Trying to free up some space on my over-crowded bookshelves, I take down an old ring-binder that hasn’t been moved for as long as I can remember. Admittedly these days that could be as little as five minutes, but the dust indicates a period of years.
The label on the spine has come adrift, so I have to open the ring-binder to find out what’s inside: a collection of unpublished articles I wrote 20 years ago, just after I moved to Hawkesbury.
I’m soon reliving my first impressions and reflecting that in some ways, very little has changed. Rather, it’s me that’s adjusted to village life. But one article startles me: the one about the many charming local retail services that were flourishing then, long before the supermarkets started delivering to our doors.
There was Charlie Orchard the fishmonger, for example, who every Friday slipped fresh fish through our letterbox while we were out. A fish and chip van stopped outside our house on Tuesdays. To signal we wanted to order, we left our curtains open. A wonderful Village Market offered home produced goods. It was like having a village fete every fortnight.
When I wrote the article, many such services thrived within our village. But while my ring-binder’s lain unopened, gathering dust, virtually all of them have quietly fallen away. Reading the article was a sobering trip down memory lane. I hope that in another 20 years’ time, we’re not talking in the past tense about the few local services that still remain, particularly our Village Shop, Post Office and pubs. We use them or lose them, folks. May Hawkesbury be delivered from dependence on faceless, charmless supermarket chains. Every little helps local shops too, you know.
You can read some of these old articles about Hawkesbury’s local delivery services under the Hawkesbury Tales – A Village Memoir tab at the top of this page. The one about the delivery services is called Who Will Buy?
This post was originally written for the March 2013 issue of Hawkesbury Parish News.