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Recession Road: Markham Moor (south)

Phil Coomes | 13:32 UK time, Tuesday, 15 September 2009

This post is from our Recession Road series, part of our special report on the global downturn.

Little Chef on the southbound A1 at Markham Moor

Please don't think this is just a tour of all the Little Chefs on the A1. It's just that we absolutely had to come to this one at Markham Moor - despite the fact it's on the southbound carriageway - because it's an architectural wonder with its (apparently) hyperbolic paraboloid roof designed by Sam Scorer.

Over tea, Phil says I have to mention that fact that The Year of the Cat by Al Stewart is playing on the restaurant's sound system. He says in Al's heyday this Little Chef would have been packed out and the roof wouldn't have been rusty and leaky inside, as it is now.

Helen OakesIn the car park we met Helen Oakes, who's 45 and from Redcar in Teesside. She says that at first they didn't think they were going to be affected by the recession, but since November last year, the prospect of her husband losing his job at steel company Corus has become all too real.

"We're still on the same money, still doing the things we had planned like holidays, but then thinking 'oh god, should we be doing this?' I have changed things, like the way I do my food shopping."

"It's like the recession has affected my head but not my pocket. If my husband loses his job, half our income will go, and then we won't be moving forwards any more. Our daughter has just started her A-levels, what if she wants to go to university?"

They feel like they are "treading water" at the moment. "We've worked for 30 years and we're going to get the rug pulled from under us basically. We'd manage but it's a different type of managing to the way we are now."

Phil's posted more photos on Flickr. Have a look here, and don't forget you can join our group and post your own A1 pictures.

You can read an explanation of our Recession Road series here. Words: Paula Dear; Images: Phil Coomes.

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