Of curry puffs and manicures.

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I grew up in Windsor, a town about an hour west of Sydney. If you hit the Blue Mountains you have gone to far. I still have a lot of family out there, so I get to revisit childhood memories regularly.

Back in the day, Windsor was a thriving community, with historical-ness wherever you look. The retailers enjoyed a healthy patronage and we were rewarded with excellent shops and services. But with the rise of shopping centres, the casualty was strip and street shopping, so now most of the shops sit empty.

I particularly recall one arcade called The Post Office Arcade, called so because next to it was the Post Office. Starting from the bottom you had a fruit and veg shop, then the butcher. Opposite was a gift store called The Bower Bird which sold a lot of things for christenings and 21st birthdays. It also sold a fine variety of stickers.

Continuing up, there was YE OLDE ENGLISH SWEET SHOPPE of which I was a faithful and loyal fan. It was the kind of store that had giant containers of sweets behind the counter and sold exotic offerings from faraway lands, like Yorkie Bars.

Then there was Blue Bayou, the local fashion shop which was fantastic and you knew you were a full-blown grown up when you got taken there. And opposite that there was a lingerie store that I recall with horror. As a 12-year-old, my mum took me there for an emerging breast inspection by an old lady with a beard. Have blocked the rest out. *shudder*

Anyway the reason I am telling you all this is because on the weekend, I had a very good discussion with my sister Mrs Ryan about the shop situation in Windsor. And she told me that there was tenant in the Post Office Arcade which was Kim from Kim’s Nails, her manicurist of choice. Kim comes in from Liverpool each day and tends to nails with her team. Her salon is decorated with black and white wrapping paper and she calls everyone darling. You can get a mani for a lobster at Kim’s. But that is not the special thing about her.

She recently realised that no one in Windsor sold any decent food, let alone noodles. So taking advantage of the paltry rents, she took on the shop next door, stuck in a fryer and a gas point and opened Kim’s Noodles. She is the closest thing next to a retail barren that the Hawkesbury has ever seen. She will be doing your nails and a customer might arrive, sniffing out the chances of a bowl of pho. One of her girls will take over nail duties while Kim rushes next door to cook.

If you are visiting Windsor soon, IĀ beseech you to make your way down that dark, dank arcade and find Kim, for she is fighting back against the business trends emerging everywhere, and I for one salute her.

And so does Mrs Ryan, who can get her nails done and roll a curry puff at the same time.

Where did you grow up?