Welcome to February’s edition of The Caterham and District Independent.
I’ll be honest; when I first started writing my letter to you this month, I was finding this current lockdown extremely difficult. Although there’s a welcome glimmer of hope now, with the NHS’s efficient roll-out of the vaccines, there’s still a long road ahead of us before we can hope to get back to any kind of normality as we know it. The gloomy January weather wasn’t helping much, either. I could only see greyness and drizzle outside and I kept reflecting on those beautiful sunny mornings during the first lockdown when starting off with a coffee in my garden after my morning run made the days much easier to cope with.
Recently I glanced out the window and saw clusters of little snowdrops that had suddenly burst into life, their bright white bonnets bobbing about cheerfully in the wind. Their presence motivated me to wander the garden, seeing what else was happening. I noticed the green stems of daffodils, waiting patiently for their yellow heads to bloom, and the beginnings of lots of new buds on the trees and plants, signs that no matter how it may feel at the moment, the world is still turning and spring is on the way! Since then I have made a concerted effort to notice the changes outdoors, however tiny they may be, which has made a great difference to my mood.
The link between nature and mental health has been well-documented since the pandemic began. Seeking out green spaces for moments of tranquility is something we should all be doing and is why The Caterham Independent team are big fans of ‘The Urban Countryman’, who takes thoughtful – and stunning – pictures of our local countryside across the seasons and posts them on his Facebook page. (We’re such big fans that I have a framed photograph of his in my office, and it’s his shots which are the regular banners on the papers Facebook page!). If you’re in need of a little inspiration at the moment, I’d urge you to search for him online.
Last month saw us hold ‘Caterham Lockdown Fest 2.0’ which was our second online event championing fabulous individuals and businesses. With the focus on health and wellbeing, we watched some great children’s entertainment, musical and theatre performances, cooking, gardening, storytelling, fitness, mental health talks and so much more. We even had an exclusive interview with Eighties Presenter David ‘Kid’ Jensen and chatted about his time at Radio 1, Capital Radio and of course Top of The Pops. All the videos from the day are available on The Caterham Independent YouTube channel.
The Fest was sponsored by Shard Solutions and Glebe House Care Home, so my thanks to them, and we are really pleased to be supporting The Westway Centre’s, Pandemic Community Support Fund. If you would like to help them by making a donation please go to the JustGiving website and search ‘Caterham Lockdown Fest’.
Caterham School has recently begun a wonderful initiative called Laptops4Lockdown, collecting unwanted laptops and tablets from the community, cleaning them and redistributing them to pupils at local primary schools. We spoke with headteacher Ceri Jones, Director of Marketing & Communications, Hannah Graydon and local resident Louise Dreja to hear more about it.
I’ll leave you with another favourite quote of mine, that ties in with my thoughts on nature from the beginning of this letter. It’s by Rachel Carson, the American marine biologist, conservationist and author.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
Keep watching for those signs of spring, and I’ll see you next month!