Until recently, there was a very pleasant cafe on my local shopping strip. I wrote a book there. It has been replaced by a wine bar. No food at all.
I used to live in this area as a teenager, before buying my flat around the corner from the home of my teens. There was a shopping strip even then. A small family supermarket was on the corner. Next to it was a milk bar, where you could buy groceries you might have forgotten. I bought my first Howard Fast novel for 40c from its book rack. I still have it. Further down there were other shops, including a pharmacy and a newsagent.
There is a wine shop where the family supermarket used to be. For a while, it didn't stock kosher wine, which was silly, given that this is a Jewish area and people do run out of wine and the nearest specialised kosher wine shop is a long walk away(Under new management, it does now sell what its customers need). The milk bar stayed in business, under different managements, till a couple of years ago, when it was replaced by a bicycle supply shop - which has recently closed. Why am I not surprised? It reminds me of the bridal shop on another shopping strip in the middle of a busy highway. A shop of this kind does better in a major strip or a mall. Perhaps it's too much to dream that it might be replaced by a bookshop...
No more newsagent and there's no need for a small pharmacy because there's a big one servicing the medical clinic down the road. And that has replaced a video library - there are very few of those left now, with everybody streaming, but I miss it, because I don't do streaming and sometimes I just want to borrow a DVD like a library book. Instead, I go there to get my soaps and toothpaste and prescriptions.
There is a dog grooming parlour where the pharmacy used to be, but that has been there for a long time, though I've never seen anyone go in or out. Where the newsagent used to be is now a computer repair shop, but again, I've never seen anyone go in or out. In fact, I've never seen any computers there! They must be in an inner room.
Ditto the real estate agent and the chiropractor shop. There are sometimes customers in the hairdresser shop.
The rest of the strip is now restaurants/cafes - I kid you not. One sells pizza. One is Turkish, which extended when the laundrette closed. That's a nice place to eat, but if you don't have a device to keep you amused, the lighting is too gloomy to read over dinner. And for me, reading over a solo dinner is a pleasure. Perhaps the chef would be offended I'm reading instead of properly appreciating his/her delicious meal, but it's a bit of both.
There's a coffee and cake place, very pleasant, and they do fresh squeezed juice. But their hours are limited.
There's a wonderful Indian restaurant where I go when I crave a curry. The owner knows me by name and I know hers. They have recently opened for breakfast and I may try it just once.
It's a comfort, because my favourite eating place closed suddenly, no explanation, though a possible family crisis. I miss Adam and Rachel! All the more because the replacement doesn't serve food. Just booze and coffee. Not even the typical pub bowl of chips or nuts.
When the place was being set up, the lady assured me they would have pub-style meals, just not breakfast "because you can get that at the other place." Well, yes, but there are also lunch and dinner at the rest of the eateries(except the coffee/cake place, which has lunch, but closes early). However, dinner would do. I sometimes come home too late to bother cooking and I don't always feel like a curry, or even Turkish. So I used to go into my favourite place and tell them I had decided to let them make me dinner. I'd have fish or pasta and a glass of white wine and read a book, sometimes even dessert, then go home and no dishes to wash.
Then the new place opened and it was strictly a wine bar, with a beer garden out back. Sometimes live music. But no food. I asked the proprietor, though I didn't point out that she seemed to have changed her mind in three weeks.
"I want to carve my own niche!"she said. What niche, I wondered. There's a pub across the road for those who just want a drink. And if they change their minds, there are also meals. And two licenced restaurants. And a wine seller. I didn't argue, though. I walked off and had my dinner at the Turkish place. Which will sell you a drink and a platter of dips if you don't want a meal.
I suspect it will last about as long as the bicycle supply shop.
Meanwhile, where do I write my next book?