Friday, 24 February 2012

IN WHICH MR PICKWICK LEARNS IT IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE TO BE TOO MUCH OF A SMART-ARSE. While not quite repeating the nation-wide panic which Orson Welles' famous radio broadcast of 'The War Of The Worlds' engendered in 1938, my feeble satire has convinced some people that Wisbech is, indeed closed for business. Despite the fact that one of the photos clearly shows an Abbey National branch which we haven't had since Adam was a young lad, some people have cancelled their shopping trip to Wisbech tomorrow. 

NO, EVERYTHING THAT WAS OPEN IS STILL OPEN. You can still buy a pair of 58 inch waist elasticated slacks at Evisons, a bag of Brancaster mussels from Mrs Finnis, a mouth-watering haslet from Mr Williams at Franks, and so on and so on at all the brilliant shops which Wisbech still has.

FOR THE CURIOUS, the photos come from May 2010, on the eve of the riot that never was, when local shopkeepers took fright at the prospect of a battle between the National Front and gangs of Travellers, over the Tony Martin issue.

WHILE YOU ARE IN TOWN, call in at the excellent Number 10 cafe and buy tickets for this late (or early) panto. It looks like another example of one of the many excellent things that go on around the town, despite the moaning and negativity. Rumours abound that the show-stopping final to Act III features Steve Tierney singing his version of the Bob Hope classic, 'Fangs For The Memory'. Let us all hope that it is not merely a rumour!

AHEAD OF TONIGHT'S TOWN MEETING, councillors and business leaders were too distressed to comment after the sudden collapse of most of the established shops in the town centre.

One long established retailer, who refused to be named, but described himself as 'Horrified Of The High Street', said, "That's it - we can't take any more - I'm setting up in a layby on the A17 - it's a lovely location not far from Kelly's Big Baps."

"This wouldn't have happened if we still had the railway and the canal," said one disillusioned retailer. "We told the council that this would happen, but they just wouldn't listen."

Councillor Jeremy Smirks-Widely, who chairs the local Planning Committee, said."It's all too easy to be negative at times like this. What people have to remember is that times change. We are a dynamic community, and I see a bright future for the town centre.

Councillor Smirks-Widely added, "My desk is already covered with applications from viable businesses wanting to take over these vacant premises." Under a Freedom Of Information request, it was later revealed that these included submissions from an Albanian dating agency, seven bookmakers, a firm based in Colombia selling hydroponic equipment and leather goods retailer called 'Sleaze 'n' Tease.

APOLOGIES TO ANYONE WHO HAS TRIED TO ACCESS THE SURVEY THIS MORNING (FRIDAY)- I closed it for a couple of hours to check on some technical issues. It should be available again now.