Thursday, 3 April 2014

When Shops Didn't Open On Sundays

06:49:00 Posted by Lara Clayton , , , , , , , , 2 comments
I spent half of my childhood growing up in a city, and although I love nature and beautiful places, that city (and my parents) taught me how to seek out these things when they aren't offered to you in abundance. Whether it was my Nan showing me the dewdrops gathered on a spider's web or Sunday afternoon walks down a disused railway line - we found pockets of wildness to excite our young minds.

The Sundays of my childhood, the ones before shops started opening, were about family. Drives out to the Cotswolds to clamber and collect crab apples, walks around the closed city centre and visits to my grandparents. These days were full of simplicity. They were inexpensive, and yet they are perhaps some of the most memorable days.

Many of my childhood memories include my sister - with her only being eleven months younger than I am, I don't remember life without her. And despite us almost being polar opposites of each other, I'm glad I had a friend to explore the world with.

Pocket Money

On Sundays, my sister and I would walk
around Coventry’s concrete city centre.
Shop shutters down and locked for the day.

Her trainers would flash red at the heel
as she skipped in front while my eyes shifted
like a magpie, looking for the glint of something shiny.

With two Safeway carrier bags and a magnet
we collected aluminium cans, clattered
and clunked through the empty precinct.

In a supermarket car park on a Saturday
our efforts would be weighed and costed:
one type of metal for another.

My sister would spend hers: buy penny sweets
counted into a white paper bag;  a 10p Freddo
if she was feeling reckless.

While I would slip my coins into a ceramic pig,
saving bronze and copper-nickel,
until loose change became a paperback book.

Thank you for reading,


Christo said...

Thank you for this, Lara, which is most enjoyable as I shared many of these moments during my own childhood, but here in Blackpool and minus any siblings.
Sundays meant Church in the morning (I was in Cubs), traditional Sunday lunch, Sunday School early afternoon, and one of the free enjoyments (Grundy Art Gallery; Stanley Park; a bus ride to the sandhills at Starr Gate in Summer; Sunday teatime with my aunt and uncle who had a tiny TV), and you capture well the ghost-town atmosphere of the Town Centre back then.
Like you, I was trained in the habit of saving for treats which as I aged became day train trips to Preston, Manchester or Crewe - trainspotting taught me so much about GB.

Adele said...

Simple images. Happy days. Lovely lara.