Posted in Personal life

Counter Spy in the New-Style Village Shop

New shop sign saying Hawkesbury Stores
The new name for the Hawkesbury village shop since it passed into community ownership

This post about my new role as a volunteer in our community-owned village shop first appeared in the Hawkesbury Parish News (August 2016)

A few days ago, I entered the village shop with some trepidation for my first ever shift in our new community-owned shop.

I am not sure how I got to be this old without ever having worked in a shop before. The closest I’ve come was is during a very brief career as a waitress in a York tea-shop when I was a student. 

After just two Saturdays, I retired, defeated by the need to manoeuvre a cake-laden tea-trolley laden up and down steps between three different rooms in the tea-shop. Any tips I earned were left  out of pity rather than gratitude, while the waitresses for whom this was a full-time job boasted they’d collected enough to buy fur coats.

Girl on horseback riding past the crowds outside the shop
Rush hour at the new Hawkesbury Stores

Fortunately, my first shift at the village shop was less traumatic. Despite there being much to learn, I couldn’t have had a more positive and encouraging teacher (thanks, Kath!), nor a cheerier clientele, all of whom were full of praise for our new-style stores.

Even so, it’ll take a few more shifts before I can stand behind the counter without feeling like a pupil who has sneaked in to the staff room while the teachers weren’t looking.

Photo of vicar doing a blessing in front of the crowds
“God bless these stores and all who shop in her” – the vicar does his first ever shop blessing, after the Hawkesbury Stores had been officially opened by Hawkesbury-born Rio Paralympian James Blackwell (in red tracksuit top)


Cover of All Part of the CharmA collection of my columns for the Hawkesbury Parish News 2010-2016 is now available to buy in paperback or as an ebook. It includes as bonus material some essays I wrote when I first moved to the village over 25 years ago.

Naturally, the paperback is for sale in the Hawkesbury Stores, but you can also order it from any bookshop (just quote ISBN 978-1911223023) or online.

“Totally charming… just makes you want to pack up and move there straight away” says Spabbygirl’s review on Amazon UK.


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

Leave a Reply