I talk a lot on here about being British, not being British, being part of that enormous world citizenship, travel and culture and discovery. Then I walked down the Coventry Road and spied a newsagents. And I’m not ashamed to say I bought some sweets, in sheer Random Delight. Something pulled me in, it might have been the smell, or the shade on a sunny day, or a tiny ping of nostalgia in my head.
My actual #100happydays finished yesterday (I’m way behind on my Sunday postings) but this newsagents would have been today’s. Selling sweets and magazines and a random collection of wares at the back (toilet roll, toys, greetings cards, baked beans), the newsagents must be up there among the Great British Institutions. Also known as the Corner Shop, emphasis on the first syllable as though it’s all one word, it must be part of the collective childhood upto about 1999. With the turning of the millennium childhood might have changed, these giants turn up everywhere, I bet there’s nearly one on Baldwin’s Lane now too!
For a split-second in there, the newspapers were on the counter instead of on the rack, I was transported back to the time we’d wait outside school, begging our parents for 20p to run down to Lacey’s News, all the sweets in jars behind the counter, the blonde lady and the black-haired man with a moustache who ran it, they had a big yellow dog too. We’d spend what felt like half an hour in there, choosing our sweets carefully, a quarter of this, six of those. Then wandering back down the road to our Moms ready to go home from school.
From Lacey’s to Naj to the Corner Shop in Sandy Hill, then I grew up and now my corner shop is a Spar, the next corner is a Tesco Express. That split-second brought back all that innocence, then I step back outside to the dirty Birmingham roads.
What has given you a split-second of childhood this week?