I’m afraid our local market may well die its death quite soon. The council have plans to ‘re-vamp’ the area where the market’s now held and spread the stalls all around the town instead, a plan I honestly can’t see working.
A market is traditionally a place where traders GATHER to sell their goods and where people know they can go to get either a bargain or something special that they can’t find elsewhere. It’s a place that should be bustling with young mums with pushchairs, men and their dogs, old ladies with pull along trolleys (yes, I know they can be annoying but give them a break, it can be hard to carry bags around when your arms and legs aren’t what they used to be) and housewives looking for fresh veg, meat and whatever else they can lay their hands on for the dinner table. It should be filled with the sounds of traders calling out “get your caulis here, darling” and there should be at least one greasy spoon where you can rest with a cup of tea and a bacon sarnie. What it shouldn’t be is a scattering of stalls dotted here and there around town. That has to be one of the daftest ideas I’ve heard in a long time.
Apparently the plan is to build new council offices on the site of the market but because there’s a bit of a financial problem with it along with the fact that our local council is being grouped together with a few others to make one big council area, nobody seems really sure as to what’s actually going to happen there. It seems they’re definitely going to do ‘something’ with it though.
If the powers that be in this town really want to keep the local community lively then surely the market’s an important part of that? I’d actually like to see more of them. On the days that the general market isn’t on, I’d like to see more guest markets. We had a French one visit a while back (a long while back) and there’s a Christmas market planned, but that’s it. And what’s more, the French one wasn’t where the market usually is and neither will the Christmas one be. We don't even have a monthly farmer's market - we have to go to Nantwich (the posh neighbour) for that.
One argument against the market has apparently been that a lot of the traders aren’t actually local (as in from the immediate Crewe area). Well that’s nothing new! Market traders have traditionally travelled from market to market, plying their goods, but they don’t exactly come from the other end of the country and they sure as heck don’t come from abroad (with the exception of visiting markets, of course). They’re still a darned sight more local than the owners of the chain shops that this town seems to be attracting more and more of.
I have fond memories of markets. As a kid I always went to Walthamstow market with mum every week. She knew exactly which fruit and veg stalls sold the best produce and we’d stop at the fish stall and buy kippers, winkles, cod fillets or whatever seafood Dad and I would be having for dinner that week (she wasn’t keen herself) and a plate of cockles for me to eat as we went along. She might look at the curtain material, buy some new linen, get herself a new pair of tights, buy me a pair of shoes or something else that I needed (getting a new winter coat was always the most exciting one) and during winter we’d stop at the sarsparilla stall for a mug of the steaming hot spicy brew.
When I lived in Norway I went to the fruit, veg & flower market on the square every week. I loved browsing the stalls, finding the best looking vegetables and juiciest fruit and a bunch of pretty flowers for the table. Then I’d sit at a pavement café and just watch the activity before getting the bus back home. Good times.