There is always something going on outside if you are bored

What I need is a bit of street entertainment.

I have been recovering all week from the tiredness induced by the last two weeks of socializing and celebrating. I was approached recently by an organization acting for a group that apparently I belong to. I am a TBIS I was told. Great! I love being included in things I thought but then I found out that TBIS stands for Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors. Well it is better to survive than not to, as Gloria Gaynor sang.

All week I have felt pathetically tired and my brain haemorrhage induced stammer has been the worst that it has ever been so I listened to all those well-meaning words of advice and I have been taking “it easy.”

Taking it easy is one of those phrases like “chilling out” or “taking care” – much easier to say than to do but I have tried my best.

Luckily, there is always something interesting going on outside my house and this week I have had the bonus of that most fascinating of spectator sports, builder-watching.

It is only enjoyable though if the building work is nothing to do with you or your bank account.

All week, whilst I have been idle, the newly sold shop across the road has been over-run by craftsmen and women all plying their trade.

This man has been covering up the rather atmospheric green tiles that used to tell me that once upon a time the shop would have been either a butchers’ or a greengrocers’ but maybe I am wrong. Since I moved to my terraced house across the street, it has been the evocatively named “Barefoot Herbs” which used to sell herbal remedies, ingredients and a variety of goods attractive to vegetarians, alternative medicine aficionados and anyone interested in “proper” ingredients. Sadly it has moved to the High Street so I will no longer have the pleasure of popping across the road for a fine loaf of bread and stepping over one of the proprietors as he sat on the door step playing his didgeridoo – barefoot of course. You get what sort of town I live in – I would have it no other way.

The carpenter was doing a great job, I thought, creating a new frontage with neat ornamental woodwork which must be highly satisfying if you have the skills.

I quite liked those tiles though but enough of that, I could always tell some future owner that they are there and that the doorstep really does need a resident didgeridoo player or maybe even a bagpiper.

Inside they were putting down a new floor but my camera, I guess should behave and not pry through windows. So when the carpenter left, I just had to guess what kind of shop was going to open. Excitingly, the next day a painter arrived complete with face mask and colourful marigold gloves. She, Sheila, has been scraping away at the shop front ever since.

Fortunately I can’t hear that high-pitched scraping noise that is the only drawback to the pleasures of preparing paintwork. I have been hoping that she will get to the shop sign soon because my curiosity is now red hot wondering what name will be going up there. If I was clever enough I would love to be the sign painter, a commercial Michelangelo free to create a mini masterpiece.

Today she has been joined by another carpenter who is covering up small areas of brickwork with even more wood. He has been fitting strips into gaps that I had never noticed before and spent his time, measuring, planeing and sawing and drilling with a whole array of “boy toys”.

Sadly, it will soon be the weekend and there will be no new sign. What shop should it be?
Not a cake shop please! No cream buns or apple turnovers sitting over there in the window tempting me across the road. Anyway “Barefoot Cakes” doesn’t sound right. I could live with a coffee shop… “Barefoot Coffee” …the smell of fresh coffee is always welcome but I hope it will not be another craft shop with yet another array of beaded jewelry, neutral coloured pots or household “essentials,” unoriginal designs in cream-coloured wrought iron or “ethnic” embroidery.

I would like it to be something practical of course, a poetry shop perhaps – “Barefoot Poets” – where poets could paste sheets of A4 on the walls for passers-by to browse. It could also sell milk, eggs and bread and, maybe the odd apple turnover just for a treat. Maybe “Barefoot Didgeridoos” would be more sensible though – I mean where can you get a decent didgeridoo these days?

I can’t wait for some more exciting developments across the road. I will keep you informed, of course.

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