Valentine’s Day. The date remains the same, but over the years the people we choose to share it with come and go. Don’t get me wrong, I am not about to unleash a bitter tirade of a woman scorned by love. Far from it. This Valentine’s Day, I have decided that I want to give my affection to something a bit more permanent. Something I can invest in and yes, something that won’t reject my love. This year, my village is my valentine. A bit bizarre and unconventional, I know, but I’m not embarrassed to say I love where I live.
Perhaps yet more bizarre and unconventional is the way in which I have decided to express my feelings. Ever heard of yarn bombing? The concept is simple. People with far too much time and creative energy voluntarily knit public spaces. Be it railings, telephone boxes or park benches. You name it, we can knit it. I did a lot of yarn bombing when I lived in Canada but when I moved back I wasn’t sure if sleepy Devon was quite ready for the modern knitting resurgence, bearing in mind that the original craft never really went out of fashion in the region.
Anyway, imagine my glee when I saw this feature on the local BBC news! Turns out even deepest darkest Cornwall is well into yarn bombing. Perhaps I’ve been too harsh on the South West?
So back to the case in hand, what is there to love about my village? South Brent (SB) has a constant energy pulsating throughout the streets. The community surpasses spirit, it has vibrancy and is always growing. Considering the size of the village (so far SB has successfully fought off the engulfing threat of town-scale development) there are numerous active societies and events to get involved with and a fairly self-sufficient village centre with all necessary amenities. Cue the ulterior motive. Ah yes, did I forget to mention that I’m trying to sell my house? Or get signatures for some NIMBY campaign?
I suppose the third bizarre and unconventional aspect to this post is that I’m not trying to sell anything. Just as people like to be loved and recognised, don’t places deserve some recognition too? So often we see people taking things for granted and too often we do not realise what we have until it’s gone. Unfortunately villages like SB are becoming increasingly rare and it dawned on me that if I do think SB is great, why not say it while I still can? Before I leave the village or before the village changes beyond all recognition. It’s not quite Carpe diem, but hopefully when people see the random knitted hearts scattered around the village, they might stop and think and take a closer look at where they are standing. It can’t do any harm to take a step back and just appreciate what is in front of us.
It’s a simple message and one, without sounding too preachy, I think we ought to take to heart. Love where you live.