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After some thought

By Leigh Sinclair

Sat in front of the laptop, red wine... Bordeaux, (nothing fancy) to my left and Spotify plays, Idlewild, Roddy Woomble sings ‘Things Seem different today, not like yesterday’. Lines from 2002 invigorated 18 years later by a sense of poignancy & imbued with nostalgia for a pre-Covid time.  

This week Maryann is taking a well-deserved break from her writing duties, and so the responsibilities have fallen upon me, big shoes (figuratively) to fill I know! 

Like many I find myself searching for the positive a lot recently, things have been tough, for so many, in so many situations throughout this year, and it has often felt as though we are somewhat mired down. Despite these feelings, universally felt, there have also existed alongside, opportunities to find comfort contentment, motivation & inspiration.  

One of the by-products that I have enjoyed the most has been Maryann's food stories, which are so much more than that, What Maryann has presented is a narrative of a life, a life shared, of family, of friends, of occasion, all punctuated with great food, amazing experience and love.  

When Wright’s as we all knew it changed gear adapting to a new social & economic landscape where tectonic plates shifted beneath our feet as we complied with a raft of regulations brought forth by Boris Johnson & in Wales, Mark Drakeford, that have come to define our existence and the rules by which we live & operate, so too our roles at work which after many years had become established also changed.  

During this time we became former restaurant hosts, café managers, restaurant owner and moved over to grocers, bloggers and government lobbyists! Simon put out a call & formed an alliance of Welsh restaurants & cafes, over 300 answered & now an industry has a voice! what a legacy for all those now involved.  

This was an incredible thing to bear witness too, so many pulling together in attempt to save business, save jobs & save the spaces that are also imbued with the same kinds of memories and recollections reflected in Maryann's food stories.  

My role alongside Maryann, Simon & Ezme was to bed in a click and collect system which become the rudder of the operation, allowing us steer through lockdown & continues to be very much an essential side of the business.  

Whilst losing roles & responsibilities Simon also promoted me to ‘Artist in Residence’ asking me to supply a drawing a week to the newsletter, my focus was so elsewhere  that I didn’t see the gesture or the opportunity at the time.  

Illustrating Maryann's stories, recipes, vegetables from Blaencamel has become an incredible gift that over the past months has brought me so much pleasure, as boats need anchors, the process of illustrating the newsletter has become mine.  

Despite the fallout and the further fallout to come, I can't help but see the opportunities for positive change even through my covid cataract vision, I have seen to many good things happen, so much resilience, so much kindness given, so much love experienced that I can't be anything less than optimistic for the future.  

The wine glass is almost empty, Father John Misty has just sung ‘And now the future’s definition is so much higher than it was last year’ & I feel it is an appropriate time to put the laptop away and pick up the paintbrush before I get even more sentimental.  

Its going to be a while before visiting our favourite restaurant café or bar will be a casual thing to enjoy, when this does happen, one thing is for certain I will not be taking those experiences for granted ever again, for me that is an incredibly valuable take home from this whole experience.