Well, it’s a strange time right now (worrying, weird, difficult, scary and a whole host of other emotions too) and it often feels hard to know what to say... so I’m sharing some of the things people are doing across our county and in our communities that’ve made me feel positive. Things you might like to hear about, if you haven’t already.
I’m going to write about ‘The good stuff’ regularly (for however long this period lasts), as well as giving huge shout outs on the radio show too. So, if you know of anything that’s happening that’s made you feel a little brighter, or something you feel needs sharing, let me know? For now, here are a few of those things that’ve restored my faith, made me smile, or got me nodding my head and saying YES, Somerset, YES!!! :)
Was it Lady Gaga that uttered those immortal words ‘Just Dance, gonna be OK, do do do’? Well, The Gaga has got nothing on Somerset’s Cheryl Sprinkler from Mojo Moves (feelgood comedy dance classes with a difference).
Cheryl led an online disco on Instagram yesterday, so we could all top up our mojos from the comfort of our own kitchens, and dance like no-one was watching... because they literally weren’t (unless your cats and dogs were wondering why you were shaking your booty to Madness in the late afternoon ;)).
Cheryl said she wanted to:
“bring a bit of Mojo love into people’s lives when they’re feeling anxious, isolated, bored or sad”
and she definitely did that.
And there’s more on the way.
As her in-person classes can’t happen at the moment, Cheryl’s currently looking for an alternative online platform to host them on (there’s a bit of an issue with playing music on Instagram), so follow her on social media for more updates on that. I’ll definitely be signing up when it’s ready to go... now where did I put that catsuit?
Wildlife from your window
If anyone knows how important the natural world in the county is for keeping spirits up, it’s the Somerset Wildlife Trust. They’ve just launched a twitter campaign encouraging you to share the wildlife you see from your window and/or what you’re up to outside. To join in, all you have to do is tweet with the tag #wildlifewindow and see what other people have been posting as well.
I loved Shelia Jefferies post yesterday about her bee friendly garden...
... and my own moment of the day had to be seeing two swans flying overhead when I was outside – I just wasn’t quick enough with my camera!
And talking of windows, we love this one in Glastonbury.
This is the Heart of the Tribe gallery, due to be opening in April, but they’ve had to postpone because of recent events. We’re gutted for them, but all is not lost because as they say:
“We’ve stuck a gigantic smiley face in our shop window in the meantime. Hopefully it will give people a reason to smile in these unsettling times”.
Well it made us smile guys, so thank you.
And if you want to keep up with Heart of the Tribe, you can follow them right here.
There’s nothing like settling down with a good book if you ask me. The real and imaginary worlds within the pages give our minds a chance to escape... and the bookshops of Somerset are doing us proud. Hunting Raven Books in Frome started their delivery service for people in isolation yesterday and they’ve also just been named the best indie bookshop in the South West, by the British Book Awards. Awesome result.
The fantastic Snug Bookshop in Bridgwater is channelling their Albus Dumbledore, with this in the window...
... and they're delivering Mother’s Day books in the Bridgwater area, at no extra charge (plus wrapping them for free too).
Take it away...
We have so many awesome, small businesses, cafes and pubs in Somerset and the good news is that many are adapting, to make sure you can take away or get food delivered, by them, in your local area. Supporting these guys has also never mattered more.
Just a few of the ones that’ve caught my eye are... The Drawing Room in Butleigh (offering CAKEAWAY, quiche, salads, soups, scones, sandwiches and fresh coffee, with local pick up or delivery), Chefs Country Cuisine out of Clavelshay Barn, bringing delicious meals direct to your door, The Beach Hotel in Minehead (with their 'Keep Safe and Dine' order and collect service), Pip's Railway Carriage Cafe in Lopen (with their takeaway lunches and coffees) and f.east in Illminster (with their fab Vegetarian and Vegan takeaway daily menus).
A special shout out for the guys at Barista Barber in Clevedon too. They're doing cake and coffee takeouts whilst they can still get eggs and flour, but they've also committed to ordering at least one meal a week from one of Clevedon's great local restaurants, gearing up for takeouts. They say:
"If we can't go there, we can have their lovely food at home. Maybe takeout beer from The Fallen Tree too. Staying in is the new going out".
Getting the message out and about
On twitter today, we noticed that Carly Press Printers have printed a batch of self isolation stickers for people’s doors. They’re giving them to anyone who needs one, if you can collect from their safe collection point in Wellington. They've also said if you can’t get out and are vulnerable, let them know.
Nice one Carly Press.
A helping hand
It's uplifting to see communities coming together and people helping locally, whether it's checking in on a neighbour, offering to walk the dog, or whatever bit of comfort we can provide.
Wellington-based Dementia charity Reminiscence Learning knows all about supporting people in times of need, and they've needed to look at new ways to do just that given the current situation. They'll be visiting vulnerable people with no COVID-19 symptoms who are self-isolating... and their two-hour visits will bring activity boxes to your home, as well as cooked meals/homemade cake at no extra cost. They're also setting up a Facebook group for carers, so they can talk amongst themselves to combat loneliness, or ask Reminiscence for help and support.
Whilst we're talking charity, we wanted to give a huge shout out to Children’s World today. The charity, who create activities to support and include children from all backgrounds and abilities, gets the majority of its funding by helping behind the scenes at the Glastonbury Festival, so the cancellation is a huge blow for them. Watch this space to hear about how we can all help them continue to deliver their awesome support for the children who need them.
A safe space
My friend, Sally Whelan, is a figurative painter and creative force. I met her when she lived and created her art in Frome a little while back, and although she’s not in Somerset now, I wanted to include something she’s doing because it warmed my heart and might inspire others. She lives in Islington in London as part of a house share, and they usually rent out their spare rooms on Airbnb. In these unsettling times, they’ve decided to offer their rooms (for a small donation) to anyone, specifically women, who feel vulnerable or under threat in the place they currently live. You can watch Sally’s message about this on her Instagram feed here.
On the radio
And finally for this round up, it's back to Somerset to tell you about a few changes to our March 29th radio show. As we can no longer head to the studio, I'll be recording the show at our kitchen table :) and the format will be slightly different.
I won't be going chocolate making with Craft House Chocolate in Somerton for now, (check them out though, as Nettie will deliver to you if you are self isolating locally, and I'll be blogging about her gorgeous chocolate next week instead), but I will be having a 'Good stuff' segment on the show.
So, if you'd like a shout out, or to let me know what you're doing during these times, or to offer help or anything else, get in touch and I will share it on the show.
You can DM me on Twitter or Instagram (@somersetcool) or you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'll have all the usual great songs on the programme and a look back over some of the fun we've had over the past year or so, so there'll be things to make you smile. Tune in Sunday 29th March from 12 noon on frome.fm and it'll be available to listen to on demand too.
Plus, if you want some fresh air every day, have a garden (however small or big) and want something to get involved with, join me on my Gardening challenge. All you need to do is 20 minutes (or more if you fancy it) of gardening a day in your own garden, and if you’d like to take up the challenge along with me, send me your pics or tag me on social media and I’ll share some of them every day - and give shout outs on the radio show.
Anyway, that’s the first round up of The Good Stuff, but please do keep sharing or tagging Somerset cool into anything you’re doing, or loving, during these unprecedented times. Round two will be coming soon.
Take good care and keep safe x