After three months of lockdown during the Covid 19 crisis, Glastonbury Town’s ‘non-essential’ shops were finally able to open their doors again today. I took a walk down the temporarily pedestrianized High Street to get some photos for you. There was a lovely atmosphere and it’s made me feel really excited for Glastonbury’s future.
My experience of lockdown wasn’t too bad at all, I’m really blessed, I even took the opportunity to publish a Normal For Glastonbury eBook, but today I spoke to more people in an hour on the High Street than I have in the last three months, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy human face to face contact. I feel more energized than I have in weeks this evening, like my batteries have been recharged. I can’t wait for the Town to be able to welcome visitors from further afield properly and safely again soon.
The High Street is closed to vehicles from the very top to just before the car park past the Abbey entrance in Magdalene Street. There were stewards manning the road closures, I noticed a few vehicles being allowed in – a builders van, a delivery truck, a taxi, it felt like things were being handled sensibly and people were behaving respectfully. The car parks are free for the duration of the social distancing measures I believe. More details are available on the Town Council website. Social distancing and hygiene measures were in evidence in every shop I went in, but it wasn’t oppressive or uncomfortable, it just felt respectful and kind.
Burns the Bread have been serving from the doorway for the last few weeks. I happen to know this lady doesn’t like her photograph taken, but she said she didn’t mind so much now she has a mask on. Guess there has to be some advantages!
Dilliway & Dilliway have taken the opportunity to spruce up the shop and rearrange it to facilitate social distancing.
Naqshistore‘s customers were very pleased to see them reopen! It smells lovely in this shop, a real feast for the senses
Portal opened their doors a week before lockdown, only to have to close them again, so they were very happy to be able to welcome customers.
Kev Pearson has social distancing sussed, with a redesign that means you can easily see his wonderful gallery of photographs.
The Mocha Berry are offering takeaway for customers to enjoy outside of the cafe. I took the opportunity to ask Ali for a soya latte as I have missed her special smiling face 😂😂😂
Dicketts are ready for customers for gifts, art supplies and stationery. I love their range of rude greetings cards.
Fairyland Aromatics are still keeping Glastonbury Colourful, it was lovely to go into their beautiful shop today.
I’m a keen cyclist and I am loving the explosion of cycling in and around the town. Cyclists are allowed to use the pedestrianized area, I saw a tandem, electric bikes, bikes leaned up against shops, people doing their shopping on their bikes, families on bikes. I had a lovely chat with a Glastonbury local who had just been shopping in Sew Over the Moon, whose electric bicycle I was admiring. There are plans afoot to improve facilities in and around Glastonbury for cyclists, plus a very exciting plan for cycle paths, I’ll put a post together about these when I get more details.
Earthfare have been open throughout lockdown, with limits on numbers of people in the shop and social distancing measures in place. The Shaw Trust charity shop is open (I hear the RSPCA one was too, but I didn’t make it down there). Honestly, I cannot wait to get in there and get some bargains, I didn’t realise I was such an avid consumer until I was denied my regular fix of charity shop browsing.
It looked like there were less sandwich boards than usual, which I’m sure will be a blessing for wheelchair users. I’m interested to see how pedestrianization and social distancing works out for people with mobility issues. I’d been in the process of writing a piece on Accessible Glastonbury before the lockdown and had been disappointed to realise how inaccessible Glastonbury is.
I’m hoping that the temporary measures being bought in to enable social distancing are accompanied by permanent measures that improve access to the Town for all. More news when I get it on this.
The benches haven’t found their way back onto the High Street yet.
New Normal For Glastonbury?
A couple of jokers asked me if I was renaming the blog ‘The New Normal For Glastonbury’. I certainly hope this virus is bought under control soon, I don’t want social distancing to become the ‘new normal’. I’ve missed hugging my friends (though the crisis has provided a useful opportunity to set firm boundaries with some people in town!) I’m missing parties, festivals and buskers – it did occur to me that in any normal situation the town would have marked such an important day with a street fair, music, a procession, a speech by the Mayor and the Town Crier’s shout.
When Will We be Welcoming Visitors?
Things still feel a little strange, the shops may be reopening but there is still a feeling that we don’t know the rules or the risks just yet and some are understandably concerned that an influx of visitors too soon may see a surge in cases locally. We’ve been very fortunate, Mendip, our local authority area, has seen very few cases and apparently there have been no deaths in Glastonbury (although I personally know several people in the town who have been very ill for a very long period with the virus).
I recognized most of the people in the town today, it didn’t appear to me that there were many visitors just yet, though I did chat to a couple of smiley chaps who’d come from Langport (only 13 miles away!) I got the feeling that we are just finding our feet, seeing how the pedestrianization and social distancing measures work, ready to properly start welcoming visitors from further afield once the accommodation providers are able to open up again. Looks like this will be July 4th at the earliest, probably starting with campsites and self contained accommodation, again I’ll do my best to keep you informed.
Not all of the shops are open, I think it will be a gradual process. The Goddess and the Green Man will be re-opening on Friday July 3rd, while the Heart of the Tribe Gallery have pushed their launch forward to later in the Summer.
I enjoyed seeing Mandie today, her great leggings reminded me that there are other clothing options besides pyjamas.
I always get asked what camera I use for the blog: all these shots were taken on a Huawei Mate P20 Pro Phone which I picked up secondhand from a local photographer, I’m absolutely delighted with it.
Enjoy this post?
Then you’ll love my books – ‘Normal For Glastonbury: Life in England’s Most Magical Town’ and my ‘Crap Views of the Tor’ Postcard Book.
For more of ‘this sort of thing’ join the We Are Normal For Glastonbury membership site, for exclusive content, a comprehensive guide to making the most of your visit to the town, a personalized membership certificate, discounts from Glastonbury businesses, a members’ forum and blog page where you can post your own writing and photos. You’ll also be supporting me to carry on writing about and photographing Glatonbury Town and its wonderful creative community. Membership is only £20 a year. Click here to find out more: We Are Normal For Glastonbury.
You can also subscribe to Normal For Glastonbury by email, follow the Normal for Glastonbury