AS I write, Parliament has just gone into recess for the summer holidays. It is lovely to return home full-time to Stalybridge for the break, with less yo-yoing up and down the country.
My first few days at home have been frankly gorgeous. The sun has shone. My daughter had her last day in primary school, having approached her early school life with absolute gusto, and my three boys all reached the end of their school or college years on high notes of progress. It’s hard to put into words how grateful I am to all the staff who have kept schools running across the constituency in the most difficult of circumstances this year.
Our first few days of ‘schools out’ fun have been spent enjoying our local area.
A wonderful tour of the new swimming pool and improved facilities at Active Hyde. The first Foodie Friday in Stalybridge, which saw the town brought back to life after the pandemic. A magic Saturday afternoon watching Stalybridge Celtic play Curzon Ashton (sadly not Celtic’s day, but just like England, we’re still proud of our team). A glorious Sunday turn around Stamford Park boating lake, with the kids taking peddling, steering and captaining.
Pings permitting, we can’t wait to nip back to our favourite eateries, like Florence & Amelias in Stalybridge and Gracies in Hyde, and I’ll pop down to new music venue Zeros Bar too. There’s a fun day in Mossley to look forward to in August and a ‘Party in the Park’ in Stalybridge.
It is heart-warming to see our towns and villages beginning to bounce back after some truly tough times.
It’s great to see POP! reopen in Hyde, showcasing new micro-businesses and a refreshed lunch menu. I also recently enjoyed a top-class meal at Vedic in Hyde. This meat-eater was well and truly impressed by their vegetarian and vegan street food, thalis and curries – highly recommended.
And it was smashing to help cut into a gigantic Blue Stilton provided by Mossley’s Pattisons Butchers on a recent visit to Egmont Street Gardens to open their latest community resource, The Veg Plot.
The calibre of local produce here never ceases to impress me. From a farm fresh ploughmans at Lymefield, to Instagram worthy platters at Deli Felice, it is starting to feel like Tameside has thoroughly arrived on the foodie map.
However, all of this of course takes place against the backdrop of very high Covid-19 cases, and I fully understand some people will feel more able to get out and support our local economy than others.
Despite this Government’s cavalier approach to infection rates, and hypocrisy when there has been one rule for them and another for everyone else, I know the vast majority of local people will be approaching the summer of freedom with a sensible degree of caution.
Hands, face, space may no longer be the law, but while the virus continues to spread rapidly, it’s certainly common sense. Please do make sure you get both vaccines – look out for the vaccine van popping to local high streets for all over-18s.
I wish you all a fantastic summer – and a safe one, too.