I know I have written on this topic before several times so at risk of repeating myself here goes - I am writing about it again.
Since I fell and broke my hip in late October I have not been into our little town at all. I always go to the Hairdresser each Thursday morning but my Salon is this side of the town so I don't go into the centre at all. But this week, because their next Client had a Doctor's appointment the taxi had to collect me ten minutes early and instead of asking them to drop me at the Salon I asked to be dropped off at the Newsagent's in town so that I could peruse and finally buy a Gardening magazine. I then walking gently back with Priscilla and arrived just on time for my appointment - important as the number of clients allowed in at once is limited by Covid regulations.
And how depressing was the walk from the Newsagent's to the Salon? I arrived totally disillusioned and, in fact, horrified. First of all our lovely shop, Serendipity, which sold a wonderful variety of quality goods - Handbags, jewellery, china, cards, candles, furniture, bedlinen and a variey of other things - and was a real Mecca for tourist traffic (many stop here for a coffee stop on their way for lunch at The Wensleydale Creamery) has closed. Yesterday I saw that Costa Coffee, which was housed in what once was our HSBC Branch and had fairly recently been totally refurbished before it closed, had also closed. Its windows were filthy, rubbish was piled up in the doorway and weeds grew all along the path edge. It was disgraceful.
Two major shops in the town closed. It is only a small town and the shops are distributed round the Market Square and quite unmissable. What kind of impression does it all give to visiting tourists and what kind of welcome to the few thousand inhabitants? Very poor I would guess.
Yes - I admit it. I am old fashioned. But I have spoken before about Joe Hardy who, when I was at Primary School in the village eighty years ago, was what we called the village'Road Man '. His tools? A long handled, stiff sweeping brush a shovel and a wheel barrow. Our Lincolnshire village never had a scrap of rubbish anywhere. If it did then when you passed Mr Hardy working away at his own pace, you told him.
Now we have a fancy brush on a lorry - it goes along the gutter, sweeping it clean. It doesn't pull up any weeds in the gutter and, of course, it can't get into doorways. Is it not possible that a couple of men could be found for this, and many more small towns and villages, and employed as modern 'road men'?
The added advantage of Mr Hardy as far as we kids were concerned was that on wash days (always Mondays) Mr Hardy's smalls were hung on the line by Mrs Hardy and small they most certainly were not because he wore what I think were called 'combinations' - a kind of sleeved vest and long underpants in one, with a large hole at 'bottom level' for obvious reasons I presume. And on a windy day (no pun intended) they flapped amazingly in the breeze!
And, by golly, dare to drop a sweet paper in his sight and you got what for.