Posted in Personal life, Writing

Tuning In at John Lewis

New on my This post was originally published in the October issue of the Hawkesbury Parish News

cover of parish mag with my John Lewis card
October issue with my new John Lewis card

The finishing touch required for our new extension was a little background music.

My tastes in music are eclectic, but when I’m reading or writing, I prefer to listen to something without words. I needed a machine to do justice to classical music.

Going to John Lewis to buy a modest CD player to fit the space, I quickly discovered it’s nigh impossible to buy a stand-alone CD player. All seem to come with a DAB radio attached.

How the Other Half Shops

While awaiting my turn for the assistant, as I browsed the machines in the lower price bracket, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the elderly couple the young man was serving. For them, money was clearly no object: they were inspecting the product range of a brand fancy enough to have its own display area. I assumed they must have a more discerning musical ear than mine.

Not so. “Please may we try it on BBC Radio 4?” asked the elderly lady.

Once they’d been despatched with their purchase, when the assistant came to help me. I said to him, “Only in John Lewis would a customer ask to test your best hifi on Radio 4.”

The couple must have been working their way round the department, because the two models I’d been looking at were also tuned to Radio 4. Stephen Fry was in full flow on them both.

“Perhaps you should have him playing on a continuous loop,” I suggested. “His velvet tones would sell any sound system more easily.”

The assistant smiled conspiratorially.

And almost before I knew it, he was ringing up my sale on the till.


Cover of All Part of the Charm

Every month, I write a short column like this for our local community magazine, the Hawkesbury Parish News. I’ve collected the first six years worth of columns in a book, All Part of the Charm: A Modern Memoir of English Village Life, along with several essays I wrote about living in the village when I first moved here over 20 years ago. It’s available in paperback and ebook format via Amazon and elsewhere. 

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