Has anyone else stood outside the shop using Google Lens (a phone app) to attempt to identify a certain striking red plant growing in our window box outside the shop, or is it just me?  Actually, it wasn’t just me.  Helen, our wonderful deputy manager, another volunteer, and I, all stood outside looking at our plant cart, scratching our heads, wondering what it might be called. The beautiful ornamental plant has been much admired by customers in past years, but it’s only now that we’ve managed to stock it for all you plant-lovers to buy and enjoy.  It’s not the cheapest, but, as they say, you get what you pay for.  Looked after, and protected from frost, it will provide a stunning talking point for many years.  By the way, in case you’re interested, it’s called a mandevilla, or Brazilian jasmine (but, apparently, it’s no relation of our jasmine, which is a bit confusing.)

I hope you’re enjoying the warm weather at last – we’ve had to wait a while for it.  Everything seems more extreme now.  It felt as if we had nothing but cold, rain and wind the first months of the year, and now it’s suddenly changed to warmth and no rain, so much so, that they’re talking about hosepipe bans and such like.  It hardly seems possible, but maybe it’s how things are going now.  I remember that they were warning of a drought last summer.  Anyway, we might not have rain, but your friendly, welcoming shop is providing water to quench your thirst (and a dog bowl to quench your dog’s).  We have complimentary water and patriotic paper cups (probably left over from the coronation) just outside for those times when you’re hot and bothered, and too far from home.

Well, we’ve listened to our customers who have reported that the quality of the milk is not what it should be, and fed your concerns back to our supplier.  We are pleased to be able to let you know that they have consequently adjusted the feed for their cows, so that the milk being produced does not have as big of a cream plug as it had. We have noticed a positive difference with the milk. So please, please, if you are one of those customers who tried the milk and found it to be not up to standard, please give it another go.  We hope you’ll be more than satisfied this time.  And even if you’re not, at least you’ll know that we take your concerns seriously, and do our best to try to rectify them.

I am sure there are many customers and shareholders who would like to join with the staff, volunteers and management committee in wishing Becky Fagan well as she moves on to a new adventure. Becky was a key member of the original team of “shop saviours” and has continued to contribute many hours to Findon’s wonderful Village Store. We are so grateful to her, not only for her weekly trip to Bookers but also for sharing her special creative talents, especially for the many glorious bouquets and displays she has conjured up with such skill (think back to the stunning pedestal she “threw together” for our QAVS ceremony). Thank you, Becky; you will be much missed and we all wish you the very best of luck in the future.

Our shop is continually evolving, and, as we say goodbye to one much-loved member of the team, so we hope to say hello to another.  We will be looking for a teenager to work on Saturdays from August onwards.  An advert will be going out in the near future, but it’s worth flagging it up now.  So, if you think that you, your son or daughter, or someone you know, might be interested, please let them know.

Jean Burden