Lots of walking this morning including a trek up one of the main streets in Grimsby known locally as 'Freemo'. Best seen in sunshine which it was this morning despite the autumnal hint of falling brown leaves. Freemo has seen better days, to be frank it is deader than the last Dodo curry. Boarded up shops, a variety of people from 'Rough Extras' (we supply for gritty televisual dramas) and an excess of charity shops. The best thing would be to accept the inevitable, that most people shop at the mall or edge of town supermarkets and revamp the area as mainly residential. The market is generally good and that should be encouraged but the street could be revitalised. The local council with local companies to get the buildings fit for the 21 st century. Apprenticeships for unemployed youths, open up some space for a local park, encourage small local businesses (tax and rates breaks) and open up the market more. Alternatively, bulldoze the lot and invite Ikea in... that's a joke by the way although I'd love to see an Ikea between here, Scunthorpe and Lincoln. The market could have small arts & crafts stalls, alternatives to the usual stalls.
The local press is encouraging people to shop locally without attempting to analyse why people shop at Tesco or Asda. Convenience, cost, free parking, advertising, the experience of shopping itself. I joked about the rough extras but I was approached this morning by two blokes to whom malodorous and unkempt are the politest terms I could apply. One was friendly, asking for directions & we had a quick chat. The second was distinctly odd as he muttered into his beard. Mrs.C refuses to shop in Freemo because of the various local street 'characters' along there which is odd because she recognises most of our local street characters here in the town centre and she's ok with them. I guess the main difference is that the latter tend to be drinkers whilst the former fall into any number of categories, a theme for a future post perhaps. If the Freemo experience could be enhanced somehow so that people want to go there. I'm thinking of Covent Garden, Camden Town, etc... Perhaps I am expecting too much for the town but I do believe we could ask a lot more of politicians, both local and nationally. Perhaps the one thing we could ask of them is that they make it easier for small companies and entrepreneurs by reducing rates, taxes and red tape to allow things to grow from the ground up. The pooch liked Freemo... olfactory heaven for a dog especially as we got closer to the docks!