In an attempt at being organised, and keeping my editors at Let’s go Ludlow happy, I’d put pen to paper a couple of weeks ago, ready to file a bit of jaunty and light-hearted copy about Valentine’s Day and what a load of old tosh it is and how everyone forgets about it unless you’re dead smooth like me; but then the moment rapidly passed. The day after V-Day came storm Dennis, and he took us all by surprise. I didn’t feel particularly chipper after so many people I know found themselves under frigid river water, so I had to rather quickly change the angle of this piece.
There’s little point in banging on about what has happened, because it has happened, and it can’t be undone. But bang on I must, because that’s what I’m here to do. Over that ghastly weekend, as the floodwaters rose, as the sirens blared, and as splish followed splosh there was for perhaps 48 hours a sense of solidarity, community, and togetherness that rarely happens these days, except in times of crisis.
Social media was abuzz with goodwill and kindness; people offering up spare rooms and cups of tea; skips and sandbags. But then it all got a bit moody. Finger-pointing, Twitter tittle-tattle, “It never used to be like this in the good old days!”, “Those pen-pushers at Shirehall need hanging!” and so on. Shouting on Facebook isn’t going to achieve a great deal. It’s not going to make Shropshire Council halt climate change or build flood defences, it’s not going to bring the Town Hall back (seriously, it was demolished in 1986, let it go), and it’s sure as silt not going to make anyone feel better about chucking their sofa out on the street.
Riding it out at Riverside Inn in Aymestry
In my (literally) lofty position I took the takings and looked at the books at work – we’ve made little money this year, but at least we’re dry. On the day of the floods I checked-in with my mate Reuben at CSons down by the Teme. He was alright, but by golly did they get wet. They’re grafters that lot, and they re-opened within three days of being totally soaked. Unbelievable, but they did it. That’s the spirit lads!
I went to the Riverside Inn in Aymestrey the weekend after they’d taken a lot more Lugg than they’d have liked and I spent my pocket money there. Well worth it, as it always is. Not a sniff of sogginess, not the merest suspicion of sewage; just the sort of supper that you’d like to be able to cook at home, but you can’t, because you’re not a culinary ninja like Andy Link.
As I write, word is coming through about potential occupants for the out-of-town site at Rocks Green. I’m not going to going to share my thoughts here about a supermarket on the edge of Ludlow, but it’s a threat that hangs heavy with indie traders like me. To use football parlance, it’s squeaky bum time.
This first quarter of the year is tough enough on the high street without weekly tempests and whispers of Waitrose. Go and spend your money in Tenbury, get provisions, build an ark, tread water, stay dry.