Since I arrived in Edinburgh to work [in 1990, OMG where does the time go?] I have lived by the Meadows, and frequently shopped in a very particular local street, Argyll Place. This is a street of small shops, and enterprising stores, like the Bicycle Place, Kong, the Thai/chinese restaurant, the New Leaf (organic foods). Some come and go, like the Body Well and yoga/pilates venues, or the coffee shop (that is now called Meadowlark – and is very nice, has been tried).
Some seem to have been there forever, though they can’t have been. Argyll Place is known across Edinburgh for the ‘fruit and veg’ and the ‘food from other places’ shops. Here is where one can buy fruit and veg, maybe lychees and pomelos or pineapples, pears and parsnips. In the everything shop I have bought soy sauce and mung beans and sacks of rice and baklavas dripping with impossibly sweet honey (only bought them once). The generation older than I speak urdu, and scottish/english with a sing song in their friendly voices, the young men with boxes of mangos or bags of potatoes on their shoulders, speak a stronger scottish than I do with my ulster voice, though they shout orders to each other in a different tongue. Often children are there, sleeping in a push-chair, or seen after school time, doing home-work in the back. Is that the same child I remember sleeping in the push-chair? Of course it is, and his brothers sisters cousins others, have grown too.
Yesterday, having returned after absence, I went to buy some split peas, fancying a favourite Pea and Ham soup.
The everything from every where shop has closed. [I can get the peas at Tesco’s now if I really want.]
A little loss, somehow it is very deeply felt.