This morning the sun shines on Darlington, but we're in the middle of the traditional "factory fortnight", which is usually the quietest time of the year at work, and so it is this year. There just aren't the shoppers around.
Wandering around town, I spoke to retailers who have units on the front of the Covered Market, facing onto West Row. And here comes the sort of dilemma which someone is going to have to sort out quickly and tactfully. The outdoor market stalls have been moved to West Row from the Market Square, to take advantage of the wide open spaces of the Pedestrian Heart and bring the stalls into the main area of footfall. This should help these traders, and also, we thought, attract more passing trade to the Covered Market and the attached retail units.
But today we have complaints from the retailers on West Row that the market stalls are blocking their shops from view, and that trade is suffering. They're meeting Council officers on Monday, and hopefully a compromise can be reached where bigger gaps are left between the stalls to allow shoppers to see through and get easier access to the Covered Market.
Some good news today on the personal front: number two son has successfully completed the first half of his basic Royal Marines training down in Devon and has been awarded a new colour of belt, so can go forward to complete his training by December. And the first tickets for the forthcoming Premiership season have arrived. I'm a Northern Away Season Ticket holder for Reading FC, and this morning my ticket for the first game of the season, away at Man United, arrived. So after picking up three points there, it's home to Chelsea in the second game, so by the end of August we should be top of the league!