The other day, I had an early morning meeting in Freo. I like early morning meetings in Freo. They're a good excuse to enjoy the excellent eggs benedict and a tasty banana smoothie at the Mill Bakehouse on Norfolk.
I had a little bit of time to spare before my meeting and decided to relax on a bench in the High Street mall, with tree leaves rustling above me and the hustle and bustle of people starting the new day all around.
My particular bench faced Culleys. It was one of those 1980s era orangey benches. The kind that put your bum to sleep after about five minutes, no matter what gymnast-style contortions you employ.
Culleys was already doing a roaring trade at 8.30am... in pies? Yep, I sat and watched a middle aged couple chow down on a pair of Freo classics. Two other people were having a natter on a nearby bench, and a minute later a pair in their mid-50s cycled past and greeted some friends sitting with their dog underneath a tree. It was very pleasant, like a scene from a 1950's movie. There was only one slightly deranged and whiffy person (there's always at least one - I think it's a by-law) who walked past swearing at us as he made his way to Kings Square.
It was a good feeling, not being sweared at, but enjoying the early morning noises going on around me. I'd descended into a happy torpor when the sound of sweeping roused me from reading the match reviews of the grand final on my iPad.
It was the shopkeeper next door to Culleys, from Creations Jewellery and Designers, sweeping the area in front of his shop. I watched him for a couple of minutes. I was impressed at the old school sense of pride that he was showing. He swept for a couple of minutes before walking back into his shop to help his assistants set up for the day.
It made me realise that what we call little things, like that shopkeeper taking pride and care in his shopfront, are actually just as important as many of the so-called bigger things.
After finishing reading about the latest football trades gossip, I got up and began walking to my meeting with the odd gait of a man who has no feeling in his posterior. It made me happy to see, not fifteen metres further on, the barber from Norm Wrightson's Barber Shop sweeping the front of his shopfront.
It didn't escape me that they were both small, independent retailers. Both taking pride in their city.
Seeing as there is zero chance of me showing my gratitude with my patronage (a jeweller and a barber - I can't think of two places I am more unlikely to visit), I thought I'd mention them here instead.