Saturday, 30 April 2011

Post wedding thoughts...

Well as we all know William and Kate were married yesterday - and in other news, the residents of our little street got together for a 21st century street party aka a BBQ and we all got along wonderfully.
I was a little worried about how it would turn out as I'd heard there are a couple of feuds simmering between certain people in the street, but any bad feeling was kept under wraps and everybody talked to everybody else.

It made me think about community: the last street party I attended was for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 I think. It was a grand affair, held on a hilly field, with probably hundreds of kids and mothers sitting at long tables. There was a fancy dress competition and my sister went as a caveman with her toy monkey as a prop; my little brother was dressed as Tarzan but refused to utter his rehearsed 'ah e ah e ah' so it kind of fell flat. A little girl dressed as a bride won first prize I recall. It was a sunny but windy day, which was and still is par for the course in the North East in summer.

Back to community. I bet almost everybody at that party in 1977 knew everybody else. The children played together outside (practically unheard of today) as well as going to school together; the mams knew each other from the school run, from shopping, from being neighbours, from chatting in the street. And it wasn't just the residents of one street on the hilly field that day; it was all of our immediate area. Neighbours weren't those people just directly next door, they were people three, four, five, more streets away.

Back to 29 April. Not everybody turned up to our little gathering (for a couple of people it was just too much for whatever reasons) but most of us were there. And we laughed, joked, drank wine, ate food and got to know each other. Some of my neighbours I don't think I'd even seen before - and we've lived here five years - some I'd only just said hello to in passing. It was the same for most of the guests. We all wondered why we hadn't met up before, all said it was a great idea, and all agreed it was something we should do again. Whether or not we do remains to be seen but at least we've established the will is there.

Community may have changed from what it was - our street party was just our street - but it's still there. It has changed as everything else in the world has changed, everything moves on. But whatever form it exists in today, I'm happy and proud to say it still exists.

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