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August 2019

Happy To Chat

We have scaffolding up outside the house at present and it’s rather odd to see knee-down views of workmen passing the bedroom window.  It’s not attractive – the scaffolding, I mean  – I wouldn’t dare criticise the chaps’ legs!   But scaffolding isn’t pretty to look at, unless it’s been specifically designed to be visible like the jolly coloured structures on the Pompidou Centre in Paris. 

Anyway, all this has got me thinking about hidden support (there should be an underwiring joke here, but I can’t think of one, so insert your own).  So many things in our lives depend on hidden support.  The friends who drop by to see you when you feel low, the casseroles and cakes that arrive when life’s got out of hand aren’t listed as emergency services but they rescue us just the same.

We’re lucky to live in a place where people care about their neighbours and where there are such strong networks of friendship holding our communities together.  The everyday friendliness of our neighbourhoods is a great gift and harnessing it in organisations such as LINK is a brilliant idea.  And here’s another one that I saw online –  a photo of a bench bearing the sign  ‘happy to chat’.  The idea being that if you sat on that bench you were inviting conversation as an antidote to loneliness – either your own or whoever might pass by.   Of course some people would find that a nightmare – they’re desperate for a bit of quiet,  and five minute’s peace on a bench where no-one mithers them is their idea of paradise.  Support comes in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes just letting someone enjoy their alone-time is the best support you can give.  Which is not the same as blanking them – a smile and a nod go a long way to making everyone’s day better.   A smile and a nod is like wearing your built-in support system on the outside.*  It’s part of the glue that holds us all together.

Jan Lees

(*insert own joke about being a superhero/wearing your pants on top of your trousers etc etc….)

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