Friday, 8 May 2020
Local enterprises deserve our support
So rather than spend ages queuing up outside a supermarket, and then attempting to dodge all the ditherers and those who don’t understand the concept of social distancing, people who live in rural areas are instead flocking to the village shop, in their droves.
I have seen evidence of this in the village where my company is based. The local shop, which is also a sub-post-office, has provided a first-class service throughout the past six weeks of lock-down, offering a lifeline to the local community. From my company’s point of view, it also provides milk for our staff tearoom, as well as filled rolls or snacks for those fancying something different for lunch.
For several years prior to leaving home, I worked as a paperboy for the latter enterprise, getting up at the crack of dawn and going out in all weathers to deliver papers. We had to make up our own rounds, which was a little daunting to begin with but, as with all things, fine once you got the hang of it. During the winter months it was dark when I started my round, most of which was accomplished by bicycle, given the spread-out nature of the village. My bike was specially adapted, having been fitted with wide “cow-horn" handlebars, which formed an ideal place in which to lay my sack full of newspapers.
The shop didn’t offer Sunday newspapers, which meant a well-deserved lie-in. It was also a welcome relief to us paperboys, (there were three of us covering what was a widely spread out village), given the bulkiness of papers such as the Sunday Times, Observer and Sunday Telegraph and their accompanying supplements.
I digress, but I look back on those days with fondness, despite the often-harsh weather conditions us lads worked under. I am also grateful to my father for not only ensuring I dragged my sorry carcass out of bed in the morning, but for cooking me a breakfast – normally French toast, before I set off on my round.
Because of so-called social distancing, we had to queue to get in as, like most retail outlets, the shop operates a one out, one out policy. This did leave me feeling somewhat rushed, and meant I probably missed quite a bit of what the shop had to offer. I was pleased to pick up a bag of flour for Mrs PBT’s, a couple of bottles of beer from Canterbury Ales (not exactly that local), plus a rather nice loaf of bread from produced by local artisan bakers, Plaxtol Bakery.
It was only when I got home and realised it was priced at just under £2 that I thought wow; but it was worth every penny, such was its texture and taste. Sometimes it really is worth paying that bit extra in order to receive a first-class product.
Finally, as beer is one of the main focuses of this blog, it should go without saying we should also be supporting the valiant efforts of local breweries and pubs that are offering take-outs or even home-delivery. Having been forced to close by government edict, the survival of many of these businesses is at stake.