The number 31 bus stopped outside the Capitol Cinema. Gleaming glass double doors locked in the morning haze, posters of Humphrey Bogart looking sinister , adverts for a Sunday concert but there was no time to stop and read about it. Grandma was shopping and looking for bargains. Outside the butchers shop grey rabbits hung suspended from cruel hooks, their head stumps covered by little metal cups that stopped blood dripping on the customers, fine wisps of body fur moved gently in the air currents of the passing cars.
Inside the tailor's window a woman sat repairing nylon stockings picking up ladders with a fine crocher hook.
A blind miner stood on the pavement selling pins and boxes of matches from a tray. Very occasionally he burst into song.His voice was thin and reedy, I was glad when he stopped.
The smell of stale beer and cigarette ends came wafting up from the Castle Vaults. I was afraid to step on the glass bricks set in the pavement in case I fell through.
In the Castle Arcade we stopped to look in my favourite window, Windsor and Newton pots of poster paints in the brightest shades in the whole rainbow world , boxes of pastel crayons with a greyhound depicted on the lids. We couldn't afford them but I hoped to get a packet for Christmas.As I looked in the window a strange man groped me. I didn't know what he was up to I was a seven year old innocent but my Grandma caught him a glancing blow with her string bag. As it contained two tins of baked beans he reeled off in a daze but he must have heard her scornful laughter echoing in his battered head.
She was a strong woman was my grandma.