“It was colder last week, it’s not like we live in the Arctic, you’ll just have to man-up“
“It was colder last week, it’s not like we live in the Arctic, you’ll just have to man-up“
Sometimes I use the wrong context. Here in the fabulous Jackson’s I was thinking about ‘Austerity’ when I read this sign. I read Boys School Uniform Debt and assumed it was some form of financing offer to help parents avoid getting into dept when buying school uniforms for their boys.
It sounded plausible to me….
Tweed wool culottes! Just what every quintessentially english gal needs in her working wardrobe
Jacksons store certainly goes where no other family store would dare to go.Trousers disguised as a skirt, in prickly wool, in a classic tweed. Jackson’s never fails to suprise and delight.
They are the best!
Somehow, I managed to resist this little indulgence… … will my work-colleagues bemoan my cowardice?
dance teacher: Wasabi makes you jedder
dance teacher: yes jedder (demonstrates by shaking her shoulders)
wendy: Oh (signifying realisation), Judder! Where do you come from?
dance teacher: Reading, why?
wendy: (decides not to mention her unusual accent) I’ve never met anyone who actually came from Reading
dance teacher: where are you from?
dance teacher: whereabouts in Bristol do you live?
wendy: I don’t live in Bristol, I live in Reading
dance teacher: Oh, whereabouts in Reading do you live
wendy: Cemetery Junction
mutually understanding silence
dance teacher: a lot of people wear hats like yours in Bristol
wendy: (pause of disbelief)… I got this little beauty from Jacksons
dance teacher: Jacksons?
wendy: Jacksons, at Jacksons corner in downtown Reading, the shop
dance teacher: Oh
During the evening I put more effort into keeping the conversation going by trying to find out more about the dance teacher. An interesting life; writing a novel, travelled to the US for research where she met some influential dancers. She was given the dance business after she met the previous owners at lessons, the work involved arranging themed hen-night evenings and many more interesting stories.
The teacher looked happy enough, the conversation flowed, while I focussed on her. For a brief moment she appeared to show a interest in me when I mentioned my admirations for the fabulous Josephine Baker. But the conversation almost always felt like hard work, mostly disappointing because of
She smiled as she talked, conversation liberally punctuated with self-deprecation and giggles. She was interesting and some might find her self-deprecation charming.
In Reading town its Jacksons
In Tiverton town its Banbury’s
A family run store, named after the family. Selling everything in tiny departments on split-level floors arranged with a maze-like series of turns and staircases. These stores are Tardis-like, seeming small from the outside then corridor after staircase after turn they get larger and larger. The staff are normally experienced people with well structured hairstyles or quirky youngters. All are personable. When leaving the Wendy house this morning I was in the middle of scat-fest. Things I forgot to bring with my included, pants, watch, tops to wear. Banbury’s was just the place to temporarily solve my foundation garment shortage
While searching for the cleverly hidden underware department I stumbles across a Linen top with a print reminiscent of the fabulous Finnish Marimekko Unnikko print. Yummy.
Words of wisdom from a specialist*. This tip is about industrial strength white cotton bedding and is bought to you courtesy of the outstanding sales staff in Frere Jacksons Linens and haberdashery department:
Iron them while they are damp because its impossible to get the creases out once they’re dry.
I don’t plan to follow this tip because Ironing is a theoretical concept I’ve not yet fully grasped.
Jackson’s is the sort of store that sells stylish and practical items of a classic and often exclusive nature. I cannot sing Jackson’s praises enough. With winter settling in, cold nights in the Wendy House, this little bargain in the Jacksons christmas special decorated window calls out to me each time I pass by. A Candlewick bedjacket. How have the fluffballs and I managed without one to date? Jacksons also have some mens paisely print brushed cotton pyjamas…
…I really am at risk of shopping and bouncing and getting all over excited within a fun-packed 5 minute period…
For example, this light switch set in the Ladies underwear changing rooms controls 8 different lights in the main store. The lights cannot be seen from the switch location. Which lights are controlled by which switches? You would need 2 people to find-out by a try it and see method. Would you be able to remember from one day to the next which switch controls which lights?
The staff at Jacksons don’t have to learn or remember which light is controlled by which switch because they’ve cunningly labelled the switches! Now, which lights are ‘spot 3.4’?
The store is branded with a dark green background to its main name sign above the mannequinned window displays and below the large lettering that eponymously announces ‘Jacksons corner’ . The text on its custom plastic bags and the piece de resistance is the wonderful font used to announce Jacksons on the green marble entrance way.
I am easily pleased
Since leaving my parents’ home in the early 1980’s I’ve hankered after a classic wool dressing gown bordered with coloured-chord. Over the years I’ve compromised with fluffy-cotton dressing gowns, Kimonos and stylish smoking jackets. Finally, the exceptional Jackson’s summer sale delivered the real thing. Extra-large mens’ was the smallest size available. The shop assistant said that they had ordered the ‘Lloyd Attree and Smith’ (Gentlemans outfitters since 1857) dressing gowns based on regular requests from customers. Unfortunately, when the dressing gowns arrived the customers were not prepared to pay the full retail price.
Jacksons will not be restocking these Lloyd Attree and Smith 100% wool dressing gowns.
Much to the mature, mens department, shop assistant’s amusement I tried-on the XL dressing gown. It did not trail on the floor though I will have to roll the sleeves up by about 6 inches to keep them out of my breakfast.
I treated myself to the warm stylish, oversized, high quality gown and a couple of white hankerchiefs in readiness for the impending onset of winter… …it really is a wonderful experience in the early dawn, wrapped in wool beneath the dew-covered conservatory with a hot mug of tea.
There are two customer entrances to Jacksons. One entrance goes into the main foyer and is lined by accessories. The other entrance goes directly into the Mens department. A girls entrance and a boys entrance. This weekend I went in through the girls entrance and got no further than the handbags.
Senior Scottish Shop Assistant (3SA): I must ask you to come out from behind the counter, it’s against shop policy
Wendy: Oh, yes, of course. Could you show me the black bag on the 2nd shelf down, 2nd bag in from the right, left a bit, next one along, yes, that’s the one.
3SA: this is Navy Blue not black
The 3SA gets enthusiastic and starts pulling out all sorts of bags from the shelves, talking knowledgeably about her stock and even suggests that I try looking in TJMaxx! A car at the traffic lights outside loudly rev’s its engine.
3SA: Oh dear, we see all sorts here you know
3SA: yes, they all come past here you must check your insurance.
3SA if you are taking your camera on holiday check that your insurance covers your camera, my friend didn’t and regretted it. Make sure you check your medical insurance, my friend broke her arm on holiday and her insurance only covered her for one hundred pounds, she had to pay for a hospital stay over night and to fly home early.
Wendy: I’m going to Greece, they have a National Health Service and as members of the European Community…..
3SA: Spain is in Europe and my friend still had to pay, check your medical insurance.
Wendy: I’m covered for repatriation and the same level of service as Greek citizens…
3SA: Read the small print, always check the small print (continues delivering advice based on her accident-prone friends’ experiences)
About 20 minutes later I emerged from Jacksons. Smiling. Armed with lots of extremely useful holiday advice, and a ‘Navy Blue’ handbag that looks black to me, feeling as if 3SA is already my honourary Aunite. She is certainly more than a familiar stranger. I should pop in after the holiday to show her some pictures and confirm that I got through it without needing an insurance claim.
Jacksons really is quite the friendliest of stores as long as you stay the right side of the counters and know your bag-colours.
we have just run out of subtlety,
will a double dose of concise frankness do?
It’s 70% off.
Jacksons store was purpose built in 1897 for the family business. Jackson’s gentlemans outfitters started earlier, on this site in 1875. Over 100 years later it is still owned by the Jackson family and operating in the orginal premisis. It has many different departments spread throughout the building on different levels. None of the departments have a till. The stores takings are not stored in each department.
When a customer purchases an item the money and purchase details are put into a tubular container and sent up a pipe to the office on the top floor where they calculate the change and return it down the pipe in a tubular container. Awesome. It made me want to purchase something just to see the system working. I’m now contemplating making full use of the reputedly quirky shoe department during my next weekly visit.
In the office on the top floor you can see where all the pipes arrive from each department. The office person, behind these safe bars, can safely recieve the cash and return the change. It reminded me of the banking system with video-tellers in a US bank that I used to use.
employee: do you have permission to take photographs?
Wendy: um, no, do I need permission?
employee: no, but it would be polite to ask
Wendy: yes, you are absolutely right, sorry, is it alright if I take photographs of this wonderful store, not staff or customers?
more about what menswear department (Jacksons) employee showed me… …next week…
Given that taking photographs of children would indicate that I am actually a latent criminal I decided to take advantage of the fabulous resources provided by the shop that is humbly known as Jacksons by photographing childrens outer-layers in their absence. Below are pictures of no children in neatly ordered school uniform Jackets, games blouses, and jumpers:
A friend cited a blog post on Jacksons that I hadn’t yet written. I suspect this is because my conversation and blog posts become indistinguishable over time as they ferment. I’m fermenting a whole series of posts on the outstanding store that is Jacksons, that rightfully has a whole corner in Reading named after it.
We’ll start outside with the outstanding window displays. These are reminiscent of the 1960’s. The paper backdrop of large flowers could have been made, lovingly, by my mother, or yours. Thoughtful, personal, tailored rather than mass produced, I find the displays enticing.
Even the Mannequin’s look like they’ve escaped from the 1960’s. With humour. The Ladies nightware is cleverly marketted as ‘Slenderella’ and ‘Damella. But the names don’t quite make up for non-topical goods. You have to prize non-topical good to buy this nightware.
The store cares, next to the sign indicating that they have the ubiquitous CCTV is one pointing out that their floors MAY be slippery when wet. another sign lets you know that for our own safety we should not lean against their windows. Is there an ominous side to this? Are they teasing us? Which floors are wet and which are dry? What will happen if we lean against their windows?
This slightly sinnister side is compounded by some of the mannequins. A child mannequin in a tutu appears to watch you with evil eyes… …she scared me… …intrigued me…
Other Mannequins display a slightly non-sober jaunty angle with their wigs and hats. Explore my flickr photographs of Jacksons for the full effect.
Rarely can I resisit going into Jacksons. The inside of the store is another set of stories altogether. Worth waiting for.