Long-serving Barbara reopens new-look store

Gazette: Barbara Steel started working at the Station Road shop after leaving Colne Community School in 1965. She is the shop’s longest-serving employee. Barbara Steel started working at the Station Road shop after leaving Colne Community School in 1965. She is the shop’s longest-serving employee.

A LONG-SERVING shop worker helped to re-open Brightlingsea’s Co-op supermarket after a £450,000 refit.

Barbara Steel started working at the Station Road shop after leaving Colne Community School in 1965. She is the shop’s longest-serving employee.

Mrs Steel said: “I know so many of our customers by name. It’s lovely in the summer, when holidaymakers and visitors call into the store for their barbecue and picnic foods.”

When Mrs Steel started at the Co-op it was divided into three separate stores, a draper’s, a butcher’s and a grocery.

She said: “Behind the shop were the stables from where the Co-op used to deliver the milk by horse and cart.

“Above the draper’s was a hall, which was hired out to local groups and where I used to go to ballet classes as a child. It’s also where members of the Co-op would queue up for their dividend payments.

“In those early days, before self-service, I was on the counter and would have to weigh out things such as tea and cheese for customers.

“By the end of the Seventies, it all became one store, when the drapery closed and the butcher’s became incorporated into the main store.”

The shop, which opened in 1912, is one of the Co-op’s oldest stores.

Comments (9)

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1:59pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Mind your own business says...

I don't care!
I don't care! Mind your own business
  • Score: -16

2:00pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Mind your own business says...

I couldn't give a monkeys.
I couldn't give a monkeys. Mind your own business
  • Score: -16

2:37pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Boris says...

Mind your own business wrote:
I couldn't give a monkeys.
Why don't you "mind your own business" then? Nobody is interested in you with your miserable little comments. Get out more, get a life.
[quote][p][bold]Mind your own business[/bold] wrote: I couldn't give a monkeys.[/p][/quote]Why don't you "mind your own business" then? Nobody is interested in you with your miserable little comments. Get out more, get a life. Boris
  • Score: 14

2:42pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Boris says...

Well done Barbara, you don't look old enough to have been at work for almost 50 years. The reminiscences are fascinating. And well done the East of England Co-op, for making this investment in Brightlingsea. Success to the new-style store.
Well done Barbara, you don't look old enough to have been at work for almost 50 years. The reminiscences are fascinating. And well done the East of England Co-op, for making this investment in Brightlingsea. Success to the new-style store. Boris
  • Score: 12

4:44pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Mind your own business says...

Boris wrote:
Mind your own business wrote:
I couldn't give a monkeys.
Why don't you "mind your own business" then? Nobody is interested in you with your miserable little comments. Get out more, get a life.
Your interested, that's why you have replied to me, and your one to talk about getting out more your always on here, I think you are the one who needs to get a life because nobody cares what you think, but you are under the illusion that they do.
[quote][p][bold]Boris[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mind your own business[/bold] wrote: I couldn't give a monkeys.[/p][/quote]Why don't you "mind your own business" then? Nobody is interested in you with your miserable little comments. Get out more, get a life.[/p][/quote]Your interested, that's why you have replied to me, and your one to talk about getting out more your always on here, I think you are the one who needs to get a life because nobody cares what you think, but you are under the illusion that they do. Mind your own business
  • Score: -12

10:40pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Boris says...

Mind your own business wrote:
Boris wrote:
Mind your own business wrote:
I couldn't give a monkeys.
Why don't you "mind your own business" then? Nobody is interested in you with your miserable little comments. Get out more, get a life.
Your interested, that's why you have replied to me, and your one to talk about getting out more your always on here, I think you are the one who needs to get a life because nobody cares what you think, but you are under the illusion that they do.
I am under no such illusion. And as for you, you call yourself "mind your own business", but you don't. Why doin't you practise what you preach?
[quote][p][bold]Mind your own business[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Boris[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mind your own business[/bold] wrote: I couldn't give a monkeys.[/p][/quote]Why don't you "mind your own business" then? Nobody is interested in you with your miserable little comments. Get out more, get a life.[/p][/quote]Your interested, that's why you have replied to me, and your one to talk about getting out more your always on here, I think you are the one who needs to get a life because nobody cares what you think, but you are under the illusion that they do.[/p][/quote]I am under no such illusion. And as for you, you call yourself "mind your own business", but you don't. Why doin't you practise what you preach? Boris
  • Score: 11

12:00am Tue 11 Feb 14

OMPITA [Intl] says...

Barbara's comments stirred some wonderful memory bugs for me. I had to reread her story to make sure she wasn't talking about Halstead Co-op; the description was so uncannily similar, although during my three years with them (1959 to 1962) I regret to say that all the vehicles were by that time already horseless.

That's not say they were devoid of organic life however. I remember to this day how the butcher's van used to crawl with maggots when it returned to the yard on hot summer days!

There were some wonderful characters, not least of all a lady in the Drapery Department who I would swear must have been the role model inspiration for Mrs Slow-**** in 'Are We Being Served' and many more about whom I would love to share my recollections, but just in case they are still alive I think discretion has to be the rule of the day - ha ha!

Frarny, if you're out there you can breath again - I'm not telling!
Barbara's comments stirred some wonderful memory bugs for me. I had to reread her story to make sure she wasn't talking about Halstead Co-op; the description was so uncannily similar, although during my three years with them (1959 to 1962) I regret to say that all the vehicles were by that time already horseless. That's not say they were devoid of organic life however. I remember to this day how the butcher's van used to crawl with maggots when it returned to the yard on hot summer days! There were some wonderful characters, not least of all a lady in the Drapery Department who I would swear must have been the role model inspiration for Mrs Slow-**** in 'Are We Being Served' and many more about whom I would love to share my recollections, but just in case they are still alive I think discretion has to be the rule of the day - ha ha! Frarny, if you're out there you can breath again - I'm not telling! OMPITA [Intl]
  • Score: 3

5:44pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Campbell-Vencarto says...

Boris wrote:
Well done Barbara, you don't look old enough to have been at work for almost 50 years. The reminiscences are fascinating. And well done the East of England Co-op, for making this investment in Brightlingsea. Success to the new-style store.
Yes hear here Congratulations from us too!

What a lovely indictment to a local community and loving spirit, sometimes as in many many cases things like this in a small way, are the essence and flavour of a wonderful life.

Well done

Julie x
[quote][p][bold]Boris[/bold] wrote: Well done Barbara, you don't look old enough to have been at work for almost 50 years. The reminiscences are fascinating. And well done the East of England Co-op, for making this investment in Brightlingsea. Success to the new-style store.[/p][/quote]Yes hear here Congratulations from us too! What a lovely indictment to a local community and loving spirit, sometimes as in many many cases things like this in a small way, are the essence and flavour of a wonderful life. Well done Julie x Campbell-Vencarto
  • Score: 6

6:56pm Tue 11 Feb 14

A Very Private Gentleman says...

OMPITA wrote:
Barbara's comments stirred some wonderful memory bugs for me. I had to reread her story to make sure she wasn't talking about Halstead Co-op; the description was so uncannily similar, although during my three years with them (1959 to 1962) I regret to say that all the vehicles were by that time already horseless.

That's not say they were devoid of organic life however. I remember to this day how the butcher's van used to crawl with maggots when it returned to the yard on hot summer days!

There were some wonderful characters, not least of all a lady in the Drapery Department who I would swear must have been the role model inspiration for Mrs Slow-**** in 'Are We Being Served' and many more about whom I would love to share my recollections, but just in case they are still alive I think discretion has to be the rule of the day - ha ha!

Frarny, if you're out there you can breath again - I'm not telling!
If Martin Booth's new novel A VERY PRIVATE GENTLEMAN is a bestseller, expect Italy to become a highly popular tourist destination. His narrator, an international criminal, spends the novel alternately enticing you to join him high in the Italian Apennines and cautiously warning you from trying to find him.
The novel's setting, a small, unnamed, rural Italian village, is exquisite and exquisitely rendered. Booth takes time to describe precisely and poetically the old wine shop run by a maniacal dwarf and an obedient giant, the ancient apothecary whose floorboards have absorbed centuries of spills, and the historic piazzas that inspire nothing but nonchalance in the townspeople who visit them every day.
Clarke, which is not the narrator's real name but an alias, poses as a painter of butterflies, a Nabokovian occupation that allows for such eccentricities as long absences, erratic behavior, and no set schedule. So he often lounges and partakes of local delicacies --- the wine, the home-smoked prosciutto, his two mistresses, all of which he describes in tantalizing detail --- while he practices his true calling. Clarke's real profession is much more sinister than painting insects, although equally artistic. He doesn't reveal it until almost 100 pages in, but hints, "I am the salesman of death ... I do not cause it. I merely arrange for its delivery. I am death's booking-clerk, death's bellhop."
Despite his obsession with privacy and death, Clarke is an endlessly entertaining narrator, and his insights into the international underworld and the human condition are intriguing. "Everyone is a terrorist," he observes. "Everyone carries a gun in his heart. Most do not fire simply because they have no cause to pursue.
Booth's rendering of his narrator's voice is remarkable, both for its consistency and for its intricacy. Not only does Clarke keep his guard up through the novel's course, he also manages to convey a great deal about his antihero without him realizing it. Clarke admits his deception to the reader: "The names are changed, the places changed, the people changed. There are a thousand Piazzas di S. Teresa, ten thousand alleys that have no names ... You will not find me."
But Clarke seems unaware of his own self-deception: while he is astute and witty, he can also occasionally be self-important and even boorish in justifying his very private lifestyle. And he studiously avoids cultivating any lasting human connections while wondering how to make his mark on the world, never realizing that to do one is to ensure the other. But his shortcomings become the book's strengths, for as he contemplates life and death in Italy, his flaws --- and his own ignorance of them --- reveal his surprising depth and complex humanity.
Booth makes A VERY PRIVATE GENTLEMAN more than just a postcard from Italy; the setting has direct thematic relevance to the story. History is not just a recurring motif, but a character in itself, an antagonist who constantly reminds Clarke of his encroaching mortality. What better place to set such a face-off than in the seat of Western history, the land where the Knights Templar roamed, where abandoned castles and churches litter the terrain. Even the view from his window captures eras past: "What I can see, with my pair of compact pocket Yashica binoculars, are five thousand years of history laid out before me as if it were a tapestry upon a cathedral wall, an altar-cloth to the god of time spread over the world."
Ultimately, even the passage of time becomes a delicacy in A VERY PRIVATE GENTLEMAN. With a watchmaker's precision, Booth has written a suspenseful and intricate tale, one that is as inviting as it is cautionary.
[quote][p][bold]OMPITA [Intl][/bold] wrote: Barbara's comments stirred some wonderful memory bugs for me. I had to reread her story to make sure she wasn't talking about Halstead Co-op; the description was so uncannily similar, although during my three years with them (1959 to 1962) I regret to say that all the vehicles were by that time already horseless. That's not say they were devoid of organic life however. I remember to this day how the butcher's van used to crawl with maggots when it returned to the yard on hot summer days! There were some wonderful characters, not least of all a lady in the Drapery Department who I would swear must have been the role model inspiration for Mrs Slow-**** in 'Are We Being Served' and many more about whom I would love to share my recollections, but just in case they are still alive I think discretion has to be the rule of the day - ha ha! Frarny, if you're out there you can breath again - I'm not telling![/p][/quote]If Martin Booth's new novel A VERY PRIVATE GENTLEMAN is a bestseller, expect Italy to become a highly popular tourist destination. His narrator, an international criminal, spends the novel alternately enticing you to join him high in the Italian Apennines and cautiously warning you from trying to find him. The novel's setting, a small, unnamed, rural Italian village, is exquisite and exquisitely rendered. Booth takes time to describe precisely and poetically the old wine shop run by a maniacal dwarf and an obedient giant, the ancient apothecary whose floorboards have absorbed centuries of spills, and the historic piazzas that inspire nothing but nonchalance in the townspeople who visit them every day. Clarke, which is not the narrator's real name but an alias, poses as a painter of butterflies, a Nabokovian occupation that allows for such eccentricities as long absences, erratic behavior, and no set schedule. So he often lounges and partakes of local delicacies --- the wine, the home-smoked prosciutto, his two mistresses, all of which he describes in tantalizing detail --- while he practices his true calling. Clarke's real profession is much more sinister than painting insects, although equally artistic. He doesn't reveal it until almost 100 pages in, but hints, "I am the salesman of death ... I do not cause it. I merely arrange for its delivery. I am death's booking-clerk, death's bellhop." Despite his obsession with privacy and death, Clarke is an endlessly entertaining narrator, and his insights into the international underworld and the human condition are intriguing. "Everyone is a terrorist," he observes. "Everyone carries a gun in his heart. Most do not fire simply because they have no cause to pursue. Booth's rendering of his narrator's voice is remarkable, both for its consistency and for its intricacy. Not only does Clarke keep his guard up through the novel's course, he also manages to convey a great deal about his antihero without him realizing it. Clarke admits his deception to the reader: "The names are changed, the places changed, the people changed. There are a thousand Piazzas di S. Teresa, ten thousand alleys that have no names ... You will not find me." But Clarke seems unaware of his own self-deception: while he is astute and witty, he can also occasionally be self-important and even boorish in justifying his very private lifestyle. And he studiously avoids cultivating any lasting human connections while wondering how to make his mark on the world, never realizing that to do one is to ensure the other. But his shortcomings become the book's strengths, for as he contemplates life and death in Italy, his flaws --- and his own ignorance of them --- reveal his surprising depth and complex humanity. Booth makes A VERY PRIVATE GENTLEMAN more than just a postcard from Italy; the setting has direct thematic relevance to the story. History is not just a recurring motif, but a character in itself, an antagonist who constantly reminds Clarke of his encroaching mortality. What better place to set such a face-off than in the seat of Western history, the land where the Knights Templar roamed, where abandoned castles and churches litter the terrain. Even the view from his window captures eras past: "What I can see, with my pair of compact pocket Yashica binoculars, are five thousand years of history laid out before me as if it were a tapestry upon a cathedral wall, an altar-cloth to the god of time spread over the world." Ultimately, even the passage of time becomes a delicacy in A VERY PRIVATE GENTLEMAN. With a watchmaker's precision, Booth has written a suspenseful and intricate tale, one that is as inviting as it is cautionary. A Very Private Gentleman
  • Score: -2

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