Thursday, July 05, 2007

Universal Martha

Imagine if you will, a small village in rural Wales. Actually, village is probably too grand a term; more of a hamlet, just a road with houses either side. There is a pub (naturally), a church and a post office/general store. Nothing more, not even a craft centre or pottery (this is possibly the only place in Wales where there isn't one).

In some villages in Wales the post office/general store is quite a thriving concern, having diversified from the normal run of the mill foods to providing organic vegetables, locally sourced foods and other delightful goodies to the discerning customer. Not so this little shop. It is a sad little shop and in sore need of a business makeover. You will not find produce from the local farm here or even local honey. In fact you will not find much of anything of any description on the shelves. The day we visited it reminded me of what you might find in a shop on the last day of its closing down sale, just before they sold off the shelves themselves. We were holidaying nearby in a little cabin in the woods, belonging to Rob's parents, and had braved the rain to venture out in search of bacon, milk and a newspaper. Then as we paid for our few purchases, I saw it, glowing out from the dismal news' stand and you could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather.

Yes a copy of Martha Stewart's Living Magazine and not an edition that had been languishing there for months or years but that very month's current edition. Utterly astonishing!

Now, normally if I want to buy this magazine I have to make a special trip up to London, to Borders in the Charing Cross Road. It is just not that widely available here, scarce in fact. And yet here it was in this forlorn little store, with nothing to speak of on the shelves, in a little Welsh hamlet in the middle of nowhere. Proof indeed that Martha Stewart is a global phenomenon. I gave thanks to God and paid for it quick, praying that I wasn't depriving a regular customer of their copy. Then we went on our way, marvelling at such unexpected bounty and, it being a holiday, I devoured the magazine at one sitting. Yum!

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