Winter is coming and I’ve swapped my shorts for my long trousers, and made a few changes in store.

The biggest change is the new coffee bar we have up and running. We have 70 new homes being built opposite us, and for the size of the village that’s a big increase. So the coffee bar serves those builders and locals with a range of hot beverages, sandwiches, and pastries. It has been well received and given us a lot more work to do, but the business will only get stronger.

In store we have switched from gardening products to heating products. There’s no gas in the village so people use coal and logs, so we have changed our displays to match. We’ve cut back on ice creams too, and when it comes to fruit and vegetables we’re catering for people wanting cabbages and cauliflowers rather than salads. When it comes to meat, we have in locally-grown pork, lamb and some game, all from the fields around the village.

We decorate the store for Christmas and get in a small number of speciality items for our older customers. We used to get a lot of special stock in for Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day, but it would be ridiculous for us to try and compete with the supermarkets in that regard, so we don’t. But we will still be using our big car park on December 18 to have a fundraising event for Macmillan Cancer Support. There will be a jazz band, carols and Father Christmas, so we will definitely be getting into the festive spirit.