OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
When I was a boy, my Mother used go into town several times a week to do her shopping. Once or twice a week she went to the Butchers and the Fishmonger and then once a week to the Grocers where there was a proper counter and a stool to sit on while you gave the assistant your order for groceries. These would be itemised by the assistant on a hand written receipt and delivered later that week by bicycle. Before Tesco or Waitrose in Ciren there used to be several Grocery shops in town that delivered. My Mother was loyal to the Wheelers Stores at the junction of Cricklade Street with Ashcroft Road which was just down from Macfisheries which was where she would buy what she called “Yellow Fish” on a Friday (Smoked Cod) to be later poached in milk for tea. In those days – and still is for many Ciren folk; we had “Dinner” at Midday to One O’clock and “Tea” was from Five O’clock to about 7pm.
In the late 1950’s and the 1960’s there were also a number of motorised grocery vans that visited the Estates , Watermoor and Stratton. The vans I remember were like a sort of walk-in version of a furniture van; fitted with shelves that were stacked up with tins of beans, peas and other popular comestibles.
Going back to bike: When I was about 13 or so, as well as an evening paper round, I also rode a delivery bike after School and Saturday mornings for Timothy Whites in the Market Place. Many was the time when, rain or shine, I would mount my bike with its metal framed basket and ride to New Mills or up Chesterton to deliver the likes of a Sink Plunger or a new towel rail, while all the time I pedalled the heavy bike, telling myself, at least it wasn’t a sack of coal..