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Pink shoots of recovery

I bought my first forced rhubarb of the year yesterday. For those of you not in the know forced rhubarb is a bit of a Yorkshire thing – it’s either grown in mysterious candle lit sheds, or, on a smaller scale, under a terracotta cloche.

The darkness tricks the plant into working harder to find a source of light – and in the process forces up beautiful, delicate light pink sticks of rhubarb. When I see the first rhubarb of the season, it reminds me that winter will eventually come to an end. It’s important to look for signs of hope at the moment.

I noticed yesterday that the local butcher is expanding into the shop next door. He works so hard at running a good shop, serving his customers well, and I’m really pleased for him. It reminds me that the best businesses, which put their customers first, will survive the economic downturn. You can’t help but feel hope with Obama now in post. Much has been written elsewhere, and there’s been plenty of comment about a slightly subdued inauguration speech.

I too wanted the soundbite. But this was a speech by a man who knows that he won’t do it alone. We can’t abdicate responsibility to one man to sort out the mess we’re in. His message is clear – those of us who have more all have to live differently if we’re going to make the world a better place to live in. That is a massive challenge to us all. Let’s hope he can keep communicating that message – and that we keep listening, and take more action locally.

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