Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Post Office Shop

The post office shop  every village had one and our had the usual enamel signs nailed to the wall "Lions Tea " was one and some others besides, you can just see on the picture

This picture is how it was before they built the Cumbers council houses in 1953 numbered one to ten with a high hedge bank on this side of the road.
 Next house along was Philip Boultons cottage, then third one was the small holding and wheelwrights shop, with the Holly Bush pub in the distance on the right.

The Post Office Shop
In the centre of the village, was the Post Office shop,
They sold most thing, shelves stacked to the top,
It was run by old Mrs Smith, and her daughter Nelly,
Jars full of sweets up on the shelves, along with raspberry jelly.

 When you opened the door, ping would go the bell,
And out pops Miss Nelly, to see what she could sell,
With pearly rimmed glasses, slid halfway down nose,
And wrap round green piny, crossed over her clothes.

 She was slim with big feet, and walked with long strides,
Looked at you over her glasses, emotion she hides,
Hair combed back low, over her ears to a bun,
Without a word being spoken, she asks for what you have come.

The sweets in big jars, spread along the top shelves.
We ask for a quarter, lifts it down and into it delves,
Very precise with the needle, on what she weighs out on her scales,
Not over or nor under, prides herself on thrift with her sales.

A bacon flitch hangs from a hook, covered in muslin gainst blow-flies,
She cuts it while hanging, thin slices they not however she tries,
The ham she lifts down, and cut by hand off the bone,
With long knife that she used, she always kept it well honed.

For cooking and baking, all the provisions required,
And outback a paraffin tank, fill your drum as desired,
This was measured out, as if customs and excise,
And only after hours, to leaved counter not tended not wise. 

Nelly also ran the village Post Office, this she did with ease,
Stamps and postal orders, parcels well wrapped if you please,
She franked the mail out of the post box, each with a loud thump,
Then it was ready for the van to collect, parked by the village pump.

 Her mother was old, and had got no teeth in her head,
Big eyes magnified by her glasses, too large so it was said,
Not very mobile but nothing, and no one she missed in the shop,
In her chair in the kitchen she listened, intently as if to eavesdrop.

 As they got too old for work, they retired away to a cottage,
Kept a few hens, and grew a few things for her pottage,
They had lived very frugally, and nothing wasted at all,
And now are at St Chad, a bygone village of people AWOL. (the Churchyard)

Nelly was a very serious middle aged woman and still a spinster, she could "nail you to the wall" with one stern glare. However one snowy winter us lads had made a slide along the footpath along side of the road, and from round the corned came  Miss Nelly carrying he bucket of eggs to sell in the shop (she kept hens in a run just down the road).
One step on the slide and she landed on her back and the eggs spread all over the road, of coarse no one was in sight, we watched from a distance while she got up and continued her way back to the shop minus her eggs. We dare not go in the shop for days for fear of bursting out with laughter.

It was not done intensionaly, its just that we knew how she could  frighten us to death with one glare.

Don’t be afraid of growing slowly, be afraid of standing still.

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