The run up to the holiday with our independent shop and mail order business was what can only be described as a manic period.
As we approached late afternoon on Christmas Eve the High Street fell eerily quiet with darkness setting in. It was time for a big sigh of relief as we had almost made it to Christmas Day giving me time to look at the High Street with all the Christmas trees on the outside of shops. I know I am biased but the High Street really does look amazing and all the better in the knowledge that there are no vacant shops.
Visitors to Pateley Bridge often bemoan the loss of their High Street in the area of the country where they live the and the lack of independent shops commenting how lucky Pateley Bridge is to still have both. Lucky Pateley Bridge sounds good to me.
As someone who is used to a fairly busy life, the holidays are a time to relax and if I am honest become a tad bit bored. If I tell people I have been bored, quite often they will say ‘well didn’t you watch such and such on the telly’. At this point I confess that we do not have a television having made the decision to do away with ours around 20 years ago. We did away with TV a few years after coming to live in Nidderdale and there lies the answer as to why we did. The reasons included us operating a business, becoming involved in community activities and being taxi service to number one son.
I had always thought that the idea of moving to the country was for a quiet life but very quickly learned that was a total misconception. The countryside is beautiful whatever the season relying on its custodians to look after and maintain it. The custodians include those born and bred in Nidderdale, those who have moved to the area and its visitors. Everyone whether they live here or visit play a part in helping to maintain the countryside contributing to the infrastructure and economy. The tourists Nidderdale attract are an integral and vital part in helping sustain the economy of the area.
Between Christmas and the New Year at our shop I was talking to members of two families with their children, one of the families I learnt had in the last few months moved to Nidderdale from down south. The other family with them were visiting for the first time to see the area where their friends and children had moved to. The family who moved to Nidderdale told me they have settled in and are enjoying being part of the community, not really missing anything from the life they previously led other than their friends.
The friends who were visiting from down south said how wonderful they had found the area and people to be. I have talked with other shop keepers and they have commented that over the holidays a lot of visitors have been from down south. Having visited London last year, admittedly only briefly, I could certainly understand why anyone from there may want to find an alternative way of living!
I know it may sound very boring but I was at home on New Years Eve looking out of the window waiting for the fireworks that normally illuminate the sky announcing the arrival of the New Year. The New Year is here yet today does not seem very different from yesterday! No New Year’s resolutions made so none to break - let’s crack on with 2018!