The smell of fresh bread

WE all know that exercise is good for us but often the weather intervenes and we sit at home when we should be out and about.

Mall walking is one answer to the problem of the weather as it is warm, dry and safe.

It can also be interesting.

Monday morning was the second Hartlepool Mall Walking day and, having signed in, I was under way on the dot of 7am.

The Middleton Grange centre appeared clean, bright and empty.

As I approached the central square for the first time I noticed a blonde-haired security woman at the information desk, who gave me a cheery “good morning” as I passed by.

At the top of the mall I turned right towards the Post Office.

Most shops had their lights lit but the Post Office was still and silent.

I turned again and headed back to the centre square.

As I again crossed it I noticed that the escalator was still and both it and the staircase had their entrances taped up.

On towards the undercover car park and around the escalators, back down the mall then a right turn at a fast food outlet, and back to the start.

On my second circuit I realised that the centre was not as empty as I had first thought.

Many shops had people working inside them and security gates were half open to allow early access.

Cleaners were working on the stairs and the escalators, and a large brush was being pushed along the malls.

It appeared that the centre had awoken and was preparing for the new day.

I passed a bakery with shelves being cleaned and in a fast food outlet food was being prepared and paperwork was being completed.

By the time I was on my fourth circuit the tapes had been taken off the escalators and the stairs, and the escalators were now in motion.

I looked at my watch. It was now 7.30am.

More people were in the malls now, making their way to work.

The smell of fresh bread and cakes was evident and cakes were being placed on shelves.

As I turned once again at the Post Office I recalled that, in the days before the shopping centre had a roof, there used to be a rather good Chinese restaurant about here called the Bamboo Curtain.

I must be feeling hungry.

The centre doors are now open and many more people are about.

I finish my sixth circuit at 8am and head for home and breakfast.

Mall walking is good fun.

Why not join me next Monday?

Brian Bailey,

Major Cooper Court,

Seaton Carew.