Now I don’t write about supermarket chains very often in this blog and Morrisons in Abergavenny has a controversial history, however our younger son James got some great news yesterday when he found out that the new store opening on the old cattle market site is going to offer him a permanent job!

This was great news all round and a fantastic reward for all his hard work as unpaid volunteer, as well as an occasional paid relief manager, at the local Blue Cross charity shop.

We found out when after visiting “Get Noticed” design shop to get some posters printed for Debbie’s up and coming 60th birthday and popped into Blue Cross on the way back to see him as usual.  Out of the blue James shared the news that he’d just been phoned up after his interview earlier that afternoon to confirm they were offering him a role and he was to start his induction training soon!

I don’t think anyone observing in such a busy charity shop has ever seen four people so excited, as Debbie, Emma and I took it in turns to repeatedly hug and congratulate James on his brilliant news!

To celebrate we bought ourselves a rare bottle of red wine and James a bottle of special lager for consumption at home and I have to say personally I savoured every sip, although I’m so unused to drinking I had a nap late afternoon in between glasses!

Judging by the exterior of the new store (artist’s impression above) its opening is probably going to be late February or early March, but despite some local opposition to the store in terms of its design or location, we shall definitely be changing our grocery shopping loyalty thanks to the 100 jobs they have brought to the area for sure!

It’s interesting when I look back on our time in Abergavenny just how must economic regeneration has occurred both there and in Llanfoist where we “escaped” to.  Firstly the whole town centre was repaved in time for the Eistedford, the famous Angel hotel front totally refurbished, the large grade II listed building next to the post office modernised and numerous run down shops closed and reopened as new in the High Street.

In Llanfoist itself of course two new housing estates have been completed including our own at Mountain View and just over the Heads of the Valley Road next to the other is the Premier Inn, Costa Coffee and good old McDonald’s and the adjoining Persimmon estate.  There was quite a lot of local opposition historically to all those in the past too despite the undoubted increase in prosperity that they deliver to the local economy.

Interestingly Mountain View itself was built on the old derelict Cooper’s factory site that closed down a number of years ago and as such qualifies as a “brownfield” development, whereas  the hotel and retail developments took place under a series of electricity distribution pylons which probably would have never been developed otherwise and left as rather unattractive waste land.

Understandable “not in my back yard” fears have to be balanced by a thoughtful response to ongoing economic development, which of course is never easy to get right. Recent plans to construct a footbridge over from Llanfoist to Abergavenny are a good example of safety improvements I’m sure by most, even if other developments are resisted by the vocal naysayers.

Still, on balance for my family at least, things don’t look half bad at this point in 2018! 😀


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