SHOPPING today is a totally different experience from that of my youth.

When I about 13 I was allowed to take the bus on Saturday afternoon with my friends, to shop in Middlesbrough.

I remember the bus time clearly, ten to two. I was first to board in my village, Great Broughton, with friends getting on along the route, in Stokesley and Great Ayton.

By the time we reached Middlesbrough, we were hyped up and ready to hit the stores.

We’d try on clothes in Etam and experimenting with make-up and perfume in Boots, then we would check out our favorite shop Chelsea Girl which was, if I remember rightly, close to Wimpy where we would have a cup of tea with chips. Lastly, we’d pop to C&A - more trying on of clothes - and the department store Binns, for a browse.

Then, on the bus back, we would rifle through our many carrier bags and delight in our purchases.

Throughout my teens I spent many a Saturday afternoon in this way.

Fast forward more than 40 years and it’s a different scenario altogether. For my daughters, shopping is done mainly carried out from their bedrooms. Throughout their teens they would spend hours trawling through websites, where clothing can be scrutinised up close from every possible angle. When they lived at home, most weeks, parcels would arrive from companies such as ASOS, containing clothes, shoes, jewellery, you name it.

My youngest daughter recently returned from university for a ten-day visit, and during that time there were the usual ‘parcel is in green bin’, calling cards left by delivery companies bringing clothing.

Internet shoppers order in multiples sizes and different colours, not batting their eyelids over what is to me the very time-consuming of process of sending back what they don’t want. Like my daughters, they rarely buy direct from shops, and they are part of the reason that high streets are dying.

Across the UK town centres are continuing to suffer with around 16 shops closing every day thanks to a combination of rising prices and more customers buying online.

Store openings in the UK are at their lowest levels for seven years as a slowdown in spending continues to hit businesses. Travel agents, banks and clothes shops are among the worst hit thanks to the rise of online banking, websites such as ASOS and holiday price comparison sites.

I rarely shop for clothing online, preferring to look at a garment, feel it and try it on. I don’t want the hassle of parceling things up, queuing at the post office, sending it back and checking to see whether or not I’ve been refunded.

I also like walking around town centres, taking in the sights and sounds of the streets, pausing for lunch or a cup of tea and stopping to chat to people. It’s pleasurable in a way that online shopping can never be.

Shopping through the post is nothing new. When I was young my mum was a local agent for John Moores’ catalogue, ordering clothing for a number of households in the village, who then paid her.

I used to spend hours looking at the catalogue and occasionally choosing items, but it was never a substitute for the real thing.

The high street is changing. Beauty product stores, cafes and tearooms and vaping stores are bucking the trend and opening up more outlets. My husband and I have noticed the dominance on the high street of coffee shops and nail bars. One town we recently visited seemed to have nothing else.

Sadly, there is no going back. Soon it will be online or not at all. And when that time comes I’ll be walking around dressed in rags.