An Appleby Story: Sheila Ross recounts Appleby in the 1940s.

By Sheila Ross, Contributor  

Shopping on a Saturday morning. Appleby, 10 years old.

James and John Graham – Grocers. Thinly-sliced ham in the amputate-your-hands
machine. 8 slices. Out comes the squared, grease-proof paper, neat parcel, fashioned
meticulously, and wholly symmetrically round the nestling-inside, pink ham.

Fascination – no words necessary. A brown paper square followed next, exactly 1 -2
inches larger. Just perfectly presented. Placed unhurriedly and carefully on Waller
Davidson’s right. I almost forgot the bacon! Streaky I expect. Can’t really remember.
Back would be too expensive I think?

Farm butter, nicely salted would be next. I loved it. The same parcel, neatly styled to
match all the others!

Loose, Rich Tea biscuits followed. Always Rich Tea. The brown paper bags came into
their own here. Crafted and folded in Waller Davidson methodical manner.

  Appleby-in-Westmorland's Graham's Family Grocers entrance mosaic  

“I thank you,” he would say, after each transaction. “I thank you.”

We loved it, and still utter the words today in his own musical tone of voice. Like a
gramophone record which got stuck in the scratch.

Chocolate tea-cakes were a real treat if there was enough money in the hand-made,
leather-thonged purse. Looked forward to the


chocolate tea-cakes throughout the tea, served on the wooden trolley we still have today in the kitchen in 43, Boroughgate. Proudly stands on the flag-stones – may be 400 years old at least?

The Fish-van parked outside Aunty Marie’s and Uncle Les Foxton was likely next. Just round the corner from Graham’s. Archie Smith. Plaice my mother liked; halibut was a treat, like the chocolate tea-cakes. Cod, juicy, thick, battered


crisp and perfect for Saturday lunch, in the Sunnymede kitchen. Haddock sometimes. Home-made chips in dripping could not be bettered.

Edmondson’s sticky malt-brown loaf followed at tea-time with home-made raspberry
jam from Nana’s, 32, Clifford Street. Such memories. Still cannot be surpassed. The
jam I mean!