There is a reason for the image above. Hands up who's moved to a different country, state, city, neighborhood or street? What is the scariest/most exciting part of it? Apart from the reason you moved there in the first place, it's probably that you won't know anyone. You won't know your neighbour, your corner shop, your butcher, well - your anything. When I was a child in the 70's, you knew everyone. All the children in the street played together. Our parents did talk over the fence. Rhubarb was swapped for runner beans. People had parties and the neighbours brought a 'plate'.
Now, it's become a little more difficult. However, becoming part of your neighbourhood can and will make the most enormous difference to your life. The simple pleasure of a two minute chat when you buy your milk, or send a parcel makes the day, well just a little better. I was determined to not just exist in London, but to make my corner - well - my corner. I'm thrilled that the below is now part of my daily routine.
A super cafe, where they make great coffee. Jason - one of the owners and I chat relentlessly about his desire to get another Australian Terrier - he's obsessed with mine. The chef and I chat about why we both enjoy living in London - I'm bringing him some burger rings back from NZ. They showed me the plans for their next cafe round the corner.
My local corner shop
She held Inside Out for me because it was the last one! I didn't even ask her to.
Bungle and his Dad
Bungle is a very very old mastiff. He's lumpy and is lost a lot of his fur, but he's still happy. His dad loves him dearly and when a woman commented yesterday how disgusting Bungle looked (true!) I couldn't help but let her have a verbal lashing. Bungles dad patted me on the arm, smiled and took Bungle home.
Our local. It comes with locals - John, the most erudite painter & decorator I've met. Jo, the manager. A delightful young man who knows how to run a pub. Maria, the lovely Brazilian barmaid and Mark - a super young guy who's trying to write a book. Ed's been out with him a few times to give him a bit of coaching. And then Di and Ivan - who have become our dear friends. Oh - and the food is fantastic. All this from going in for a drink one summers evening.
The lovely checkout lady who always asks how the family is and then whips out the latest pictures of her grandchild. She try's to get me on her checkout when she's working. Speed, but no haste.
There is many many more but this morning something happened that made me think really hard about how important it is to create a community for yourself. You don't have to join a group, take up yoga etc. You just have to engage with people.
Every morning as we walk down Northcote Road, Lily gets biscuits from Bob the florist, and his lovely ladies. They love her and she of course loves the treats. We always have a chat. But today, they gave me a bunch of Lily of the Valley. Just because, well, just because.
So wherever you live, talk to someone new today. Respect and engage with those that sell you things, talk to people with dogs, help someone with their pushchair. Simple things that reap a massive reward.
I've just dropped a card outside a new neighbours door. We met on the common last week and she's just moved here from Sydney. She doesn't know anyone. She seemed lovely, so this could be the start of something great.
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