Readers' letters - May 21
My father worked in the grocery section of the Co-op, on Ormskirk Road, for nine years until the outbreak of the war when he joined the R.A.F (LP Looking Back, May 17).
I can remember the interior, which was just as impressive as the exterior.
The tailoring, shoe and lingerie departments were wood panelled and I remember wishing I could work in the shoe department because they had ladders on wheels to shoot along from one lot of shelves to the next.
It looked like great fun.
There was also a sports section – my hockey stick and first tennis racquet came from there.
The grocery department was much more utilitarian, with sawdust on the floors, but much to my delight, the great slabs of ‘best’ butter lived on marble shelves and were made into shapes.
My father taught me how to make bags out of sheets of blue paper, used for tea and sugar.
Biscuits were in tins with glass tops and were weighed into paper bags.
All vegetables and fruit were loose, again weighed by hand. There was not a plastic wrapper in sight.
There were Bentwood chairs placed by the counter for ladies doing the weekly shop which might take a long time.
Some of the suburban Co-ops had delivery boys on bicycles with a large basket on the front.
I do not know how much you had to spend to qualify for this service, but I’ll bet there was no charge.
Then there was the Co-op ‘divvy’ – a form of early discount.
I know everything is supposed to look better in retrospect but I do wonder why the Co-op failed and is only now having a resurgence.
St Annes on Sea
Picture: Co-operative Stores, based in Ormskirk Road, Preston, in 1902. Picture courtesy of Preston Digital Archive
Customers not getting fair deal
Recently, there has been some press coverage on Northern Rail and, for obvious reasons, it was not good coverage.
Last week in Parliament, the Prime Minister gave an insipid answer to MP Tim Farron when she was asked about Northern Rail’s performance on the Oxenholme Windermere line. There was an equally inadequate statement from a spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group in Thursday’s Lancashire Post.
It is a real shame that no one will own up and say they have made a mistake. Northern Rail is heaping all the blame on Network Rail for the late opening of the upgraded Preston to Blackpool line. Contingency plans seem to entail cancel trains.
Passengers or, as they are now referred to, customers are not getting a fair deal. I also feel sorry for the train crews and station staff who get it in the neck from the public. It is not their fault.
Two more strikes are planned towards the end of May.
It is time Northern Rail canvassed customers about the situation. I personally do not want to be on a driver-only train.
The current mantra is See it, Say it, Sorted. How will that work on a driver-only train?
Northern Rail is introducing some new trains at some time in the future. I just hope that the windscreens are not defective, as in Scotland, and the seats are not rock hard, as on GWR.
There is, however, a great and ironic story that happened this week. The first electric powered train to travel from Preston to Blackpool took place at the dead of night. The train was a Virgin West Coast Pendolino.
on the roads
I recently attended a speed awareness course.
One thing the course taught me – after being implied that we were all a threat to other road users for doing five to 10 miles over the speed limit on an open road – was the confidence not to allow myself to be tailgated and harassed by those who want me to drive at their speed.
Harassment by drivers who use their HGVs or big 4x4s to intimidate is becoming more and more the norm and I’ve pulled into a layby many times to remove myself from danger and allow traffic to pass.
This practice – and not using lights, especially indicators – is a far greater hazard to other road users than speed alone.
Another cause to whine about
The PC brigade have found another cause to whine on about now.
The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest wore a kimono and had waving cats on stage.
I didn’t see the show but saw her pictures on the web.
Is it really so offensive to dress in one of these garments?
She says she wore it because she simply liked it.
I once went to a fancy dress party as a member of Abba (the brown haired lady). I found the whole thing a big laugh. Was I offending Abba fans all over the world dressing up like that? Or people from Sweden?
There’s some horrible things happening in the world.
Look at Israel or Syria, let’s worry about that