A Letter From Josh Pickering

Josh is the Community Engagement & Participation Officer at Nottingham Castle Trust, and he's been helping us to make the Letters of Solidarity project amazing! Here, Josh writes a letter to home:

​Dear Home,

I feel like I can say that now. It usually takes me a lot longer to really think of somewhere as home, and I’d only been with you seven months when it happened, but you’ve been fast-track upgraded.

If I’m totally honest with you, I wasn’t feeling it over winter. Your rendered front and rotten decking left me wondering when (or if) I would ever acquire a taste for you. The kids would fight and test with their respective needs, thrown into chaos by a blending of families not immediately suited to your limited spaces. Purpose-built for this you weren’t, I thought.

And Emma, your mistress of a decade, tried her best to make us welcome. She taught us about your past: your rats and weeds and damp in places. You and her had been through a lot and the bond was strong. I wasn’t sure where I would fit in.

But then it happened. Stay home, save lives said the scruffy toff on telly. So we did. It was scary. How were we going to cope with this enforced lockdown, always in each other’s faces? It took a shift in attitudes I suppose. “This is going to be my lockdown space now, for better or worse, so get on with it” I told myself. I started on your garden. Raised beds, runner beans, strimmer, spade and jet-wash helped me make room for mindfulness.

Working was hard to get used to. I mean, I love my work, but home is for home and work is for… somewhere else. Everything has its place, right? WRONG! As I faced the music it became easier. Your spaces opened up new possibilities and with them, my love for you grew. Yoga in the garden, dancing in the kitchen, lego battles on the rug, tomatoes on the front yard, schooling at the dinner table and meetings in bed, half dressed.

Everything is different now. I feel like I’m part of the furniture ahead of my time. And you’re a part of me. We’ve been through this madness together and you’ve taught me things about myself and life that can’t be forgotten. Emma and I are happy and the kids, despite missing their friends, have got through it all OK, largely thanks to you. That’s the biggest thing of all - this has made me appreciate how lucky we are to have you. Pre-lockdown, like a spoilt middle-class brat, I had groaned like your creaking stairs, but how many people had a garden or spaces like yours to help them through lockdown?

You aren’t huge and you’re definitely not perfect, but you’re ours. I feel like I can say that now.


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