Sunday, 10 October 2010
In Stornoway until about 5 years ago there was a hardware shop known simply as Charlie Morrison's. It was where Digby Chicks Restaurant is now. It was a Stornoway institution. Enter and ask for virtually any item of hardware or ships' chandlery and they would stock it. It was also where one took the can for paraffin oil and wicks and even small anchors but one could also buy a cut glass Waterford decanter. Over 30 years I must have said "I'll just pop into Charlie Morrison's for that" more times than there are hairs in my beard. The shop closed down when the owners retired. I suspect that no one else could ever have found their way round the stock. I wish that I had a picture of the interior of the chandlery store.
Villeneuve-de-Duras with a population of about 250 makes Stornoway with its population of 12,000 look positively metropolitan. Yet it has something in common with the Stornoway of 5 years ago - a Charlie Morrison's. Of course it's not called by that name. It's the Quincaillerie and it's a treasure trove. I assume that it serves the whole of the surrounding area's rural population because the stock is immense. However unlike Charlie Morrison's where you described what you wanted and they went off and, depending upon how good your descriptive powers were, brought it, or something resembling it, to you the Quincaillerie is very organised as you'll see from the following photos. You find what you want on the board, tell the proprietrix the number and she'll scoot upstairs and find it for you.