VISITING a chi-chi little town? Here are six absurdly niche shops you’ll find there and only there:
Olive Oil Only
Apparently extra-virgin isn’t good enough for the inhabitants of Smedley-upon-Wem, so they pop to a convenient specialist to slather their pans in an choice selection of chilli and saffron-infused nectar of the gods. But does do really nice free samples served with poncy crackers.
Dried flowers used to be a granny thing, but in Cockwich-sub-Castle they’re every middle-class woman’s go-to and whole shops are devoted to unusual dried grasses pieces at £8 a pop. Named after the Rolling Stones song, also now kind of a granny thing.
No-one writes anything by hand nowadays, so the absurdly wealthy are getting into it. That and early retirees taking up sketching means a shop selling fancy paper is a viable business in Market Frecklesworth. You pick up a ream of A4 for the printer and leave it at the counter when it costs £22.
St Bede’s Uniform Retailer to the Gentry
School skirts are two for £12 at Sainsbury’s but not if your daughter gets into St Bede’s Costermonger’s Free School, formerly Astlebury Grammar. Uniform only available at their special shop in the poshest nearby village, where an ankle-length kilt will set you back £50.
Since gin was culturally appropriated from serious drunks, little boutique stores have opened up across the land with 150 different brands of gin that all taste the same but have a slightly different version of a pheasant with a monocle as their mascot.
Bathmats of Yore
Not content with a single interior design shop run by a vile man in a cravat, Slocombe-by-Water is so well-heeled it can support the absurd side hustle of a vintage shop entirely devoted to Victorian bath mats and bathing equipment. Don’t go in unless you like feeling inferior to a tablecloth.