Rebecca – Director of Freshly Greated – tells us what GY Marketplace means to her.
I grew up on Yarmouth market. I don’t mean that in an airy-fairy way. I mean that I actually, physically, did a lot of growing there. My godfather had a toy stall where my mum worked, so from the time I was a tiny baby I’d be there. Every Saturday, drinking juice in my stroller or bouncing from the stall in my baby bouncer. Freezing cold or summer heat, we would be there.
Mum told me I was a real draw. Shoppers would rub my chubby baby cheeks and chatter with me while their own children decided what toy they really, desperately, had to have. I should’ve gotten commission for all the toys I no doubt helped to sell. This early experience definitely explains why even now I feel very at home in that place, with the shouts and the bustle and the smell of chips. And why, no doubt, I’m still very good at babbling nonsense to anyone who wants to listen.
The memories of the marketplace change for me like a slideshow as I get older. I can remember the clothes stall – Louis’ – with its steps inside. Most Saturdays I would be there trying to convince mum I absolutely needed iridescent trousers or a crop top. I hid up the steps to try stuff on. Later – when I started being a bit of a bookworm – I would spend ages browsing the second-hand bookstall for the latest horrors.
I distinctly remember the first time I was allowed up town on the bus, on a Saturday, with my best friend. We had our pocket money ready to spend in Prism Leisure and Boots and then on chips (mine with mayonnaise, hers with ketchup). Later still, being allowed up town with friends on a Thursday night for the Easter Fair guinea pig night.
Fast forward a few years and I’d be joining my mum upstairs for tea in Palmers after a waitressing shift down Regent Road and then I recall first drinks at Peggoty’s, before heading into Divers, before it turned into Red Square. Sometimes drinking at the Wrestlers, too.
When I left Yarmouth and moved away for a few years I would still come back to have chips on the market and to scour the book stall, hoping for a bargain.
I can mark out important moments in my life just by where I was hanging out on the marketplace. Was I in a shell-suit, trying to convince my dad to give me money for some candyfloss? Then I was probably about 8 or 9. Was I walking down the row towards Mark’s Pantry during my lunch-break to meet some friends? I was probably 18.
So when I look at images from the marketplace I get a genuine and deep feeling of being Home. I can feel and hear and smell life happening. My life, your life, the town’s life. And somewhere in there, if I squint hard enough, I’m sure I can still see baby me, bouncing happily from that toy stall helping to make my godfather a quid or two – the marketplace my whole playground.