We went shopping in Cheltenham yesterday, needing to get together some things before our trip on Thursday. The Promenade was looking particularly lovely with all the bedding plants flourishing after the warm, wet spell.
Thing is, do you see all those empty car parking spaces? This is Saturday morning, shortly after nine o'clock, when normally, all of those spaces would be filled with shoppers, setting out for a pleasant morning in the town. As it was, the shops were practically empty, many of the coffee shops and cafes were closed and it's clear that the water situation is not over yet.
Even our large Waitrose was showing the effects of the events of the last few weeks. This photograph was taken around 11am, when the store would surely expect to be at its busiest. Both coffee shop and Espresso bar were closed and there was a noticeable lack of "browsers" in the home departments.
Just a small bit of evidence of how this is all going to affect our local businesses. Cafes and restaurants have been closed for a couple of weeks now, during which time people have lost the habit of lingering after work, getting a spot of breakfast in town before shopping or meeting friends over coffee. The local shops must be having a really dreadful time of it, and there must be a knock-on effect beyond the shopping and dining.
Time for a bit of support for our local businesses I think.