Friday, January 23, 2004

I've been walking to work recently - a combination of a) trying to save money before payday b) getting exercise c) feeling tired of paying £8 a week for a 3-4 minute bus ride. It takes me about 20 minutes, so there's lots for me to take in on my journey. Funny old Salfordian pubs that open at 8 am to serve breakfast to construction workers, and have old man karaoke crooners in the evening. Converted flats and swish media companies setting up shop in old warehouses, taking advantage of the original features and cheaper rents. A rash of solicitor firms specialising in 24 hour criminal law representation. The back entrance of the Lowry Hotel.

But one place sticks in my mind. Tucked beside one of the pubs, there's a tiny, brand-new corner shop. It's squeaky clean, freshly painted and has that real sense of wanting to do well. But what makes me sad is that it only has about four shelves stocked with a standard assortment of bread, biscuits and chocolate bars. There's always a little old man sat behind the counter, and no one ever seems to be in there.

The thing is, I never really need anything they stock when I'm on my way home, and it's not open in the morning when I could pop in for some milk for the office. And I guess maybe I feel a bit shy - like I'd feel I *had* to buy something if I went in to have a look. Like those posh clothing shops that stock about 5 dresses. Only it's Kit Kats and Hovis white.

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