Life in ‘Lockdown’.

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The notion that we have all been ‘in it together’ during lockdown is a myth. Many of us will have been lucky enough to have a garden we have been able to spend time in or a nearby park or other greenspace or even a beach to venture along. But many families have been confined to their homes, shielding family members, self isolating or stuck because they have no easy access to outside space. At COOPT we all know the benefits of being able to access the outdoors for physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being. Many of us, whilst understanding the need to only venture out once a day and from home for our daily exercise will be desperate to be able to roam farther afield, to familiar landscapes and pathways that sooth our souls and heal our minds. These days are closer now but still out of reach and for those who are restricted in their access to greenspace, a return to normality, even a new normality must seem a long way off.

No doubt many of us will have been reflecting on our need to be outside, connecting with nature and nurturing ourselves. I was recently given a copy of a book on watercolour painting by Ann Blockley, a renowned watercolour and mixed-media artist with an impressionistic style which is “evocative, atmospheric and intuitive.” Ann has a passion for nature which shines through in her work which I have found inspirational.

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Painting by Ann Blockley

In her book, she asks the novice artist to reflect on what it is about nature that they are drawn to, what is it that catches their eye? As a novice my self, I found these really helpful questions, not just so I can develop a focus for my art, but also in more general terms. What is it when I am out and about that causes me to stop and look, to breath in the beauty of the moment and to try to hold the picture in my minds eye? For the moment I have settled on colours and textures, the contrasts that exist to differentiate and define. But this was the easier part, painting what I see and feel is the tricky bit! You can see more of Ann’s work at https:/

An opportunity to do some artwork of your own will be available at our October Campover Conference which we are still planning to go ahead with. I will be contacting you all again towards the end of the month with booking and payment details and I’m pleased to say that there has been good interest so far. Times are still very uncertain, but we want and need to have something to look forward to. We are realistic ‘tho and aware that as yet, no-one can say when we will be free to roam further afield but we are also hopeful that we will be able to meet together around the campfire and share our experiences of ‘lockdown’ and consider life thereafter.

So take good care of yourselves, your families and friends, follow the guidance given and I will look forward to seeing you in October. Fingers crossed!

Ali Chown May 2020

These strange times

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When this website was launched, little did we know that within a few short weeks, the world would be a changed place. Perhaps the Earth has finally despaired of our lack of regard for her and our depletion of her resources, and is telling us to stop and take stock of what the really important aspects of life are ; health, human contact, friends and family, sufficient food for all and freedom to roam where we will with respect for nature.

The weeks and months ahead will throw up new challenges for all, not least for those of you who are working with very vulnerable clients and their families. Our professional associations are giving advice for best practice if you feel you need to continue seeing clients and we urge you to take note of this. Collectively, our decisions must be made with due regard to government and World Health Organisation advice and in the best interest of clients, ourselves and the wider community.

More than ever we need outdoor spaces to breathe fresh air, to lift our faces to the sun and feel the wind in our hair; to hear the breeze in the trees, the waves on the shore and the birds welcoming the change of the season. Although we may find ourselves deprived of our favourite places and spaces in the weeks to come they will still be there to nurture and sustain us when this is all over and we will appreciate them all the more for not having been able to access them freely.

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We will all meet the challenges to come and when the world has returned to some sort of relative order, we can gather around the campfire again to reflect on what has passed and what we need to learn from it. For now, hold each other in mind, use your wisdom and experience to decide a path forward, bearing in mind what has been said above, stay in touch with those in your life who can support you and who need your support but above all keep yourselves safe.

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