re-posted from Blogs from the Bongs.…
Like Mark Twain who famously quipped a report of his death was greatly exaggerated, our own Margaret Kettle is proving there is a lot of life still to live – even as one of Goostrey’s oldest villagers a few months off her 94th birthday!
When Margaret’s “Aladdin’s Cave” appeared to close several weeks ago, it was feared the doughty shopkeeper had finally locked up for good. But nothing of the sort as it reopened today (July 4) with Margaret still behind the counter in a refurbished shop. Now renamed Goostrey Village Store, complete with post office, groceries, bread, fresh meat and hardware, the wheel has turned full circle to the days when the community was little more than 500 souls and there were many more shops.
Its transformation is due to Jonathan Royle, of Plumley Village Stores, who took over Goostrey sub post office when it was threatened with closure, and has now invested his faith and resources in a return to shopping locally. And Margaret, born and bred in the community at Roadside Farm, Barnshaw, will remain very much a lively fixture – although she can no longer boast she sells everything from a pin to an elephant – continuing a role that began with her late husband, George, in 1960. “I am certainly not retiring and I will just disappear one of these days,” says Margaret. “I have been modernised, and have been dragged shouting and screaming into the modern age.”
Those of a certain maturity in Goostrey will remember when the couple ran not only the post office but sorted the mail at 5.30 am behind the shop in Main Road and employed a team of posties. It was a real rural service and I doubt a letter was ever delivered incorrectly. I then lived in Mill Lane and was always aware when George delivered the post – the whiff of the smoke from his ever present cigarette wafted up the stairs through the letter box!
In recent times,some 29 years after the post office moved elsewhere in the village, Margaret came to the rescue when it faced the axe and offered a corner of her shop as a branch of Plumley post office. Now she is looking enthusiastically to her new role as arguably the oldest shop assistant in the country in premises built for £300 in the mid 19th century on land known as the Acreage and her home for more than 50 years.
It has served the village as a bakery, a shippon for five cows, stabling for horses and an abattoir before Kettles emporium. Jonathan says the shop will be an addition to other businesses in the village and not in competition. Griselda Garner, wife of author Alan Garner, who lives at Blackden, was among villagers at the official launch.” She said:”It is a fantastic addition to the village and I hope it will be well supported.”
*Mark Twain, the American writer who died April 21, 1910, in Redding, Connecticut, was in London in 1895, when he was rumoured to be on his deathbed, provoking his famous response.
read more at Blogs from the Bongs.…