A new year has started, but Covid 19 doesn’t recognise a calendar, unfortunately. It’s because of Covid that the shop has to run on reduced opening hours and that the queues, particularly for the Post Office, have been so long. Social distancing has meant that all the cleaning and restocking of shelves has to be done at the end of the day when there are no customers, and it takes at least two hours, whereas previously it was done throughout the working day by a team of volunteers. The staff and volunteers really appreciate the patience that customers have shown. The ‘old’ opening hours will be resumed just as soon as it is possible, which will depend on the virus, the government, and enough volunteers returning.

January is the time for new starts and resolutions to be good to yourself and good to the planet. At Barham shop the two can often be combined. Are you going for a ‘dry’ month? Duskins apple juice and Heart’s Delight apple and pear juice both come from Kingston, healthy drinks with minimal food miles. Tropicana and Cawston produce pure apple and orange juices and Belvoir sparkling elderflower is delicious, just like its cordial. The shop now stocks Bumblezest health shots full of natural ingredients to give your immune system a boost. If you really need beer or wine, you could try Gadds No 11 low alcohol beer or something from the Sl’m wine range.

There are many local products that you can buy , reducing your food miles. Provenance potatoes, Simpson’s wine, Paula’s home baked cakes, Wild Bread, Chandler and Dunn farm fresh meats and Barham honey are all produced within this area. The Wild Bread is a sourdough type which is easy to digest and can usually be tolerated by those with a gluten intolerance. Some of these products are a little more expensive but their superior standards are well worth it. Give them a go (and your stomach a rest) this January. Shop well and shop local.

Watch out for some Spring cheer on the cart soon. Alison from Herne will be bringing lots of new plants to brighten your house and garden.

Geoff Grabham sorts the newspapers every morning and takes some of them on a delivery round in Barham. From time to time he would like to have a well deserved holiday. The committee are asking for a couple of new volunteers to learn the ropes and cover for Geoff on these occasions or for any time when he might feel under the weather. If you are an early riser and would like to help in this way you would be welcomed onto the volunteer team with open arms. Geoff will show you the ropes. Of course, the round can be done in a car, but if you like keeping fit you could cycle or walk. Good for the shop, good for you.
Since the virtual AGM in November there is now a new committee to run things. They are very keen that shoppers should pass on any ideas, requests, complaints, comments or questions to them. Speak to Debbie Woodward (manager) or Debbie Tapley (postmistress) and your message will be passed on.

Finally, the staff, volunteers and shop committee would like to wish you and happy and much improved year 2021