Happy New Year!  Well. I guess it’s not a New Year now – I can’t believe that we’re already one month into 2024, but then I’d barely got used to it being 2023 before it was all over in a puff of smoke!  Now, the only nod to 2023 is some half-price Christmas bits and pieces, so get down there quick!   Anyway, it might not still be New Year, but I hope that 2024 is a happy year for you, and to remind you that a visit to the shop will (hopefully) help to put a smile on your face, and help you to know that you are part of a friendly, supportive community.

As I write this, it is bitterly cold outside.  But it might be back to rain next week – you’ll know the answer by the time you read this!  At this time of year, the weather can be icy, snowy, or wet, and sometimes it seems as if it never gets light.  We are very aware of the hazards that this time of year can bring, especially if you are vulnerable in some way, and we really do not want anyone putting themselves at risk by venturing out when they do not feel safe.  We are therefore happy to deliver to your home.  Please ring the shop on: 01903 877110 to put in your order.  The only proviso that your order is over £7.50.  Sadly, £7.50 doesn’t go very far these days, so that shouldn’t be too difficult. 

At least there are some things about this time of year we can look forward to.  Pancake Day falls first on February 13th, although I have to say that I love pancakes on any day of the year!  As well as pancake mixture, we stock a wide choice of toppings – the traditional lemon juice and sugar, of course, but also Nutella, maple syrup and jam.  Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) is swiftly followed this year by Valentines Day.  You need go no further than your local shop to buy your cards, meringue kisses, chocolates or even some sweet little porcelain heart-decorated ducks for someone special. (Of course, Shrove Tuesday is also swiftly followed by Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, a time of abstinence, but we won’t talk about that.)  

I do need to flag up the brilliant service that our post office provides, in the light of the problems that the post office is currently facing.   You can send parcels, get cash out, pay bills, buy stamps, get euros, and buy gift cards.  I could go on.  Please, please, please, keep coming to our fantastic post office.  And it’s all local!   

My grand finale this month has to be to thank one of our most reliable, faithful, diligent and hardworking volunteers.  A member of our cleaning team, a certain Ann Hughes, has decided to step down.  Ann was, actually, our first volunteer back in 2017.  She was appalled to see the dust gathering under the freezer, and couldn’t wait to tackle it with her duster and hoover!  And she has watched over the shop ever since, and woe betide the smallest speck of dust that tries to hide; there’s no escaping her attention!  She has ensured that the standard of cleanliness has been consistently high, that shifts are covered, and that the Covid regime complied with government guidelines.  Not an easy task.  Ann, you will be sorely missed.

We have a wonderful band of volunteers.  Some you see behind the till, others, like Ann, work behind the scenes.  But we always need fresh faces.  If anyone could help clean on a Sunday, you would be welcomed with open arms.  Full training would, of course, be given.  The same goes if you could take on any other role, for that matter.  Volunteering is good fun!  Thank you so much to all our volunteers! 

Jean Burden