Jo and I have just spent a lovely few days meandering around Dorset in an old VW Camper Van. A great way to explore all those hidden villages and gems that are on our doorstep, but we’ve never been to, as we’re always on our way somewhere else.
During those few days we visited a lot of small villages similar to Chilbolton; tucked away, off the beaten track, which could take you back a hundred years in time. All of these villages had two things in common, a pub and a village shop. Sound familar?
There are Village Shops and then there are Village Shops
The sad thing was that in several villages the village shop was looking a bit forlorn. Empty shelves, limited stock, old fridges, no local produce, no nice cheeses or fresh bread and little to entice us to purchase more than a packet of crisps and a couple of drinks. This was even true of the Co-ops we visited, which although large had nothing in the way of fresh produce, meat or fish. If we had wanted a tin of beans and some frozen burgers or chips we would have been fine, but it’s a bit difficult to pop some baked beans on the barbie 😉
Proud of Chilbolton Stores
Although it meant our BBQ had to be content with sausages (from Hampshire – we were in Lyme Regis!!) and a Lynda McCartney Burger (which as bit ‘interesting’), I had a real sense of pride, when I thought about our own village shop, Chilbolton Stores. People often say you can’t do a ‘proper shop’ in the village shop, but I’ll challenge that. Whatever day of the week it is, you could always pick up something for dinner. Whether it’s fresh meat or fish, or a frozen ready meal, there is always plenty to choose from. In fact I would go so far to say that we have more choice in fresh vegetables, meat, fish and cheese than many of the Co-ops. So we may not have 12 different cereals or tinned meatballs, but you definitely won’t go hungry.
This this is a bit of trumpet blowing, but sometimes I think we need to do it. At the end of the day if Jo and I lived in Chilbolton, we’d be glad that we had a shop like Chilbolton Stores and we hope you are too.
Thanks for reading