Big thank you from

Thoughts drift back.. to another era of shopping

The Rambler 18/04/2003

ON Saturday afternoon a week ago I opted to sit in the car and read the paper while my female escorts went shopping. "We'll only be a `minit"' I was assured.

The `minit' turned out to be an hour, which left me plenty of time for a Soliloquy.

I was on the right hand side of Dublin Road, in a disabled bay, near Chapel Hill junction, facing a shop which I once frequented regularly - a landmark of Old Lisburn: R and D Thompson's grocery and animal feed shop (between the wars).

Two brothers Robert and David were the-proprietors and Jenny Totten of Cock Hill, Aghalee was a longserving assistant.

She was a uniquely friendly and popular lady: everybody knew jenny and Jenny knew everybody - and everybody's interests.

Robert was the ever-present boss and he was all business.

Jenny had time for a wee chat with every customer, which was not Robert's style, but he had to thole the chatting as he was well aware that jenny attracted and pleased customers.

David was a bachelor, who lived with his mother and sister out the Moira Road at Church Road - an outgoing personality. He wasn't constantly in the shops as he canvassed a wide range of farming communities taking orders for meal.

He had all the time in the world, when he visited my parents fortnightly to collect bills and take orders.

My father had died, and David took a close fatherly interest in my job-seeking. .

Fortunately for me, he had friends high up, and when I gained an interview with the head of the Stormont Civil Service, unbeknownst to me, the interviewer already knew my form, and I passed with flying colours.

As I surveyed the changed frontage of R and D's shop, naturally my thoughts were with Robert, David and Jenny (all of course long dead).

Jenny made a name for herself in Tunny Church circles, and as a local historian and antique dealer.

Inter???, she had the largest collection of moustache cups in the country.

Dublin Road junction was thronged on the eve of Mother's Day - the florists were obviously making money! -

I got my eyeful of 'style', 2003 vintage, which I will pass over.

In my younger days shoppers dressed up to go to Lisburn - nowadays not all do.

With a collar and tie on, I would have pleased Robert Young of Bow Street but I was on my own.

It is well that Robert, that dedicated stylist, has passed on, denim wear was not on his stock list and he would deplore the popularity of the causal open-necked shirt.

Nowadays, even VIPs on television screens have discarded neck ties, and the footwear of teenagers cover a lot of 'training' ground!

I'll end on a happy note - There is a home bakery and tea-shop at the head of Antrim Street which is a joy to patronise.

I have always found the staff, the service and the food, first-class.

Naturally, after a hour of waiting, I enjoyed a cuppa and as well the ladies did not leave the bakery empty-handed, at closing time on Saturdays, everything goes at half price.

Ulster Star