It’s the 1st of May 2020 - Traditionally the first day of Hobby Horse season but the drums have fallen silent, the melodeon is still and the Hoss is sleeping. This centuries old local tradition will not take place this year, which is sad but necessary in these worrying times. As a seaside town Minehead should be in the first throws of the holiday season, but with only essential travel allowed and the population being advised to stay at home - the Avenue and seafront is barren save a few residents out taking they’re daily permitted exercise and on the way to shop for food and supplies.
From a personal perspective the enduring peace and quiet has been quite refreshing although unsustainable from an economic stand point, it has certainly given a chance to reflect on what is important in life and what we really require to be happy. It has allowed time to do some of the jobs that have been put off due to the time constraints of working life. Our garden which we have sadly neglected over the years has never looked so good and has given us a pleasant outside space to spend time in, I have rediscovered the simple pleasure of cooking meals for my family and have relished the spare time to educate myself by undertaking a couple of online courses to learn new skills.
Some of the businesses in town have thrived by finding a new way of servicing their customers needs - with online and telephone ordering, contactless payments and timed deliveries or collections. Others have sadly not done so well and I fear a few will not reopen which in an area of limited employment opportunity is going to strike a hammer blow for the local workforce. All that said I think its important to remain as optimistic as possible for the sake of our general wellbeing.
Quite what the ‘new normal’ will look like when the restrictions are lifted I have no idea but I suspect life may never return to how it was, its something we need to prepare for as we approach the brave new world.