In the years of rationing, my mum used to remove the sweet coupons from her ration book so that we didn't spend all our pocket money on sweets.
About halfway down Castle Hill, on the left, was Dukes shop. All I was interested in were the sweets, though he also sold tea, sugar and a variety of other less interesting items. I used always follow an adult into the shop, who would invariably take pity on me when Mr Duke told me there were no sweet coupons in the ration book I had offered him (I knew that really). A voice would pipe up and say "It's ok Mr Duke, I think I may have one or two coupons in my book that I won't use". And so, off I would go with my tuppence worth of aniseed balls, after gratefully thanking the kind adult.
Mrs Hawkins's shop was about a third of the way down Castle Hill on the right hand side. It always smelt of potatoes and cabbages, but she also sold a small variety of sweets. Mrs Hawkins was a kindly old lady who had at sometime in her life had lost her right arm, she but managed her shop admirably. One day, I was given a silver threepenny piece as pocket money. I entered Mrs Hawkins's shop and bought threepence worth of chews, handed over the coin and was about to leave when she called me back, saying "Don't forget your change". And with that, she gave me a brass threepenny piece. Ashamedly, I did not tell her that she had mistaken the silver threepenny piece for a sixpenny piece. I took the change and spent it at Dukes. This has been my secret for nigh on 50 years. But whenever I see photos of Castle Hill, those memories come flooding back, for I rather think the same buildings still stand, even though not occupied by the same people.
A memory shared byon Dec 29th, 2009.
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