If a well-established rookery brings good fortune . . .

. . . then Jennifer Makepeace’s Gift Shop has been truly blessed.

But on the whole, I’d say that The Gift Shop, a renowned institution in Allendale, has thrived because of its proprietor’s dedication and acumen, even though, as she says, “I love them.” Jennifer has seen thirty years on the corner with the nesting rooks, watching as the eggs hatch, as fledglings grow up, as the sociable birds chatter and caw, as new pairs come and go. It’s all a bit like the humans who inhabit Allendale, really, a community of sociable individuals.

Anyway, The Gift Shop started out on Arnison Terrace some forty years ago, until the amazing ‘House with Wonderful Treasures’ became available, and Jennifer started to stock it with collectables, cards and delightful objets d’art, as well as posh ladies’ frocks. The Gift Shop is just as famous regionally as it is locally, as it’s brought customers and clientele from all over the north to admire the wares on display. And it’s a great place for a soft ice cream cone too!

But this year The Gift Shop is up for sale. Retirement comes to us all, if we’re lucky, and with great reluctance Jennifer is handing on the baton. The village will be hoping that the legacy of The Gift Shop can be maintained, because well, Allendale just wouldn’t be the same without it.

But I’d give a pretty penny to see what those rooks might have secreted away, bright spangly treasures dropped by unwary shoppers perhaps, up in their nests in the sky.

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