The Tash Tales with Alf Ridyard

Little Hollow was a small sweet shop at the corner of Bag Lane and Market Street
Little Hollow was a small sweet shop at the corner of Bag Lane and Market Street

Shopping today means either a trip to the supermarket in the car or sit in the chair and order it online for delivery to your door.

In some cases ordering a colourful package without knowing really what’s inside, plus we have the offers of buy three pay for two, or save 10p by buying two for £1.90 when the cost is £1 for the single item.

My point is most of the stuff goes in the freezer or fridge and half of it gets binned somewhere down the line.

Back in time before these out-of-town supermarkets, shopping was done on the high streets, in grocers, butchers, bakers and fruit and veg shops.

These were shops like The Maypole, Melia’s, Seymour meads for groceries and dairy product, Allsops or Wrends for fruit and veg and a butcher showed you the meat and the cut to your choice.

The milk was bought by the pint and delivered daily by the Co-op or local dairy on a horse and cart, the horse knowing where and when to stop particularly where the customer brought out the old bread crusts.

Of course there were drawbacks in those days without fridges, it meant that meat was bought on a daily basis or more likely when you could afford it, plus walking home or catching the bus laden with bags of shopping, making you look like a mountaineers pack horse wasn’t much fun.

If you lived out of town you were more likely to visit a corner shop during the week and just go into town on Saturday to do the big shop.

My own recollection in 1959 as a 12-year-old whose Saturday chores in Atherton, were as follows, first a trip to Allsops for 5lb spuds (1/-) 1lb carrots (6d) pea pods (6p) 1Lb onions (7d) then change counters for four oranges, 1lb apples, 1lb bananas, and 1lb tomatoes all this came, from memory to around 10/- (50p ) and seldom varied.

Take that lot home then back out to the bakers (Coans) for two large loaves, unsliced and while out, pay the papers at Gaffeys paper shop next door, get bacon and sausages from Redman’s not in packs but just a of number slices of bacon or sausage for Sunday breakfast, back home with these and just one more chore, to the Co-op in Stanley Street, for milk checks, square for sterilised and round for pasteurised, plus a quarter of tea, weighed out in a blue bag, sugar if needed and butter, patted and wrapped and cheese cut with a wire and wrapped.

My most disliked shop was the tripe shop on Market Street. To this day I find it repulsive to look at, never mind eat it.

All this was for my spends of 6d, 3d went on the Saturday afternoon matinee at the Palace picture place and 3d worth of toffee from the little hollow toffee shop on the corner of Bag Lane.

Nowadays you could not get a 12-year-old away from the TV or off their phone or iPad to move a cup or a plate, never mind tramp miles round the local high street, the good old days, well!

I am not too sure about that. No doubt others will have different recollections of other shops but these ones stick in my mind.