I’ve recently moved to Father Murray Park. It’s a place where I spent a lot of my childhood with my grandmother. But it’s the opposite side of town to where I’m used to living.
Since I made the move I’ve become car-less and have been forced to rediscover using my legs as a mode of transport.
Now, I’m finding myself ‘doing the rounds’ as it were, just like my grandmother did every Friday upon collecting her pension.
So now instead of getting everything I need in one trip to Tesco Extra, I’m now rallying around the town going from shop to shop collecting my wares.
One day I might start off by nipping into Country Fresh for some fresh orange juice, then excitedly skipping over to Sewhat Print to order another t-shirt. What a cool shop, I’m addicted.
Lisa's preferred brand of orange juice at Country Fresh. Don't even mention the spuds.
Then I’ll dance down to the bank or post office (dance is a very strong word) to spend some quality time with my bored self.
As I reach the days shopping summit I poke my head into Boyds, like an orange juice-fuelled, stationary-admiring ostrich, before breathing in the waft of McNamees buns and resisting the urge to meander from my vegan proclivities.
Then I might find myself nipping into the health food shop Height of Health for some vegan mayo and then back to Costcutters for some bog roll and an impromptu packet of crisps.
Who knows, I may even head back to Country Fresh for more orange juice - since it’s likely that I will have drank the whole of the first bottle upon my travels around the town. That’ll force you to get home fast - a great tip for the spontaneous spender.
Another pro-shopping tip – there’s no need to remember to bring your own bags. Instead just collect plastic bags just like we did in the nineties. (I’m 27, I can’t vouch for the eighties.)
And don’t worry, I’ll use them as bin bags. I’m not going to use them to fashion a hot air balloon, travel out to Gyles Quay and dump them with the fishes to start their billion year decomposition.
And for my favorite town-round of all the town-rounds... If I’m staying in on my tod that night, I usually give Wiltons Chinese a buzz and have them prepare my Lisa special.
Then I bounce (way too excitedly) down the Castletown road, Coronation Street on pause, Roy Cropper awaiting my return frozen mid-complaint.
Upon my arrival at said Chinese, I greet familiar faces and grab my brown paper in-plastic-bag full of fragrant gorgeousness.
As I eat half the chips on the way home, I remember the short but pleasant interactions with familiar humans.
And then I smile through my indigestion as I ponder what home is? Is it the bricks, mortar and unwelcome spider hideouts? Or is it the people whose smiles we know?
Now I understand what my grandmother enjoyed about her little trips about town - these little interactions are what makes a place home.
So maybe every now and again ditch the car. (Not literally, I’m not an eco-dismantling maniac!)
And take a walk through your lovely town, learn some names, build up some rapport and I guarantee you too can feel right at home.
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