March 22 2020

An open letter from The Pig Guide

Over the past week or so (like many of us, I’m seriously losing track of any sense of timeframe), my Twitter feed has morphed from being a (hopefully) useful, informative method of sharing Bath-centric food and drink business-related news stories, gossip and general lighthearted silliness into something else entirely: it’s become a bulletin board for those very same businesses – now struggling to stay afloat in a very different climate altogether – to post their vital updates on, confident in the knowledge that those updates will be shared with Pig Guide followers because, right now, this is the best I can do: I’ve got a resource at my fingertips, so let’s all use it.

On one level, The Pig Guide is a business venture. But it’s a teeny, tiny little business venture, about as far removed from a faceless commercial operation as it gets: Nigel and Jason, the other two members of our tiny team, are my long-term friends, and the editorial/social media stuff is just me, at my kitchen table, doing something that I love to do. Behind that cute little pink, curly-tailed logo, I’m also a freelance writer, writing mainly about food, and theatre, and interesting people who are visiting Bath.

Many Pig Guide ‘people’ – the business owners, chefs, hospitality staff and Twitter followers, from the ones who have been with The Pig Guide from the start (over eight years ago now) to the ones who have only recently got on board – are my personal contacts, my buddies, my mates. I mean it from the bottom of my heart when I say that watching so many of these people – friends who have worked for years and years building up their businesses, and nurturing those businesses, and properly caring for and about the people they employ, and the people who support them – sharing bulletins saying that their businesses are now closed for the foreseeable future affects me deeply, too, on many levels; they’ve all been a big part of my social and working life for more years than I care to consider, and I’m watching much of the work that I do slowly but surely closing down too. But will The Pig Guide close down? Most definitely not.

One of the bittersweet vagaries bought about by the current situation is that now, for many of us, Twitter is the extent of any face-to-face contact we’re going to have for a while to come, The Pig Guide’s social media community has become closer and more relevant than ever before, sharing messages of support and offers of help both on and away from my public timeline (big thanks to everybody, by the way, who responded so generously to my plea for help with my 91-year-old dad’s dwindling supply of Heinz Big Soup) – and none of that is going to stop anytime soon. But there’s more – much more – that The Pig Guide can do. While I’m not exactly sure what that ‘more’ will be yet, I’m looking at ways to expand our contacts, and develop our services… and have a bit of fun (remember that?) too. So…

  • I’d really like to get a full, ‘formal’, regularly-updated site/bulletin/directory together, to focus on news, updates, etc from local food/drink businesses and act as a forum to offer community and B2B support. To move this particular plan forward, I’m contacting a local publisher with a collaboration plan, and several freelance food journalists are already poised to input; watch this space.

  • An online pub quiz, in collaboration with The Grapes, is in the pipeline; I’m wondering if virtual wine tastings, cook-ins, etc, might be a go-er too?

  • The Pig Guide’s Tabletalk section accepts news stories and features from folk who have news to share and/or something to say – so use it! After all, we’ve all got a bit more writing/reading time on our hands at the mo…

  • There must – and will – be other things we can do, together. If you have any ideas, get in touch and run them by me; I’d really love to hear from you – you’ll find my email address at the end of this bulletin.

Anyhoo… what I thought was going to be a short, snappy bulletin has turned into something else entirely. But ain’t the just the modus operandi of the world, right now?But before I finally shut up for a while, I have to reiterate all the stuff we already know for sure:

  • Shop local: support as many local businesses as you can, as often as you can.

  • STOP panic buying, and urge others to do the same.

  • Follow the rules (you know what they are, so far) and keep yourself updated on all the relevant information

  • Look after yourself and others.

  • Be kind. Hang on in there. We’re all in this together.

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Categorised in: Bath, News