I was talking to Penny this morning. Until three weeks ago she worked at one of the nicest shops in the town. If you needed a present or some ornament for yourself or your home, that's where you looked first. It had been run for more than twenty years by Tony, with initial input from his brother. Last summer, Tony and his wife Mary were involved in a road accident with a Ministry of Defence vehicle, and Tony did not survive.
Mary decided to sell the business, and the new people took over about a month ago. It so happened that the Sage was their first customer, buying wedding anniversary cards for our children.
Penny always used to call into Al's shop early, on her way into work, so I'd missed seeing her since her retirement, but she came in today. She says she's finding it hard to adjust, but her house is very clean... And she still can't bear to go into the shop, although she wishes the new owners well.
She had heard, however, about the warm welcome they have received. Steve, at the restaurant next door, went in the first lunchtime bearing welcoming glasses of wine. People have called with cards and messages of goodwill. They were deeply touched. The town they used to live in, only a few miles away, isn't like Yagnub*.
Penny was not at all surprised. In the week of the anniversary of Tony's death, many people took the trouble to call in, just to say that they remembered, and were thinking of him.
No, I wasn't one of them. I'm not that thoughtful, and I'm from a larger town. It wouldn't come naturally.
I have been in to welcome the new owners though. It was my friend Lynn's birthday this week and I bought a wooden pestle and mortar from Bali and a carved wooden horse from the Philippines for her - both of which I rather wanted to keep...
*As always, credit Badgerdaddy with the reversing of the name