It looks like we are heading slowly towards this ‘new normal’ and an ease of Lockdown. But what will that mean for Shepton, and other small market towns?
We’ve had no choice but to get the bulk of our shopping online, and from large supermarkets which remained open. Will our already vulnerable high streets and independent shops survive?
As a family, we have managed to support a few local businesses by getting the odd take-away here and there from places like Sunrise Chinese take-away, Mughal Empire Indian restaurant, Rosemary Greek restaurant, and some cakes, coffees and essentials from Denelas Bakery, Sweet 11, My Coffee Stop, The Fairy Godmother Shop, Dredge & Male and Collet Park Cafe. But with barely any income , and two kids eating me out of house and home, I admit to having relied on Salvation Army food handouts, and mainly stocking up on Aldi’s basics to survive. I’m not sure that’s going to change anytime soon, even when ‘non essential’ shops reopen. People have got used to making their food go further, not wasting anything, repairing old clothes and a sort of ‘make-do and mend’ mentality. This is great for the environment, but not for the high street. How can we balance supporting local businesses, saving the environment, and saving money? It’s something we’ll all have to think about. I don't want to see any more small businesses close down, but I also have less money to spend on them. We got chickens at the start of the ‘crisis’. I’m so glad we did, the lovely girls ‘Buttercup’, ‘Henrietta’, ‘Galaxy’ and ‘Cinnamon’ give us 4 eggs a day. We’ve been growing lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, courgettes and potatoes, and composting our food waste. I’m kind of uneasy about things going back to ‘how they were', infact I’m not sure they should. My eldest will go back to school on June 1st, but maybe just in the mornings, and probably just 4 days a week - as someone with autism, this might suit him much better than a full on 4 day week. SAT’s were cancelled, and I feel like he dodged a bullet! People can work from home, no more stupid long stuffy horrible commutes on overcrowded public transport or in gas guzzling cars, isnt this better? What Do we think about a 4 day working week? How about we pay carers, nurses, teachers, bin men, cashiers and key workers more, and respect them too? Why not take this chance to rethink society, and make it more fair. Lot’s of things have been really difficult and heartbreaking during this pandemic. We’ve experienced a kind of grief, a loss. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, however we do it, as individuals, as families, as communities, let’s do just that- let’s come back stronger and better than before.
I'm a 43 year old, mum of two little boys- currently living in Shepton Mallet in Somerset. I'm the Founder and Creative Director of Radio Shepton, a Stand up and comedian and spoken word performer, and write a regular column for The Wells and Shepton Mallet Journal. Which is the basis for my blog usually. I lived in Swedish Lapland for 7 years until 2014 where my boys were born. My partner and I ran a husky dog sledding business. Before that I was a poet, radio presenter, media lecturer, writer, TV producer, actress and burlesque performer ! I never want my life to be boring :)