray!

Wandering around, my ear was caught by an acquaintance of mine hollering at me; I turned to find her sitting in the market café with a cup of tea. I was quite hungry by now, so I joined her for a sandwich and a chat. That was really lovely: we swapped stories of our trips around America. Mine was my recent road trip this past spring, and hers was some unspecified number of years ago. She went coast to coast, from Maine to San Francisco – all on a coach! I really don’t envy her that. But it was lovely to reminisce, and to visit with her.

We parted ways, and I finally made my way back down to Sowerbutts to get that smoked garlic, plus the rest of my greengrocer list. Three of the regular workers were there, and two different of them quickly told me about the new loyalty card program (well, the second one started to, but the first one jumped in and said, “I already told her – beat you to it!”). We pulled each others’ legs about our food preferences and dislikes, and after a bit I was the only customer in the shop, so I told them about my accent experience (from my last post), and we talked about accents a bit. I was able to ask them about the offense that might be construed by mixing up two certain accents (quite a lot, as it turns out) – which helps me understand why it is that people always phrase the question as, “Where is your accent from?” instead of “Are you from ____?” Once we’d solved all the mysteries of the universe ;-), I headed on.

I also dropped by the butcher we use, Mettrick’s. I still feel so blessed that we can get meat from a butcher who is patient and knowledgeable enough to answer all my questions (born of continuing to cook American recipes while living in England, where all the cuts of meat are called differently), and has such a short supply chain that should any problem ever occur, it will be quickly dealt with, because all the links are known – personally.

Then I found that the newest shop on High Street (it just opened on Monday) was still open, so I dropped in to have a look around. It’s lovely, and full of nice things. I chatted a bit with the proprietor Darren, and he told me that the nail salon they plan to open is planned for the upstairs – so this gives me hope that the fumes won’t keep me away after all! Happily, he reported that they’ve had a lot of lovely feedback in this first week – fingers crossed that translates into enough sales to keep them around.

Then I needed to pick up the last few things on my list from the supermarket, so I headed there. Ran across two different friends I haven’t seen in awhile, chatted a bit with each. My teacher friend thinks summer’s gone far too quickly, unsurprisingly; my other friend had just returned from ten days in France, and had to restock – especially on bacon, which she couldn’t find there — what scandal!

So that’s how I spent four and a half hours doing the weekly shopping. That’s also (part of) how to be part of a community, which is what’s being threatened by the demise of British High Streets. The connections, the humanity, the non-sterile experience: these and far more are at stake.

Connecting with people was a huge part of what I missed while I was in America this past spring. The cashiers at various supermarkets were friendly enough, but I guess the difference is it’s just one transaction at the end instead of the many different people I interact with each week here at home. The posher supermarkets now have manned cheese counters, bakeries, deli counters, fish counters, etc; I understand some here do, as well. I don’t know about the ones here, but the ones we were in, all across the breadth of the US, were very rarely staffed with workers anywhere nearly as knowledgable as the traders on my high street. They were still supermarket employees who’d never received any training specific to the counter they were manning, mostly. So no, I doubt I’d ever bond with them as I’ve bonded with the people here, simply because how I broke the ice in the beginning was by having to ask about nearly everything.

I still have to ask about Praze deli‘s bewildering array of cheese!

Glossop is incredibly blessed in its richness of traders, particularly independent ones – I’ve only mentioned the tip of the iceberg here, and not even all the ones I visit. There’s the cobbler, whom I only see sometimes, and the other cobbler whom I don’t use; there are at least two other butchers; there are two pound shops; there are a dazzling array of charity shops (thrift stores); there’s a sweet shop; there’s a craft shop I use quite often; the list just keeps going on and on. Unfortunately, too many towns in England are suffering from closures of high street shops.

Even where national chain shops are the only choice, that’s still far better than shuttered high streets. The whole social thing that is the human experience still happens as long as the shops are staffed by people. The WI resolved this summer to work to save the high streets. Hopefully our work towards that goal will accomplish good things for all.

  1. Britain’s answer to Super Walmart []
  2. 409 is an all-purpose spray cleaner; yes, I know there are plenty of them to choose from here, but that still requires reading the “how to use” stuff on the back to figure out which ones they are, instead of just knowing which cleaner does what. []
  3. Bounty paper towels, not Bounty candy bars. I’ve realized now that Bounty paper towels are re-branded Plenty now. []
  4. Turns out washing up liquid is dish soap; they say: “I have to do the washing up” instead of: “I have to wash the dishes.” []
  5. They call ordinary cake sponge cake here, to differentiate from fruit cake (which, strangely, they call a celebration cake, instead of a door stop). []
  6. From the supermarket, the market, or the pound store, but you’ll pay the most at the supermarket. []
  7. Not many places, it turns out, and again, the supermarket’s the worst on price. []