THE PEOPLE of Lush Places wait with bated breath as the auction of the village shop fast approaches.
With our publican throwing in the beer towel and our shopkeeper longing to escape the daily Londis grind, the outlook is mixed. Are those storm clouds ahead or is it just the mist that falls frequently, like a conjurer’s white handkerchief, on our little village, while the rest of West Dorset is bathed in light?
Or will there be sunny spells, a heatwave of 1977 proportions as Lush Places enters into a renaissance none of us ever dreamed possible?
Whatever happens, we can’t say that Mr Grigg hasn’t tried. When there were emotional discussions about the village putting together its own bid for the shop, he has been at the centre of it, the voice of reason.
We all think we know what sells but the harsh reality is that, actually, we don’t. We all think it would be nice to have home-made jam and organic meat on the shelves but it is probably the cheap biscuits and fags and Pot Noodles and copies of The Sun that leave the shop fastest.
We are not professional retailers, we need people with experience who are prepared to be open all hours.
So, as serendipity would have it, while driving through Beaminster this week, Mr Grigg notices a group of Asians with an architect and a plan outside the old convenience store in Hogshill Street.
With a screech of brakes, he stops the Land Rover, a line-up of traffic behind, and ambles across the road.
‘Excuse me gentlemen,’ he says. ‘Are you looking to buy a shop?
They nod in unison, he calmly walks two doors up to Symonds and Sampson and comes back, brandishing details of the Lush Places village shop.
‘Now this is the place you want,’ he says.
‘Lots of passing trade, potential for post office and a village eager to keep its facilities. See you in ten minutes.’
And with a cheery wave, he leaves a group of dumbstruck men on the pavement and a queue of angry motorists in his wake.
But what he doesn’t know is that there is talk of an Indian restaurant opening in Beaminster.
So look out Lush Places: forget the corner shop, welcome to the Mumbai Moments takeaway in the village square.