Good grief, what is wrong with Alvin Wilkinson’s council? His store, Countdown in Hornsea, Yorkshire, has featured a few times in this column, largely for the council’s crackdown on Alvin trying to display fruit and veg. First they made him cover it up to the point that it couldn’t be seen, then take it down altogether on the basis that a) it impeded pedestrian traffic and b) it picked up pollution from passing traffic and therefore posed a health threat (Seriously? Never heard of washing before use?).
So Alvin’s fancy, as a young man’s does, lightly (well, he’s a septuagenarian but wears it lightly) turned to spring.
Flowers, he thought. Aubretia, daffs, primula, sweet peas, mini chrysanths. It made a bright display. “People crossed over the road just to look at it,” he says.
It sticks out just 15 inches in front of the store.
But while Alvin was out the other day, a bloke from the local authorities showed up and told Alvin’s wife that there had been one telephone complaint and asking Alvin’s wife: “How many times does he have to be told about outside displays?”
Apparently, there is going to be a letter in the post.
“I thought I had come up with something that no one could object to,” says Alvin.