I was in Glasgow the other day for lunch with a former workmate (Yes, you may well say the joys of self-almost-employment) when I had the misfortune to witness the death knell of the huge Border's Book Shop in Buchanan Street. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people scavenging for novels and non-fiction at knockdown prices and queues snaking from the tills back down into the basement. If you didn't know what was happening you'd have thought the book trade had never been in better shape.
To be honest the Glasgow shop has always been well-populated when I've been there in the past and I know the company's terminal problems stem from the problems in America, but seeing such a huge literary institution brought to its knees like that sent a shiver through me.
And the credit crunch strikes ever closer to home. The wine shop at the end of the road which has served me well for the past twenty years is closing on Wednesday. It's been Haddow's, Bottoms Up, Victoria Wine (twice) and Wine Rack but it's always been there. Now the shelves are empty. The reason they went bust is that the banks wouldn't extend their credit, still it's nice to know that bankers are putting the billions we gave them to proper use and awarding themselves enormous bonuses for surviving the financial meltdown they created in the first place.