DHB in Lockdown - Think Like A Local


It seems from this corner of the world, this tiny corner of England that life has changed into a routine that seems entirely paradoxical. We are advised to stay home, to social distance, to be alert and to be careful. We wash our hands. We stay distant. We settle into a weird routine of abstract distance and silent acceptance. We take exercise as we can when confidence, opportunity and weather allows. We endure.


And it seems that no matter what corner of Britain we all inhabit that these same things bind us all. That although are freedoms are being returned to us piecemeal and to different timescales that our daily lives continue in an apparent odd certainty.


I have done my fair share of watching. Watching the news, the questioning, the neighbours and their (to be quite frank 'questionable') behaviour as to whether certain actions constitute behaviour that matches the letter of the law and the letter of social responsibility. But I can suspect we have all probably been there...


But the one thing that I have been absolutely convinced about since the very beginning of this insidious lockdown has been the rise and rise of locality. And whether you live in the crowded cities of these islands or the isolated pockets of the countryside - local has won out.


Need that lockdown treat of a bag of self-raising flour? Short on meat? Haven't got your medication? Someone needs checking on? Anyone for a pint? Can't get hold of groceries? Need a hot meal?


All of the answers to these questions have been answered during this lockdown period by the local community, and in more particularity by your local businesses.


For whilst in the months and years before hand, these small business owners counted their coffers and pleaded with locals to frequent their tiny corner of retail and commerce; now, now their moment has come. And it hasn't come by accident. When supermarkets and department stores failed by weight of number and weight of desire to meet the needs of individuals - local men and women stepped up, faced up and provided not a business solution but a community need.


They never said no.


So whether it was your local pub that began organising grocery boxes of essentials for dispatch, your butchers that began delivering any or every stock they could source, your delicatessan or health food shop that added you onto the end of list that they never should have or the businesses that changed their models, their purpose to provide a solution to a problem that was not of their making. These are the heroes who made the rest of us, those not sick, to keep pretending that life wasn't as abnormal as it seemed and that we could endure.


Locality - the space that lies around you - can exist in people, in business and in landscape too. I commend the individuals who have stepped up to provide a service that was needed. I commend those businesses that filled the holes where national brands and business models failed. But I also raise a toast to the benefits of the local environment.


I feel lucky to live in a place of trees and of fields. I acknowledge, with a massive tilt of my head in respect, to those who endured with out access to these marvellous green pieces of our island. For these are the things that give us all hope. A parkland. A town route. A tarmac road that leads to nowhere in particular. A wood that could only be described as a stubb. A few shrubs, a tree or two. A cemetery. A footpath. A trackway. A canal. A pond. A loop around the block. For so many these were and continue to be our moments of salvation.


So when politicians and health officials say stay local. Let me be clear that by staying local, we all survive. We claim a little bit of our sanity. We enjoy the opportunities and possibilities on our doorsteps. We make for ourselves and each other a space where we can all endure.


And I know that for us that now lie in the south, we can now venture elsewhere. But please, be cogent, the places of coast and country that some of you now search out to be, are also others places of local. Don't make others lose their locality because some wish to find new and old spaces to breathe. Leave the local to the locals. Or at the very least consider the place that you may be heading to and think how you would feel if this was your local place of peace. And give them some space too.


Act local. Consider local. And if you can't stay local - think like this is your local. This is how we all show we care for people, land and spirit.