Since the last update work has been moving forward at a rate of knots to prepare for the relocation of the Shop in a Box to the Royal Oak. The shop area in the RO has been completely refurbished and is currently in the hands of an enthusiastic band of volunteer decorators. The areas of damp have dried well now that the render has been removed from the exterior and a temporary cover has been placed over the chimney. Next will be the new flooring before we start to move in the shop furniture. As you may have seen in the meeting minutes Jo and Carolyn have been granted £10K to purchase equipment that they feel is essential to the success of the shop.

Currently we are looking at starting the move of the shop during the week beginning November 2nd. The temporary shop will continue to operate during this period. It is hoped to complete the move on a Sunday in order to minimise disruption. Thanks should go to all of the volunteers who have contributed both inside and outside, including the gardening and grounds group. Particular mention should go to Nick Sloan and John Davison for building the impressive momentum behind this effort.

The shop continues to trade well, but with revenue limited by space. When the shop moves it will be important to increase the shop takings and it is hoped that the opening of the Cafe will contribute to this. One of the keys to success will be maintaining service. The challenge of serving shop customers while providing beverages and snacks will certainly require volunteer help. It is anticipated that this will be undertaken in accordance with current guidelines; all PPE will be provided. If you fancy turning your hand to the key task of serving coffee and cake please contact Marilyn Clarke.

For those who pass the Oak the changes to the exterior are obvious. Removing what appears to be not one, but several layers of render has revealed the original and more sympathetic brick structure. It is intended to strip the render entirely from the original building and clean the brickwork to highlight the blue lias lower courses and the pale brick cornices and window surrounds. Replacement of the windows is also scheduled in the coming weeks.

We have started the search process for a landlord for the RO. Following the posting of the job on, in the first five days we have had over 200 views of the advertisement and a total of 40 applications. At least six of these are worth following up appearing to closely match our requirements. We will be forming an interview panel to narrow the search and conduct further discussions with candidates.

And finally in a poignant post script. The boy sitting in the front row of the picture on the cover of the business plan (VJ Day) came forward and asked to see our progress. He wanted to see the bedroom he was born in upstairs! His support and enthusiasm for what we are doing is gratifying.