I’ve been trying to think of a good way to start this week’s newsletter but it’s been 5 minutes now, 5 minutes of me staring out of the bus window in the hope that something catchy and interesting will come and, I’m sorry, I'm out. No luck.
The first lines are usually alright, it’s the last lines that usually catch me out. I was taught that narratives should be cyclical, that you should find your way back to the point you started with, make it so everything's neatly tied up.
But sometimes these endings are tricksy and evasive: the fact is, not everything has a nice tidy narrative or romance to it - in fact, hardly anything does in real life. Sometimes, you just have to just put your pen down and leave it, and say ‘sod it, I tried’.
Which is fitting this week, really, because here we are at the end of September. It's the end of Birthday Month, it's the end of a quarter, and I'm sad to say, it's also the end of a shop.
On Saturday, my dad is retiring. He had a shop on Mill Hill Broadway in north west London for 38 years. 'Retiring' is a deceptively nice sounding, gentle way of saying that his landlord is one of those terrible people, a complete arsehole in fact - excuse my language - who raised the rent to unnecessarily high, unsustainable levels until, mission achieved: running a small, family business there became impossible, and the shop had to close up.
My dad told me this in the way that dads tend to announce important things; in that extremely dad-like, sneeze-and-you'll-miss-it type way. You know how they do it: casually, over the phone, without fanfare, almost mid-sentence as part of something else: well because on Saturday we’re shutting the shop.
It wasn't unexpected, what endings are? They rarely just creep up. It's not even a completely bad thing, because when endings are outrageously unfair - as this one seems to me to be - they're also exhausting, so when they finally arrive it can also be a relief.
But it's a sad thing to have the shop end like this. It’ll be a loss to us, and to his customers (where, I ask you, will Pat Sharp and ex Bake Off contestant Richard Burr get their meat now??), and to London, where independent high street shops can sometimes feel like they're dying out, and to the Broadway, which used to have seven or eight butchers shops and now has a grand total of none.
I asked my dad what happens now, how do you close a shop, what does he need to do? And to that he gave another Extremely Dad Response, which you can't argue with really. He said: I'll turn the key in the lock.