FANCY THAT


She stood in front of the shop window and admired the new paint work. The smart new sign screwed efficiently over the window.


She had deliberated about the name for a long time. Then she had played with different designs and fonts on her computer, before choosing finally one.


The signwriter had done a superb job.


Now ‘Fancy That’ was all ready.


The shop was full of her past.


It had been returned to her after the ‘empty’ time. Delivered in boxes, banana boxes, all in neutral banana boxes. She hated bananas.


She had unpacked it, piece by piece.


She scrutinised the displays through the glass. She looked carefully, consideringly. Trying to see it from a customer’s eyes. It had taken her painstaking hours to prepare them.


Most of the goods were organised on shelves, or in cabinets inside the shop, but the best of it was on show in the window nestling in silk. Every fold painstakingly arranged.


Who would fancy the walking stick?


Ebony inlaid with silver and enamel. Intriguing figures of dogs at the top.


She had used it when walking with her father through the water meadows; imitating him as he leant heavily on his own stick. Wild flowers had surrounded them. She remembered the clear fresh air. The excitement of discovering rare specimens, and of later scouring her father’s library for books to identify them from memory.


A cosy and safe environment. Dust and pipe tobacco smells. The old dog lying in her basket.


The intimacy of those times.


Who would fancy the Christmas Tree pot?


Green and beautiful, Chinese, inlaid with dragons highlighted in gold. A special thing.


Uninvited and unwelcome, the excitements and emotions of happy christmasses past, invaded for a moment.


Each year the chosen tree was placed carefully in the pot.


Memories of being lifted in strong arms so that she could carefully place decorations, (each with their own history) on its branches.


Of standing back and admiring the finished tree, dripping with silver.


Of clapping her hands as the lights were turned on for the first time.


Who would buy the valuable comfit jar? Heavy red Viennese glass etched with amazing figures and swirls and inlaid with tiny magnifiers. It was the centrepiece of her display.


Years ago her father told her that he would sell it to buy her wedding dress.


Inconvenienced by death, he wasn’t at her wedding.


She ruthlessly banished all these images. She glanced at her watch. Nine o’clock. Time to open.


She walked in through the front door of the shop. She waited for someone to come and buy her past.


She had already booked the trips to auctions and fairs. She would use the money from the first sales to replace the stock.


Then she would buy and sell other peoples histories - ‘Fancy That’ was to be a huge success.