The joy of Spring in Petersham
The immediate seasonal context of our planning for the future could not be more hopeful and inspiring.
In the midst of constant doomsaying on the news, besieged by terrible and moving suffering of real people and real families, turned into abstract, yet chilling, statistics, it remains, here in this beautiful part of London and in Spring, difficult not to be uplifted too.
The power and exuberance of Spring and new growth never ceases to amaze.
As ever before in history, before it was thought, complacently, we had controlled and channelled nature to our wishes, the heightened sense of imminent danger renews the relationship between our senses and the simplest, most natural things around us that are so very wondrous.
Spring here is a constant source of optimism and pleasure, rain, or shine, blue, or grey skies. Thank goodness we are planning now and not in the dark and miserable months of the year.
Inspiration is unstintingly and always to hand. Even something simple like the continuity represented by the annual return of the cows to the Petersham Water Meadows offers reassurance.
The current difficulties simply reinforce the importance and relevance of the inspiration we draw from this sense of place we have here in such abundance, both generally and, now, in looking to the future.
What we are doing and what we are thinking about, in the face of this terrible affliction confronting the world
• still unfathomed as to its full potential
• and when the world seems unlikely to return, for ages, if ever, to the old ‘normalities’
• when more and more of us are even asking whether new ‘normalities’ are, in fact, capable of becoming a positive thing in due course – whether the old ones were unsustainable anyway, in so many ways.
Above all, we are optimistic and now planning for the future
We were well set up, before we were forced to close, to respond positively to the demands of a more cautious future, with continuing social distancing for as far into the future as we can see, sensibly.
We are especially well placed to rise to the new demands that living with, or after, the virus will place on places of hospitality and are planning for an optimistic view of the future on this basis, although trying also to divine the challenges and difficulties too.
We offer an unusually spacious environment, within exceptionally spacious and open surroundings, within which to respond to renewed confidence in the importance of conviviality in life – in the ages-old values and benefits of hospitality and the ‘hearth’, of conversation, company, good food and wine in relaxed surroundings, all delivered with respect for nature.
OK, you have probably seen, or heard, us talk about the importance of such things in life before!
This is because we believe in them and hold them dear in all we do. We do not think these core values and valued features of life will change; they are hard-wired into us all. They will become more important in meeting a need within us.
We believe the enormous stresses, national and personal, physical and spiritual, that the virus and lockdown have imposed have served to reinforce and reawaken the sense of the importance of these key values and the comfort they bring, as well as bringing back a sense of caution and fear.
Might one say it has brought us all down to earth when things were in danger of spinning too fast in uncertain, or misguided directions.
Our forebears, even some of us as young children, lived with the daily threat of dangerous/mortal infections and were suitably careful. It was part of life. They got on with it. We may have to learn to do the same again and we are assuming this in our planning.
We and our suppliers are already looking over the current, highly limited horizon, talking and planning to continue delivering to us the same uncompromising quality produce we and our chefs will want to continue to use to create the dishes. It is times like these where we see at first hand the value of long relationships and ones specially chosen for their shared values.
We also plan on the basis that after prolonged lockdown, it’s more important than ever to provide a moment of escape and pleasure.
The enforced time out from business as usual is being used to reflect and plan and we will keep you posted again and seek your thoughts on ours soon.