Ringtons_tea_3Not ringtones. Ringtons. A dry grocery delivery business serving the north of England.  Or so I learnt from my colleague as we passed one of their vans on the M1.  How do they stay in business in an age of supermarket deliveries?  What is their USP?  Is it their branded tea, coffee and biscuits?  Er, can’t believe it is no.  It must be the association of local, community service that somehow manages to hold over an entire region. 

Anyway, this kicked off a debate about how rural England [and presumably Wales and Scotland] used to be utterly dependent upon such deliveries.  And not being a rural type I guess I didn’t realise the extent of this.  Fruit and veg sellers, often the farmers themselves, to mobile dry grocers and mobile chippies would be a regular on your doorstep, even if there were existing suppliers close by.   I find this quite fascinating – Britain obviously depended just as much on delivery services in years gone by as it does now but I haven’t seen any histories of these itinerant shopkeepers.