IGCSE descriptive essay | 2010 Oct-Nov | You come across a shop in a side street which


You are advised to write between 350 and 500 words on the following topic:

You come across a shop in a side street which you have never noticed before. You enter, and are amazed at what you see. Describe the interior of the shop and the things on sale there.

Model Essay

It was a dreary afternoon when I found myself wandering aimlessly through the maze of side streets in the old part of town. The narrow lanes, lined with cobblestones and flanked by tall, weathered buildings, seemed to hold countless secrets. As I turned a corner, I noticed a small shop tucked away in the shadows, its presence subtle yet intriguing. The faded sign above the door read “Curiosities & Wonders,” and my curiosity got the better of me.

Pushing open the creaky wooden door, I was immediately enveloped by a musty, nostalgic scent—a mix of aged paper, polished wood, and a hint of something floral. The interior was dimly lit, with beams of sunlight filtering through dust-covered windows, casting a warm, golden glow over everything. The shop was a treasure trove of oddities, a labyrinth of shelves and display cases crammed with a bewildering array of items.

To my left, a towering bookshelf reached up to the ceiling, filled with ancient tomes bound in cracked leather and faded cloth. The spines bore titles in a variety of languages, some familiar, others completely alien. Each book seemed to pulse with a life of its own, as if eager to share its secrets with anyone willing to listen. One particularly ornate volume caught my eye, its cover embossed with gold leaf and intricate patterns. As I reached out to touch it, the texture was unexpectedly soft, like the skin of a ripe peach.

Further in, a glass display case showcased an assortment of peculiar artifacts. There were delicate, hand-painted porcelain dolls, their eyes gleaming with an almost lifelike curiosity. Next to them, an array of intricately carved jade figurines stood, depicting mythical creatures and ancient deities. A silver pocket watch, its surface engraved with tiny, meticulous details, ticked away softly, its hands moving in an oddly soothing rhythm.

The centerpiece of the shop was a large, polished wooden counter, behind which an elderly shopkeeper sat. His weathered face was a map of wrinkles, each one telling a story of its own. He wore a pair of round, wire-rimmed glasses perched on the bridge of his nose, and his eyes twinkled with a mix of wisdom and mischief. He greeted me with a nod and a knowing smile, as if he had been expecting me all along.


To my right, an entire wall was dedicated to antique musical instruments. A gleaming grand piano stood proudly, its keys yellowed with age but still immaculate. Violas, violins, and cellos hung from the wall, their varnished surfaces catching the light and casting intricate shadows. A beautifully crafted harp, adorned with delicate carvings, stood in one corner, its strings whispering secrets of melodies long forgotten.

In the center of the room, a large, ornately framed mirror stood, its surface rippling slightly as if it were a pool of water rather than a solid pane of glass. As I approached, my reflection wavered and shifted, showing glimpses of different eras and places. For a moment, I saw myself standing in a bustling Victorian market, then in a serene Japanese garden, and finally in a futuristic cityscape, all within the span of a heartbeat.

The shop seemed to exist in a realm outside of time, a place where the past, present, and future intertwined seamlessly. Every item on display carried a story, a piece of history waiting to be discovered. As I wandered through the aisles, I felt a profound sense of wonder and awe, as if I had stumbled upon a hidden gateway to the world’s collective memory.

Eventually, I found myself back at the door, reluctant to leave but knowing that this magical place would always be there, waiting for the next curious soul to wander in. As I stepped outside and the door closed behind me with a soft chime, I couldn’t help but feel that I had been part of something truly extraordinary, a fleeting glimpse into the wonders that lay hidden just beyond the ordinary.

Word Count: 661