Memories by Richard & Toby Slaughter of Mrs Baxter's Shop.

By the time we moved to Bulmer, the post office at the Tye had moved to Mrs Baxter’s shop on Park Lane.

My brother and I have a hilarious incident etched in our memories that is associated with the shop. When you opened the door, a bell was triggered so that if Mrs Baxter was behind the scenes, she’d know to come through for the customer.

On this occasion, while Toby and I were preoccupied with a matter of life and death, i.e. we were going to buy a Choc Ice or a Sky Ray, another customer came in and didn’t shut the door, meaning the bell was still ringing. Mrs Baxter kept repeating over and over again, ’Shut the door dear, shut the door, the bell’s still ringing’, while the customer, who was rather deaf, kept speaking over Mrs Baxter, ‘You’ll have to speak up Mrs Baxter, there this loud ringing noise coming from somewhere, so I can’t hear you’.

Toby and I were in hysterics, and the attention then turned to us with Mrs Baxter saying firmly but not unkindly, ‘Can you two tell me what on earth is so funny, I think you better pay for your ice creams, and please, shut the door on your way out.

Toby and I were sometimes mischievous and deliberately asked her for things it was unlikely she would have in stock, knowing that the reply would always be, ’No demand dear, no demand’.

On another occasion, my brother once brought me a set of screwdrivers from Mrs Baxter's in the late 1970s as a Christmas present. Bright orange plastic handles, very fragile, no doubt made in Hong Kong, and they cost about 50p. Little rural shops often sold things like this at the time as they struggled to survive, and inadvertently probably led the way for the big boys to set up chains such as Poundland.

Anyway, I still have three of the set of 10 to this day, two of which I still use for their intended purpose, while the third one is now too blunt to use as a screwdriver, but is brilliant for prising open the lids of tins of paint. Does anyone else still possess anything purchased at Mrs Baxter’s?'