Thursday 27 January 2011: Mr Frost
Mr Frost is a regular at our weekly market. Every Thursday, come rain or shine, he's sitting in the same place behind a small trestle table that displays his wares - tweed caps and hats (he's wearing one), checked shirts, thermal longjohns, woollen socks and gloves, and red spotted handkerchiefs: a top-to-toe wardrobe for the hard-working countryman. All the products are British-made, he proudly points out, hard-wearing and reasonably priced. But will people buy them? No, he complains, they prefer to go to Tesco or M&S where the prices are higher and the quality poorer.
He's put a hand-written notice on his stall that says he's been in business since 1950. 'So how old were you when you started?' I ask. 'Ah, that would be giving my age away!' he twinkles, but immediately tells me he was 20 when he first came here and he's 81 now. It was a decent living then but now he barely takes £20 a week. So why does he continue? Well, he explains, it keeps him going. Some years back his wife decided she'd had enough of it. 'She finished on the Friday and on the Monday she was dead.' There's no arguing with that.
I bought a pair of black, 55% wool socks for £3.95.