Well, I’m not sure how I’m going to say this, but…. I can’t drive.
I never meant to be this way and well, I have friends that can drive… And it’s not that I haven’t had lessons, I have! I just well, I don’t like it… Negative; there are a couple of places that are hard to get to. Positive; I don’t need to go to the gym. Negative; it takes about two hours to get to work by public transport. Positive; I car share (well, I provide the money and someone else provides the car…. I guess they car share really!) But the thing is, I love it! I get to vent about work (to someone who is actually interested) and I also get to find out lots of gossip. I appreciate that many of you will consider me some kind of leper though…. It gets worse, I don’t like tea either!
Anyway, I digress. So, this week I decided to make a point of just shopping in the town centre for seven days, in a deliberate attempt to support our high street (I’ve heard it is directly suffering from the traffic congestion and that this is resulting in reduced footfall through the shops). This wasn’t really a big thing, I do this most weeks anyway if I’m honest. Like most people, I love a bit of Aldi, but I actually shop in town a lot because I prefer it; I hate wasting my Sundays on a ‘big shop’ and I love chatting to the people around town. It just feels more of an experience somehow.
So, let’s start with last Sunday (Day 1) …. I woke up and remembered that I hadn’t bought a present for a seventh birthday party and I found out my friend (one I had met because I car share) had got engaged – congratulations! Now, some of you might be shocked by this, but well, I actually dealt with both things in town. I bought a present and a card in WHSmith, some other cards in Card Warehouse and a bottle of champagne from Morrisons (I’m really a prosecco girl, but hey, it’s a present!)
On the Monday, I did a ‘big shop’ in Morrisons and the greengrocers. I know I should get my meat from the butchers in the indoor market too but well, I (like most of us) am a bit lazy. Then, after I picked up the kids from school, I went to Clarks to get them some boots and trainers, then, went into Shoezone to get them some new wellies (we all have to budget somehow!). And well, that was pretty much my shopping until Friday. I wanted to get some things for Christmas so I popped into Nice and bought some decorations (yes, they were more expensive than Asda but they are a lot ‘Nicer’ :-)) and then, I picked up some presents from Argos. Yesterday I had friends over, so I popped into Glanmors to buy some nice bread, some cheese from the Visitors Centre and some macaroons from Iceland (well, if you’ve got friends over you’ve got to show off a little bit!) Tomorrow, I want to buy flowers, so I’m going to Nicola Downie’s (yes, I know Tesco sell them cheaper but if you want something special, you go to a proper shop) and I need to buy some eczema friendly products from Boots (technically Day 8, but hey why stop a good thing!)
And, well, that’s my story… It’s not exactly exciting but I just wanted to prove that it possible to shop in town for a whole week and survive! And well, if we don’t, town won’t survive. It is not the council that chooses whether ‘big shops’ come, it is us…. The pound in our pocket is more powerful than the vote with our pencil (or a post on Facebook!) If you don’t shop in town, I won’t judge. I just wanted to show that there are things here (in fact there are 203 businesses in town – not all shops granted, but there are lots of places here) and I know the works on the roundabout makes things awkward, but well, that’s going on for a year and if you avoid town for the year, it won’t be here at the end of it. It’s not just Caerphilly Town Centre either. There’s Bedwas, Newbridge, Blackwood… The borough is full of towns that won’t survive unless we help them.
Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to go back to my hangover… Wine is evil!