I may have mentioned this before, forgive me if I have, but when I was a child my Mother worked part time in the corner shop, it was owned by a lovely couple called Mr and Mrs Swan who lived in rather swanky living quarters above the shop. During School holidays I was allowed to go to work with my Mother, I would sit quietly on a stool behind the sweet counter (torture for a child if you ask me!) but Oh! it was a lovely shop, selling practically everything from fresh hams and cheeses, daily newspapers, and of course chocolate and sweets. Sometimes I was allowed to serve children who came in for a 10p mix up! this involved putting ten sweeties of the childs choice in a paper bag, chewing gum in the shape of a small golf ball, white chocolate mice, flying saucers, fruit salad chews, then there were the jars of sweets behind the counter filled with pear drops, floral gums, strawberry bon bons and chocolate eclairs and rosy apples.

At eleven o clock prompt we were summoned upstairs to the ‘lounge’ where Mrs Swan had left a tray with milky coffee and a plate of biscuits,(Orange Kiora for me)

The lounge. Oh my life where do I start, of course this was the 70s, so think along the lines of Abigail’s party.In the corner of the room was a padded bar with a Spanish dancer doll on top, brought back from one of their many jaunts to Majorca, all seeming very exotic to a child who had never travelled any farther than Berwick, we would sit tentatively on the leather sofa with a sheepskin rug draped over the back, my Mothers coffee would be served in a little glass pyrex cup in a plastic holder, bright orange as I recall, I was in total awe of this very stylish interior. I would always, without fail go to the toilet just to swoon over the bathroom. Matching pink double sinks with gold taps in the shape of fish. Oh my giddy Aunt!

The swans teenage Daughter Barbara, had wardrobes with Louvre doors and shag pile carpet. Unreal. I was so impressed. Eventually my parents relented and bought me a shag pile carpet for my bedroom, brown, happiest day of my life.

I have happy memories of the Swans, they were very kind and although they passed away some time ago, I do think of them often. The corner shop is now sadly a tattoo parlour, I dont know who lives above it, if anybody, the wonderful mad retro world of the Swans is just a happy memory for me now.

I would still kill for a padded bar.