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Allo, Allo, Alloa

George, dear, I’m home! Did you wonder where I was? No? Well I’m going to tell you anyway. After you left for golf this morning I turned over the calendar for the new month and realised we’re visiting Auntie tomorrow for her birthday and I’d forgotten to get her present. As you had the car I had no alternative but to dust off my bus pass with the vain hope of finding something in Alloa. Do you realise that in the three years we’ve lived here we’ve hardly ever been in Alloa town centre apart from dentist and optician appointments and to the bank with the occasional coffee? I don’t remember really noticing the shops except for a monumental mason.

Well, what a revelation they turned out to be. I had hoped to begin at the public toilets, but unfortunately they’ve been closed. Anyway, my first impressions of the town centre led me to suppose that the entire population must be coiffed to perfection and all giving up smoking from the number of hairdressers, barbers and vape shops, but closer inspection revealed some absolute gems! I’ve ordered a new nameplate for the front door, picked up some brochures for our holidays and I saw a lovely bracelet in the jewellers that you can surprise me with for my birthday. I met that nice couple from next door picking up a hired kilt for a wedding then Mrs Brown who’d been dropping off a pair of trousers to have them shortened.

It’s a very social place with lovely floral displays competing for pavement space with a commando level obstacle course of A-boards, bins and other miscellaneous street furniture. I rounded a corner a bit too quickly and tripped over a stray busker, landing in a tangled heap with him and his bagpipes – we looked like a modern art installation, complete with rather rude sound effects. I gave him a couple of quid in the hope he wouldn’t charge me with assault. Maybe I should get some new glasses – there’s a shop for that too!  As I was untangling myself I met Bendy Brenda from my yoga group. She’d been buying wool and a gift for her new great-niece. Rather than further contributing to the congestion on the pavement Brenda introduced me to her favourite tearoom for a lovely cuppa and a catch-up. Then it was back to the land of the butcher the baker and the sandwich maker. (I do regret the lack of candlestick-makers nowadays but although I found some nice candles they wouldn’t do for Auntie as she’s not allowed matches in return for the arson charge being dropped.)

There’s a nice selection of what your Mum would have called ‘good’ charity shops, without a whiff of mothballs or mustiness. Brenda and I are meeting next week to have our nails done and our eyebrows threaded into this century and we’ve booked a tanning session for the week after.

Auntie’s birthday? No problem. The florist made up a beautiful basket of flowers while I was having my pit-stop and I found a stunning scarf to go with it. I’m delighted with my day’s shopping but I do wonder what happened to the monumental mason.


Written by Lynda Mackenzie, local author.