Excitement was mixed with frustration for new Caldbeck store operators Lisa Kitchen and Debbie Riley, as they took over the village shop, after an administrative mix-up meant they could not operate the post office services.
The error has left the village without a post office counter service, meaning Post Office head office has had to arrange a temporary weekly mobile service, provided by the postmaster for Wigton, who takes a mobile service to other villages in the area.
Lisa, 47, and her partner Debbie, 49, started work behind the counter at Kirkland Village Store, Caldbeck, earlier this month, but said the Post Office ended the contract with their predecessors too soon, as the application to take over as postmaster has not been processed yet.
The shop is owned by Mike and Lynn Steadman, who have leased out the business to Lisa and Debbie.
“The Post Office gave Lynn a date for when she was due to leave and she took that date, but it was a month too soon,” said Lisa, who has worked in the shop for about five years.
“My application was not completely in.
“I lost my mother two weeks ago and asked for an extension to my application and in the mean time the Post Office ended Lynn’s contract a month too soon.
“My application does not have to be in until 28th October, so I don’t know when the post office will open again, because it’s very complex to apply.”
A mobile post office service will start visiting the village on Wednesday and will be outside the store from 9.30am to 12 noon.
“The travelling post office is aboard a specifically designed vehicle,” said a Post Office spokesman.
“It is a tried and tested way of maintaining service to communities.
“It provides the best possible temporary solution to maintain post office services to the community whilst we continue to seek a permanent solution.”
There are also alternative full-time offices at Hesket Newmarket and Wigton.
Lisa and Debbie, who was head of a housekeeping department at Center Parcs at Whinfell, for 24 years, are looking forward to the challenge of running a shop and post office.
“We are wanting to make it sort of old fashioned and might go back to having a milk round or a bread round,” said Lisa, who also worked for a number of years at Center Parcs as a supervisor in housekeeping.