The fish shop has closed.

The fish shop has closed!!!

I went to the fish shop, to buy some fish. But I couldn’t get any fish, because the fish shop has closed.

Black waves of depressed old-gittishness engulf me, as I stand outside the closed fish shop, reading the ‘thank you for your previous custom’ notice. This what Britain is like in the twenty-first century. Fear of terrorism. Crumbling transport infrastructure. Fish shops closing.

‘Shop’ is probably a grand term for it. It was a shack at the back of somebody’s house, where the fish shop lady used to sell her husband’s catch, plus other stuff she’d got from the markets. In season you could pick up pheasants or partridges for a couple of quid as well.

I should write to John Prescott. It’s all very well making a song and dance about rural post offices, but where the hell am I going to get hold of a sea bass now?

I now wish I’d gone in there more often. But it does confirm the old commercial maxim that a business isn’t viable unless its trade has been the basis of at least one successful situation comedy.

They are still selling mussels from a hutch at the front, with an honesty box that looks suspiciously like an old ice-cream tub. I take a big bag and leave my two pounds fifty. I don’t even like mussels. But it seems appropriate.