‘The crystal shops’ is the ever-so-slightly contemptuous name given by the more traditionally-minded people living here in Glastonbury to those outlets which promote a more alternative style. We have dozens of them, and I can only imagine that they must make their living on tourists and web commerce. Nearly all the goods they sell, other than clothes (the sort I used to wear in the hippie seventies), are of the ‘gift’ variety.
The other day, I had to take my car to the garage early. I could have walked home then back again two hours later, but instead, as it was a bright, crisp day, I took my camera and wandered around town taking photos of most of these shops, and of a few others. On the outward journey, most of them were still firmly shut, many with windows obscured by condensation. By the time I wandered back, and having had a coffee in Caffe Zero, most were open, and most windows were clearer.
I started in Benedict Street, walking up from Rapson’s garage (family firm, great personal service). The first interesting shop I came to was The Magpies’ Nest. They get apostrophes! (My photos amalgamate outward and return strolls.) We are fortunate in having a music shop, and extra fortunate that it has not lost its old shutters, which were open by the time I got back. Next came – you can just make it out – Bedlam.Up in the Market Place is Man, Myth and Magik, and next door is a toy shop, Little Imps. I was passing a while ago when the owner came out, so I took the opportunity of asking her how much the fantasy castle, which is always in the window, would cost. She said she could get one made for, as I recall, £4000. I have had to limit myself in sharing with you Elestial’s windows, packed with delicate shades of turquoise, mauve and purple. Also in the Market Place is the Cat and Cauldron. Because it was a bright day, you can see more reflections than window contents in the second picture. I couldn’t tell you whether Hemp in Avalon (only in Glastonbury!) actually sells cannabis, (one has to presume not, but…). I’ve just visited their website, and they certainly advocate its use! I’ve never seen the shop without it’s grill.Further along, in Northload Street, The Crystal Man was shut on both occasions that I passed it. Its lovely window is not obscured when the shop is open.Back to the Market Place, and starting up the High Street, past the Glastonbury Experience, you come to Courtyard Books, and, on the other side of the Street, another bookshop, The Speaking Tree. Dicketts is a small stationer’s, bookshop and seller of art supplies. Its wares reflect the town it is in. Parts 2 and 3 will complete our tour.