I spent the parliamentary recess visiting as many individuals and organisations as I could. I met with the founders of innovative companies like Rosemor and Aquobex, whose cleaning and flooding solutions respectively attract custom from around the world. I visited hotels like the Bear and Milton Hill House, hotels being one of the sectors of the economy that has been particularly badly hit by lockdown, with some people being more reluctant to return to their previous way of life. At gyms like tfd Health and Fitness and Fitness Space people are keen to get back their previous way of life – and as a gym-goer myself I understand them! – they just have to book in advance and adhere to a higher standard of hygiene than perhaps they did previously. No bad thing, in my book.
At Farmer Gow’s I saw not just what a great family day out the farm is for young and old, but also met the proprietors of successful businesses that Anne Gow has as tenants on the site, from LissieLou, the cake decoration business, to Bark and Berry Dog Grooming and the Oxford Yurt, a pretty impressive glamping site – I’ve never been glamping myself, but if you like doing so I’d check them out. I was pleased to make my first visit to the Westmill Wind and Solar Farm and delighted they were successful in their bid for Government funding for a new visitors’ centre that will increase the number of visitors 6-fold.
Along the way there were lots of other independent businesses, like Didcot Glass and Glazing, Emma’s Vintage Style, 30 Something and Bob’s Butchers. Charities too, like Children Heard and Seen, which supports the children of prisoners – more on that in a future column. On my Facebook page (davidjohnston4wantage) you’ll see I’ve started ‘three questions’ with the owners of different organisations to spread the word about organisations people might not have heard of.
On my week off, we went to the Lake District, but unfortunately I crocked my knee on a crag and am currently on crutches! It’s my first real experience of having restricted mobility and it does bring home quite how many places are inaccessible for those who need to use crutches or a wheelchair to get around, something I’ve understood only theoretically before. Parliament is probably one of the worst examples, although I’m grateful I’ve temporarily been given an office nearer to the House of Commons to reduce the walking I have to do. As ever, if I can help with anything then do get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
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