the city has to be not too far from us, about a fifteen minute pedal away if I get a clear run.
I do not visit it unless I cannot possibly avoid it. It sells a wide variety of homewares, linens and soft furnishings, haberdashery and craft items. There is even some knitting yarn - although not the sort that I would normally bother to buy.
You go in through the sliding doors at the front and are faced with everything from batteries, cheap plastic emergency rain-capes, kitchen tongs, pillow protectors and drinking straws. That is merely the start. Move a little further on and there are pillows, towels, biscuit cutters, hair dryers, candle holders, bath mats, sewing machines, glasswear, table mats, plasticwear, sewing thread, curtain accessories, sewing patterns, patchwork fabric, all sorts of haberdashery, the knitting yarn, all sorts of crafty things, more habydashery and a section for birthday parties.
None of it is tidy. It is just there. It may start out as tidy but I have never seen it that way.
If you are lucky you will find what you want. You can ask a member of the staff of course but they will just wave in what they believe to be the right direction and tell you "Over there." It does not help very much.
If you want cut goods then there is a ticket system for service. That works reasonably well. You now need to queue to pay for anything else - even when the girl behind the cut goods counter has nobody else to serve.
Some months ago they changed the location of some things in the shop. They called it "re-organising" but there is no more rhyme or reason to it than before. In order to find what I needed I had to sort through a box of similar items. Some had spilled over onto the floor. I put them back in the box. I am not a tidy person but even I have limits.
There was a time when the shop was a little tidier. They employed an energetic woman of about fifty. She came from Poland and she knew about both knitting and sewing because, at school in Poland, she had been taught to do both. If she was not serving and advising she would be tidying. It was a constant job. I liked her energy and her personality. She was very, very good at her job and people liked her.
You could be reasonably sure of finding something quickly if she had been on her shift. It was actually possible to walk into the habydashery section and know that she was there or had just been there. It would not be absolutely tidy but things would be in their place. There would be nothing on the floor and no piles of goods on the counter waiting to be returned to their shelves.
I did not see her on my last visit to the shop or yesterday so I asked another assistant.
"Oh she was always tidying stuff up so someone asked her if she wanted another job down south somewhere."
I am sure there will be a very tidy shop somewhere.