There’s this clothes shop chain – Sahara. I absolutely love their clothes. They sell Lagenlook-type boxy linen things, in natural earthy colours, real art-to-wear.
There’s a branch of Sahara in most of my favourite towns. There’s one in York, one in Tunbridge Wells, one in lovely Cambridge. Back in the day it would be a dead cert that if I saw a Sahara shop, in I would go.
But something changed all that.
I can’t even remember what town we were in. I was with Hebe and Alice, and we had gone happily into a branch of Sahara to look at the lovely clothes. Alice had found some beautiful garment and wanted to try it on. The shop was very full and the changing room provision minimal. The place where Alice went to try on her things appeared to be a changing cubicle – it had a curtain round and everything – but within it was the door to a cupboard. Fair enough. And Alice had got undressed and was putting on her chosen things when the sales clerk came along and said we couldn’t go in there, it was the entrance to the stock cupboard. She was to leave, and leave right now. Undressed or not.
Personally I don’t give a flying fig who sees me in whatever state of undress – I don’t know why, I’m just like that. I ought to have made a living posing for life classes, except I don’t like being either chilly or uncomfortable. But my daughters are all very modest people, very private. That sales clerk caused distress.
It was all long ago and the details have faded beyond recollection. But I lost the taste for Sahara on that day. I’ve never been into a single branch anywhere ever since. I don’t even buy their clothes on eBay. I just don’t like them any more.
I saw some Sahara garment advertised on the internet today. Immediate reaction – ‘Oh! Sahara! Yes, I know them. That was the shop where . . .’
How odd to think that such a fleeting thing could have had such a profound and lasting consequence.