Discovering Swindon

12th July 2017

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With the Switch on to Swindon initiative in mind I’ve been asking friends and clients of AA Editorial Services to write guest blogs for me sharing their Swindon stories. This time we have Sandra Trusty who is owner of the Fab Gift Boutique, an event/wedding venue stylist and personalised gift shop.

I think it’s fair to say that some people pitch up in Swindon because it turns out to be the only place for miles around where they can afford to buy. This, I think, was the case for Sandra. But don’t quote me on that!

As she describes, she came up against the prejudices about Swindon with which we’re so familiar. But! Sandra has been out and about getting to know Swindon.

She’s discovered Nordic walking on The Lawns – who knew?! Sandra is also a big fan of Fenella Elms’ flow pot. I can’t lie – it gives me the eebie geebies. *Shudders*  Though I can appreciate its technical brilliance.  You can see the flow pot below in the rather fab image she did for the recent Civic Day ‘I care about where I live campaign’ run by Swindon Civic Voice.

I’m rather fond of that Swindon Jubilee clock too I have to say.

Sandra Trusty and images of Swindon

Thanks Sandra for your delightful account of discovering Swindon. It’s just the sort of thing we Born again Swindonians love to hear!

See also:

Carol Aplin, Pink&Green Skincare: Nature on my doorstep – Swindon’s abundance of nature

Jo Rigden,  4Points Leisure: http://swindonian.me/2017/06/29/dragon-boat-racing/ – the charity dragon boat racing event on Coate Water

Tim Perkins, Wild Goose Gear: http://swindonian.me/2017/05/29/kings-farm-wood-walk/ – a walk near Wroughton

Discovering Swindon

‘We moved to Swindon back in 2014.  We had lots of comments about why were moving here, there is nothing in Swindon except the Swindon Outlet Centre, so what were we going to do with ourselves. How wrong were these detractors!

We settled in and went through the painful renovation process. Oh the dust and dirt and many many trips to the local DIY shops.  One consequence of being a frequent visitor to any establishment is that they get to know you.  Because of this we were able to get help with a multitude of issues we faced in our new job as “excited fixer-uppers” Thankfully it’s over now and we can now get time to explore Swindon and its localities.

I love Yoga and have found a fab class located in the Dojo Café.  The class is run by Eunice, a really caring teacher who can make my joints and limbs think  and do wonderful things

At the launch of one of the Swindon Open Studios  I discovered the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery and was transfixed when I saw the display cabinet containing a piece by Fenella Elms.  I could stand and stare at her flow pot for hours, following the ebb and flow of the lines and images and forms the pot creates. My imagination runs riot as I stand and explore the forms of this pot.  It’s totally beautiful and I’m so glad the Swindon museum and art gallery  has acquired it. Pop along to the museum and have a look. See if it floats your boat.

http://www.contemporaryartsociety.org/donated-works/fenella-elms/

I’m amazed that I can just walk into someone’s garden and find street art.  And this is in fact what you can do. In West Swindon, part of the West Swindon Sculpture Trail,  there’s a front garden with a stone carving of ‘Hey Diddle Diddle” on show. You can drive or walk past and admire it.  I’m told you can go right into the garden to get a closer look.  I haven’t done that yet, but one day!

The countryside in and around Swindon is amazing. I love driving around and not being surrounded by concrete. I drove from Swindon to Pewsey recently and discovered some fabulous countryside out there.  We’ve also discovered the Cotswold water park and took a long leisurely Sunday afternoon walk along the towpath and getting sort of lost. 

There’s some excitement in not knowing where you are going to end up.  Then finding your way and joining the dots to link one place to another and realizing you weren’t lost after all. I hope I never become de-sensitised to the beauty around me.

Talking of the outdoors and countryside, I’ve also discovered that Swindon has a Nordic Walking group that meets on a Saturday morning and also twice in the week. I first heard about this sort of walking exercise about 10 years ago but only just had the opportunity to take it up.  I’ve met some lovely people in the group and discovered The Lawns –  a fabulous green space right in the middle of Swindon. It has hills and valleys and lakes, woodlands and wildlife right here in the middle of town. So I Nordic walk up and down and around on a Saturday morning and then retire with the rest of the group for a very restorative coffee/tea/hot chocolate.  We sit outside a coffee shop at the top of Wood Street in Old Town, enjoying our drinks and spend the next five minutes putting the world to rights.

It’s a great way to start a Saturday and leaves me energised for the rest of the day.  The people I’ve met have been open and welcoming and have amazed and delighted me with their kindness and generosity. From my neighbours who welcomed us to the area to total strangers.  There was the lady who bought a teddy for a little girl in the queue behind her and the young man who gave me his phone charger because he had just bought a new phone – I needed a charger and he had one spare.

 I have lots more to discover about Swindon and am looking forward to it.’

Here’s some super pictures from Sandra of her yoga class and her comrades in the Nordic walking:

The website for Nordic walking UK: https://nordicwalking.co.uk

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