Thank you for your custom and support…


Just outside of Henley, on the road to Reading there is a small farm shop/nursery type place. Outside the gates there are a set of boards where they used to advertise what was currently in season or what their special offers are. I often used to think as I passed that I must stop and see what was on offer – I remember one October, back when I fancied myself as a photographer, they had a lovely display of pumpkins right out front…


I never did stop, as I was usually in a hurry either to or from work, and not living in the area there was never the opportunity to visit at other times. And now I can’t as they seem to have closed down.  The yard stands empty the boards are blank and the whole site has an air of disuse and abandonment.  No doubt if I stopped and checked there would be a sign on the gate saying “We would like to thank our customers for their support over the years. We regret that we have ceased trading”… should have guessed there were problems when they started offering “free meat cuts” as a way of enticing customers in.


This sign is becoming more and more common, especially in niche shops. It started when fuel went up; people stopped spending on the treats, the olives and fancy cheeses. The town Toddler was born in has lost one of its delicatessens and what arguably was the best butcher in Oxfordshire. He was friendly, always happy to advise on the best way to cook various cuts and sold good quality meat, but at a price. The butcher never stood a chance due to his location. When money became tight the local passing trade probably dried up as it was not an affluent area and his meat although good was not cheap and lack of car parking meant a lack of out of area custom.


The village I live in is slowly losing services. The British Legion club closed last year and the pub closed 2 weeks ago. We try and buy some of our groceries from the co-op and there are some items we opt to buy from the post office even though they are cheaper elsewhere (but not without a car journey). Money is tight for us, but life in the village would be so less vibrant, so less communal if we lost our shops and I don’t want to be thanked, with regret, for my custom…


So buying less and shopping local, tomorrow I will have some spare change at last and can buy some more four !

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