This is – was – the best charity shop I’ve ever had the pleasure to explore. Run by a cancer charity, it closed down last year to be taken over as a high-end, women’s fashion shop. I mourn it. From the name, I’m guessing it was previously a toy shop, unless it was the shop front for a male escort agency. Unlikely in Campbeltown. Everything about The Toy Boy was funky. The interior was crammed to the gills with clothes racks and furniture, and the shelves were stacked, higgledy-piggledy, with old toys, household articles, and knickknacks. I bought Chucky at The Toy Boy for a mere 10p. They were probably glad to see him gone (click on the link and you’ll understand why).
At the back were tottering heaps of books that required mountaineering skills to negotiate, or you might bring the whole edifice tumbling down around your ears. Over all, a patina of dust, except where disturbed by browsers. There was treasure in them thar hills, although I’m pretty sure no one would have fought me to the death for its possession. Beyond these 3 main areas, there was no attempt at organization. I did once overhear a man promising to come in soon to tidy the place up. Thankfully, he found better things to do.
The counter itself was home to CDs and cassette tapes, behind which were usually an extended family, or so it seemed – grandmothers, mothers, and bairns in various permutations. It wasn’t so much like going into a shop, more like visiting someone’s house and being able to ratch through their stuff.
Gone the way of all good things – I hold to the pessimistic view of history – and only the antiseptic Red Cross charity shop by the harbour is left. Where everything is clean, bright, properly arranged and priced. The books are arranged alphabetically. Horrors!