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An Uplifting Norton Story

Every picture tells a bigger Norton story…

13th April 2020 and I’m back out on the streets of Norton taking pictures of what I see around me during my first ever global pandemic lockdown (you wait ages for one and then three come along).

I’d been out shooting during my permitted exercise walks and I was slowly becoming desensitised to the magnitude of it all, handwritten notices in shop windows all shared to same message (some made more of an effort than others), closed until further notice #staysafe….. The quiet roads and the noisy birdsong were becoming the new Norton normal and I was slowly becoming blind to unique photo opportunities.

I didn’t have a client, I didn’t have a creative plan and I definitely didn’t have a deadline and yet the most devastating thing to happen in my lifetime (this doesn’t include One Direction splitting up), and for the first time in years the creative world was my oyster, but my motivation was up and down more times than the lift operator in Debenhams (ask your mam).

Monday morning, I’ve reached the halfway point of my daily walk and I’ve photographed a ‘grubby facemask and a latex glove’ (great name for a punk band). As I approach Beaconsfield Bank I see a lady in front of me jogging, she’s the only other person out and about. I watched as she lifted her head and motored up the bank with ease. At this point all I see is an interesting composition of a solitary runner.  Later that morning I posted my image on facebook and gave it the title It’s All Uphill.  This title summed up exactly how I was feeling.

Fast forward to me collating the images for my 2021 calendar and I was looking for images that summed up the pandemic, but with a sense of hope.  This image was my choice for June as I was hoping we’d be back to normal by then…

Christine (the runner) has since been in touch with her story…  

and I love it.

Calendar Story

The image of me running uphill tells a couple of stories. The first began more than forty years ago when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I determined not to let it get in my way and generally carried on regardless. About 18 months ago I was given a scanner, attached to my skin to monitor my blood sugar. It helps a lot; checking is easy, and my thumbs are no longer sore from taking blood several times each day and night. The second began two years ago when our neighbour friend knocked on our door to invite my husband to join him running. They got the bug and started to ParkRun. I’d never heard of it but following their encouragement in August 2019 I had my first go. Not actually a run, more of a stagger, but I kept going, every week, keen to get round without stopping to walk. February 2020 came along, and I chatted with someone who ran 5k three times each week. I decided to increase my attempts and added a couple of runs each week to my Saturday ParkRun. Lockdown happened and I was suddenly working from home. Less travel time, so I started going out every morning to run 5k. Every day. Without fail. Through lockdown. Rain or shine. I found things in the community that I never knew. I met people I’d never met. Many say good morning, often they also say well done and encourage me to keep going. I feel closer to my neighbourhood than ever before. And Gary took my photo. I didn’t know he’d taken it, so it was a lovely surprise.

The Norton calendar image of June 2021, quite literally, confirms how far I’ve come, physically and emotionally. You can see my scanner on my arm. It tells a big story. And it’s part of a much bigger one…

be running up that road, be running up that hill

Kate Bush

4 comments

  1. The photos you take around Norton especially, always give me a heart felt feeling of warmth. I have worked away most of my life, and seeing those photos always made me feel closer to home.
    Great photos

    S flanagan

    • I’m really pleased you like them Stuart. Being locked down has given me time to appreciate my own surroundings more…Gary

      • I moved to Norton in 1971 When my husband come out of the RAF after a few years my Aunt and Uncle came to visit my Aunt and I went to visit the village and she said to me “What a beautiful village “ and I looked at the village with new eyes and thought wow it is beautiful it’s amazing how we take things for granted I was so proud of the village after that 👍

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