Local: The Communal Living Room

In Response to Weekly Photo Challenge; Local

Someone once said the best part about travelling is the feeling of anonymity. Whether for short or long term stays, at the beginning we are lone – though of course not necessarily lonely – figures. You know nothing and nobody knows you. And there is something about having no associations with anything around you that is delightfully freeing.

So, in turn, what makes us “local” – or “a local” rather. Does it begin when we start associating practical thoughts to particular places? When we know that two streets down we can buy milk until midnight or when we know how to get home with local transport? Or is it something else entirely – a feeling rather than a thought, a moment in which, regardless of where we are, we feel like we belong? Maybe “local” is the antithesis to anonymity – local becomes the place where we know everything and everyone knows us.

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I once read an American traveller describing his impression of the UK and calling pubs here a “communal living room” – and they have been to me the embracing of everything “local” – a place of familiar smells and sounds, where you know what you like on the menu and when you walk in you recognise at least five people there. And for some reason, pubs never seem to change – we can go away, for years even, and when we return that pub will always hold memories and be a timeless little piece of home.

I took this picture in the Pen & Wig in Cardiff, when it typical Welsh fashion we had escaped the pouring rain outside to find refuge in a steaming hot lasagna and a cup of tea.


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Traveller, Writer, Travel Writer in the Making.

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