Monday, 27 March 2017
Cynthia's Three Tweaks
Very moved by something that happened on Friday. I was in Aldeburgh High Street, having left some author copies of My Tutu Went AWOL for display at the book shop, when Cynthia called after me. Cynthia used to own the grocer's shop. She said how touched she'd been to read my back page thank you to her mother, Mrs Cooney, as one of the lookers-on and cheerers as I got Madame Galina from church hall to west end, via Blackpool, Iraq and Afghanistan.
'Lovely things you said. And about Margaret, too. She was a one, that one. People - or is just me - over time are getting more diluted. Oh, I just wish I still had the shop for you to go smack in the front window!'
As she walked on towards the Old Customs House I smiled, remembering the first time I ever bought anything at Cynthia’s. It was August 1985. I had looked for a basket, not found one, and begun taking items off the shelves. Excusing herself from a customer, Cynthia had politely but firmly relieved me of the items. ‘We’re not self-service here like the Coop. Oh, and Wood’s garage; but that’s only self-service just at present due to bereavement.’ Then when it was my turn, she had asked me what I would like.
‘Jam, would that be? Thank you very much.’ Tweaking first the fringe of her page-boy bob, then the middle button on her tabard and lastly the knees of her stockings. ‘And would that be apricot, blackberry, blackcurrant, damson, gooseberry, quince, raspberry or strawberry? Damson. Thank you very much.’ The three tweaks again. ‘And would that be Robinsons, Tiptree or homemade? Homemade, would it? Thank you very much.’ A further three tweaks. ‘And would that be home made by Mrs Aaron, Mrs. Abbot, Mrs. Ackhurst, Mrs. Addenham, Mr…hm!...Agate, Mrs. Ahern, Mrs. Allan, Mrs…’
I thought I might forego buying Pic-N-Mix.