Saturday, 28 March 2009

Open Village Day - and a challenge to Lent?

St. Cuthbert's is in the village of Shotley Bridge -in North West Durham (and with a bit over the river in Northumberland too). Many people might pass through, but parking is difficult and the residents tend to shop elsewhere. So all credit to the businesses of the village which came up with the idea of having an "Open Weekend" for the village. Today and tomorrow is a day when they're hoping people will make a special effort to see what they're up to.

The weather wasn't at all auspicious at the start of the day, and it's still pretty grey, cold and windy. But the people are turning out. Lots of the businesses are new and located in tiny shop fronts - and they crammed. Over the years there have been lots of empty properties - but now they're all taken - the latest one opening this morning.

In fact the latest opening is of a Bridal Wear shop - that makes two seeking to corner the market only about 100 yards apart. I fear that we haven't much business to put their way this year - but who knows? Perhaps we'll get a name, and hopefully people will travel.

Another recent opening is of a "Patisserie." It's also in fact a "Chocolaterie" - and people who have read the book or seen the film Chocolat will know the stir such an opening during Lent caused in a fictional village in France. No such problems here it seems - and my younger son made a reasonably significant cash outlay for what he wanted.

So good luck to the business community here - spearheading the fight against the recession. The local churches didn't get asked if they'd like to join in. So I've been going round pointing out that we too will be open tomorrow - and every Sunday.

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