Day started off sunny. It turned cold and wet.
Where was the farmers market? I knew it was not in its usual location of the High Street. I also knew it was not in North Street, the obvious location, as that is where the market is held Friday and Saturday. I tried Castle Street. Not there.
I walked back to the High Street and asked in Turn Fit Deli. They directed me.
In the High Street I found a sign directing me through Angel Gate. In North Street I found another sign directing me down a street opposite.
And there was the farmers market halfway down the street in a car park.
And what a sad pathetic sight it was. The stallholders outnumbered the handful of people who had taken the trouble to find the market. There is no passing trade. Several of the stallholders who would be on the market were not there.
Understandably, the stallholders were not happy.
The work being carried out in the High Street is by the council. The market is run by the council. No one disputes the work in the High Street is long overdue and needs doing. But the treatment of the stallholders by the council is a disgrace.
They are paying a pitch fee for a prime location in the High Street. They are not in the High Street. Were a businesses to be in this location, that businesses would be paying a fraction of the business rates compared with a location in the High Street. The stallholders have seen footfall collapse to near zero. And yet the stallholders are being billed the same pitch fee as though they are still in the High Street. What the council is engaging in is blatant fraud.
In light of this overcharging, the council should make a public apology, and for the remaining months the stallholders are in this appalling location, the pitch fee should be zero. None of which compensates the stallholders for their loss of trade, but at least it would be a start.
And why are they in this location?
The obvious location would be North Street where the market is held on Friday and Saturday.
And if the argument against is insufficient room, then overflow into the side streets linking North Street to the High Street.
The market should not remain in this atrocious location.
Another location could be the bridge at the bottom of the High Street and the road that runs parallel to the river. It is a dead end road that goes nowhere.
Or even the car park at the bottom of the High Street.
After the market, I picked up from Waterstone’s two copies of And the weak suffer what they must? by Yanis Varoufakis.
I suggested Waterstone’s had on display. We have they said, a table as you came in the door. I admit I had not noticed.
And the weak suffer what they must? is not published until Thursday.
It was then cappuccino in Turn Fit Deli, the No 1 coffee spot in Guildford. I would have had lunch there, but they sill have problems with their supply chain. This hopefully should be resolved by end of the week or early next week.
Guildford farmers is first Tuesday of the month. Usually the High Street, but not until August or September at the earliest. This means the market at its best with the summer fruit, fresh strawberries, will not be in the High Street. But wherever it is, it has to be relocated from where it was held today and the stallholders have to be recompensed for their losses and pitch fees adjusted.