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We hope that you, your loved ones, friends and colleagues are staying safe. 

Much focus has inevitably been on the areas badly affected by the pandemic – personally, socially and in business terms. The long litany needs no more iterations: “human beings cannot bear very much reality” perhaps, as TS Eliot said.

Instead, let’s focus differently. Reverse the flow. However paradoxical it may seem, what are the positives? Who or what might emerge better from these tumultuous times?

Try these:

1. Friendship and closeness will be valued more highly. You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. We haven’t been able to hold, to hug, nor even to say hello in person. After the Great Pause, we’ll be greeting our long-lost friends like, well, long-lost friends.

The Dutch have a new word for it: huidhonger – a longing for human contact while in isolation. Look forward to sating your huidhonger, people!

2. Priorities switch. One lawyer told us that he realised in Lockdown that he never sees his kids, such was his all-consuming worklust. We will really revert to such self-destructive ways, infected by a hyper-competitive strain of late-era capitalism?

That which we assumed to matter so greatly in the accelerative non-thinking Gadarene rush of busy living may well not matter so much now. Many of us have lived our lives so hard in pursuit of a success defined by others, not by us.

3. Venerate the local. We’ve all discovered, perhaps rediscovered, our cities, our locales during these times. There is limitless fascination in the free beauty of city vistas, of parks, of the palimpsest of forgotten layered histories inked with obscure buildings, odd nooks, quirky remnants.

Same place, different view. Those love letters to our city need writing – and we will, when Exeter Living returns.

4. Celebrate the indies. The national (and perhaps more so the international) is distanced, complicated, untrusted; trust has been eroded in institutions secular, religious and commercial.

Our trust is now better granted locally – in people and places we know, we can evaluate directly. And especially in our independents who have often responded with ingenuity, humanity and plain decency.

We’ve sought to celebrate the good the people do by highlighting inspirational work below on this newsletter each week and through #ExeterTogether on social media each day.

5. Quiet is the new loud. “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” said Blaise Pascal, wrongly. A life paused in this imposed monastic solitude has been a time for reflection.

A more thoughtful era may, just may emerge…

Meantime, look out for our first Exeter Living Business Club next week. We seek to give you the best advice and insight – for free.

Good luck to all who are planning to re-open their business in the coming weeks. To help people find our retailers, look out for #OurDoorsAreOpen. Share your stories with us on social media and we will echo-chamber them out across our city.

Look after yourselves; and each other…

Steph, Jane, Greg and Exeter Living team

#ExeterTogether – always...

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#BellyLaughsatHome /


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On Sunday 7 June #BellyLaughsatHome will land on the screens of Devon’s residents, to raise money for Devon Air Ambulance, Daisi and FareShare South West. Established by west country comedian Mark Olver, Belly Laughs helps independent restaurants increase trade through typically quiet months, as well as raise money for charity. Last month the event went online with a Bristol Belly Laughs raising over £35,000. To be part of the event, individuals are encouraged to donate £4. Take a look at its Twitter to see the comedian line-up. 

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balloons /

queen's award for voluntary service

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Local Devon charity, Balloons has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. Balloons provides pre- and post-bereavement support to children and young people when they lose someone they love.

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exe nordic walking /

'poles apart' walking

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Exe Nordic Walking has adapted its business to follow the social distancing rules by offering one-to-one training sessions. Nordic Walking is a whole-body exercise, using specially designed poles with a technique similar to the upper body action of classic skiing and can be enjoyed at low, medium or high intensity. 

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19 june - 3 july /

Hospiscare open garden event

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Hospiscare's Open Gardens event is going virtual, via Facebook, for its 16th year. Hospiscare relies upon the generosity of the local community to provide its services. With its charity shops closed and fundraising events cancelled, its finances are drastically impacted.

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Samaritans has launched Samarathon, a virtual marathon, as an exciting fundraising initiative that encourages supporters to run, jog or walk a marathon distance in their own time over the month of July.

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About Exeter Living

We lift the lid on the latest places to eat and drink, the most desirable properties and the best things to do and see, as well as bringing you all the latest retail trends, adventures in party-going and news from our local business community. And we have our Exeter Living Awards, celebrating the best of the city just like Exeter Living

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