Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s column.
Happy first days of Spring! It certainly does put a bounce in the step as the days start to lengthen, the snowdrops start appearing and the birds start singing again. I think as a gardener this is one of my favourite times of the year. At the Blue House, where I am lucky to look after the grounds, the primula are popping their heads out of the lawn, the crocuses are creeping out and the magnolia buds are starting to burst. Time spent outside and with nature is such a healing balm and is well known to be therapeutic for almost everyone, but in particular those with challenging mental health issues or ailments which affect their mobility.
We are lucky to have a really good amount of lovely open space in town, much of it within walking distance for most people, and even a short burst of fresh air and bird song can make all the difference. If you or someone you know needs a bit of a cheer up, maybe pop to the park or take a wander to Whatcombe fields and feel the sun on your face, getting some much-needed Vitamin D at the same time.
On a similar note, I’m really pleased that People for Packsaddle have managed to get AVC (Asset of Community Value) status for their local fields. The area has been used as a park and play space for around 50 years, and residents and councillors passionately made the case to Mendip Council for maintaining it for future generations. This is just the first step, and there is more to be done, but it is a very significant moment, and the team should be very proud of themselves.
Another one of our green spaces, Weylands, has been the beneficiary of a number of new fruit trees over the last few years, and 25th February will see a traditional Somerset wassail take place around them. This is an ancient ritual which involves blessing the trees for a good harvest in the coming year, and of course having a little drink of apple juice or cider, for which our bountiful county is so well known. Do come along at 2pm if you’d like to join in. Wear some greenery if you like, join in the dancing and singing or just come and enjoy one of the first community events of the year.
All of this aside, we’re certainly not out of the woods yet in terms of battling energy prices and the huge increases in the cost of living. We are here to offer support in whatever way we can so please do contact me or my fellow councillors if there is anything we can help with, and remember how much stronger we are when we are connected and supportive of each other.