A couple of little diles came into Carmarthen with us today. The weather was lovely and there were even some nice hot rocks to sit on – very civilised!

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As it happens that wasn’t what made me smile. It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon in my little home town but there were quite a few people wandering around shopping. Again, very civilised. The thing being that compared to other towns and cities I’ve been to in recent years this place was bustling (at least for a weekday afternoon). There were exciting new little shops, an active indoor market, and cafes with food and drink that were actually worth paying for!

I actually found myself smiling and almost giggling a little to myself. It seems silly but it has been an extremely long time since I was so invigorated by a walk through a town.

In recent years my dislike of big chains has become rather… unsubtle. I tend to find their immense scale intimidating as a small business person but more than that their efficiency becomes a negative. I like efficiency – being deliberately bad at something seems idiotic. That said there’s something to be said for an efficient overall economy and for that to exist it’s arguably better to have some of the population employed needlessly in order to keep things flowing.

What I’ve seen in Carmarthen would appear to be a nice compromise. There’s some big shops – H&M, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, that sort of thing, but there’s also a vast number of little shops making a go of it. When I see a vacant one and others closing down I find myself thinking, “Excellent, time for something else to have a go!”

Perhaps some sort of ratio is the way forward for city centres – partly based on accounting, partly on footprint, and partly on number of independent businesses within X hundred metres of the chain.

Either way it’s much more uplifting wandering through Carmarthen than the capital of Scotland!

Oh and Diablo’s has rather fun and tasty things. Try their panko chicken. Nom!

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