The current news and talk is stuffed with how badly things are going at the moment, but it's often the tiny details of our lives which really bring home how well we're doing or not. Two weeks ago I was struck by the number of construction cranes* I could see in the yard of the hire firm by the M1 motorway in Sheffield. Surely a sign that times are hard in the building industry - in the north at least.
This week a foray into Chippenham's High Street revealed a number of similar details: the number of newly unoccupied shops (at least 8); a rush to snap up the cheap offers available at our stricken Woolworths; the lack of fresh Christmas trees on the outside of the shops - a simple, but lovely decoration in keeping with our small town that's become rather a tradition. However, for me the most telling detail is the closure of one of our charity shops.
The news tells us these are booming as shoppers turn from buying new items to make their hard-earned cash go further. But I suspect charities are getting less donations of quality used goods too as people make do and mend with what they already have, or put them for sale on eBay to try and earn some extra money. And in a stretch of shops where 3 out of 4 of them are charity outlets (plus Oxfam is just across the road), I suppose it's inevitable that at least one of them is no more in the current economic climate.
This is my latest Changing Chippenham post - the last one can be found here.
* = construction added to the text after several commenters said they thought I meant the bird. Sorry for the confusion folks!