John Dales, our former Trustee, Director of Urban Movement and the inspiration behind our #walkingfromhome series, has been noticing some new and interesting things in his local community.
Here he tells us what he's seen and encourages us all to make the most of our local area whilst doing our daily exercise.
I started working from home on Tuesday 17 March, and on the following Friday I started posting photos on Twitter using the hashtag #WalkingFromHome. I did so because, on my daily walks to exercise my body and refresh my spirit, I find so much that pleases, stimulates and intrigues.
It’s more than possible that after (check notes) five weeks many of us have become somewhat disenchanted with covering the same ground over and over. But if you head out with open eyes and an inquisitive mind, there’s interest to be found in things you never previously gave a passing thought to; and my purpose in writing this is simply to encourage you to keep walking; to keep looking (both up and down); to turn down streets and paths you’ve never trod; and to go through gates you’ve only ever passed by. Because the ordinary can still be uplifting; and the unexpected truly inspiring.
In the hope of doing some inspiring of my own, I’ve put together the accompanying collages of photos from my #WalkingFromHome outings.
An added bonus of good weather has been the fabulous combination of azure skies with trees and shrubs just coming into leaf (1); while I’ve also found myself increasingly aware and appreciative of the variety and combination of natural colours to be found in many gardens, streets and parks (2).
(If, like me, you’re rubbish at plant identification, an app like Picture This can help you put names to things.)
Also full of trees, our local cemeteries (3) are wonderfully restorative places to spend a few minutes; and the sense of peace that seems to pervade them (especially with less aircraft noise overhead) is a true joy.
That said, I also find real joy in the land of the living, and it’s been great ‘bumping into’ friends (4), as far as current restrictions permit, and to take time to watch for other members of the animal kingdom (5).
My favourite sighting to date was a pair of buzzards, a bird I’ve never seen so close to home before. Maybe they enjoy less noise and cleaner air, too.
Other things to enjoy include buildings, and we happen to have a bunch of art deco beauties nearby (6); while sometimes I’m led to do a bit of historical research (7) as I try to work out when some things were built relative to others.
Or perhaps you could search online to see if you have any film or TV locations in the vicinity. I discovered that the Monty Python team visited several streets near me, and so I’ve been out to see what those locations look like 50 years on (8).
Finally, I’m sure we’ve all noticed homes and businesses putting up messages to encourage and entertain. I’ve especially enjoyed the content of a few pub notice boards (9)...
...while every walk is a chance to add to my gallery of glorious rainbows (10).
I don’t know what you’ll see while #WalkingFromHome, but I do know that you’ll see more if you look more. And you can let us all in on what you find by taking photos and posting them on social media. Using the hashtag, naturally.
Mind how you go.
BMX world champion, Shanaze Reade tells us the variety of ways she's been #walkingfromhome.
Dame Sarah Storey tells us what opportunities the lockdown has created for her family.