I can’t think how many times David, the post office and his shop have been mentioned in my blog. So many times in fact that I feel all three deserve a post dedicated solely to them. Some may wonder whether I do any work at all outside of the hours spent ambling between aisles, swinging on the office chair next to the post counter and putting the world to right with my favourite shop owner .
The Lismore store (and there is only one) is a most important venue: a social hub for those who happen to stop by…a place where chance meetings and their resulting conversations are the human syrup that turns this island from an environment into a flapjack. I mean community.
For some reason the mind has a tendency to blank and whirr once within the tardis like womb of the shop. One often hears “Now, what did I come in for?” and I think this is because, once in and also while entering, there are so many diversions. Firstly, there are the island notice boards on either side of the front door where minutes of meetings, events posters, obituaries, lost items and more jostle for fame and the occasional drawing pin. Then, upon entering one is faced with a whole array of naughty temptations such as Tunnocs tea cakes, shortbread and sterling bun. It is at this point that I revisit the familiar internal debate as to whether I should stock such items in my house for these occasions when farmers come to visit but at the risk of inducing obesity in my 10 year old who sniffs out sugar like a shark to blood.
How David figures what to and not to stock is a mystery but somehow he manages to stock just about anything one might fancy from bungees to shitake mushrooms, potatoes to crab terrine and any spare eggs from over broody hens are handed by islanders for speedy sale to the henless few. The children’s toy shelf always boasts an ever evolving collection of curios from the far east be it flashing yoyos, pop guns or squidgy dinosaurs. Sometimes I test David with requests for certain items which surely he won’t have ” David, you don’t happen to have any miniature screw drivers?” or “David…coriander?” to which I am warmed and delighted by “Yes I do!”
One of the things I find most entertaining about David is his baffling honesty when it comes to best buys. An honesty which seems to fly in the face of any financial nowce, and yet pays off in customer trust tenfold. Case in point; Firelighters. On certain occasions I have tried to buy branded firelighters only to have them whisked from my hand and replaced with the happy shopper equivalent at half the price. The other day Freda was advised not to buy a certain type of tomato because they didn’t taste of anything. This honesty is a fine, fine quality indeed.
There are certain times when the shop should be avoided if in a hurry , these being primarily grannies visit when the home help minibus brings those elder members of our community on a shop outing. Inevitably the shop then becomes a place where time must bow respectfully to the unhurried and measured pace and chat of the over sixties. The other occasion is any time on Saturday when half day closing induces all and sundry to panic buy whisky, tobacco and maybe cat food to see us and our pets safely through the sabbath. This paragraph is all a little ironic since I suspect I am the ultimate shop delay on this island with my endless bouts of bulky packages to destinations far and wide.
On this point I have to offer massive applause for David’s measured and calm approach to a myriad of postal options over which we procrastinate almost daily, from the pros and cons of 24 hour to 48 hour service, maximum and minimum size, can I stuff it through the large letter slot? why can’t I stuff it though the large letter slot? Can you lend me some parcel tape so I can bind it and then stuff it through the large letter slot? what’s a tariff no? How long will it take to get there?…HOW LONG? Should I track it? what about recorded? guarantees?…ENDLESS! And as yet David has remained as calm and collected as the Dali Llama.
Thank you David. May your shop continue just as it is for many more years to come.