The thing is that this High Street cull is really starting to bite. To be honest, aside from the people who work at Jane Norman, I wasn’t really sure anyone would miss it. I am only judging from their window displays, since I am far too old to go inside, but they have always seemed to sell the kind of clothes that are pretty much only worn by TV presenters for whom perkiness is their prime qualification. Which isn’t to scorn perkiness. I could do with some myself. It’s just that even on my perkiest days, I wouldn’t wear it – it’s the clothing equivalent of having a personalised numberplate that reads P3RKY.
And the same is true of Homeform, which called in the administrators last week. I don’t think I have ever seen a real live shop selling Dolphin bathrooms or Moben kitchens. For me, they only exist in TV commercials. But maybe this is what happens when you don’t have a car: you lose all awareness of out-of-town shops, which includes all home-ware stockists except John Lewis.
But now Thorntons is ditching 180 shops, and this time, it’s personal. I see that their chocolate is not as nice as Green and Blacks butterscotch (the king of chocolate bars, in my view. It’s fine if you don’t agree. All the more for me). But they make treacle toffee which is unrivalled in its tastiness. And if that goes from the High Street, I will consider it war.
As far as I am concerned, the only reason not to eat treacle toffee in place of every meal is because eventually I would get scurvy. Or possibly rickets. Hard to know which would come first. Perhaps tooth decay would win out.
Usually, when a shop announces imminent closures, I self-centredly try to work out what I could have done to keep it going. In the case of HMV, the answer is nothing. I have bought all the MASH and Frasier box-sets I can. My shelves have no more room. I’ve done my best.
And my best isn’t too bad - the nearest Habitat to my house is one of three staying in business, so my fondness for kitchenware really can change the course of history. But Thorntons is a difficult one. I can’t just keep buying more toffee, unless I want to become spherical, which I do not. But I can’t bear the thought of the High Street in five years’ time, selling nothing but clothes I don’t understand (shorts in winter, this means you) and giant-heeled shoes.
So I have decided to buy one unlikely thing a week, to try and encourage the odder stores. Today, a sugar thermometer, so if things get really bad, I can make my own toffee.