Yesterday was the yearly Big Lunch event in the UK, and all around the country neighbours were invited out of their gardens and sitting rooms and asked to bring some food and drink to share with the rest of their street.
We’d never been to one before- we were too new to know about it last year and Maiden-Snoot never bothered going in for anything like it (miserable sods), so when we heard about it via one of the Mums from school (who is literally like Superwoman, she organises three children, a house, a hubbie, a part time job and the local Play Street every month, not to mention the PTA at school- she makes me tired listing all that), we had to join in.
One massive thing we missed from moving from Kent to Berkshire nearly 8 years ago now was the loss of a sense of community, of neighbours chatting over more than just parking issues or annoying tenants in the Craplords other properties.
We missed our days of bringing a sofa out to the street to copy a KFC Salad advert and having all the neighbours come and sit and listen to music of a summer. Even more we missed Halloween and New Years Eve when a neighbour would always throw a party. Or Footie when we’d, as a street, unofficially and with no permission whatsoever take over the road with a barbecue and a big old style CRT TV and all watch together.
I hoped for the same here (but with more council clearance as the road it was held on is rather more busy than our old much missed Kent street) and I wasn’t disappointed.
It wasn’t just our little road invited, it was the big street at the bottom and all the roads around it who were invited to join in. And join in they did.
Neighbours whom I’ve only ever nodded at, sharing a samosa or a handmade wrap or a potato cake, and having a chat and a giggle.
Every age was catered for, from newborns to elderly ladies, all the kids played football with goals, and skittles. They chalked the road. Much fizzy pop was drunk and I imagine many children went to bed early, completely shattered after 3 hours of running round with friends from their own school and other schools.
We did our bit by providing- what else- the music, setting up both old skool decks (Elder) and a PC (Me) in a driveway complete with a palm tree! We played everything from Frank Sinatra and the Beatles to 80’s ska, house music classics and modern pop for the kids too.
If there was ever a time I’ve sat back and thought, my God I am glad we couldn’t find anywhere in Maidenhead, this was it.
It was old school, old community spirit, all races and ages joining in, swapping plants. The kids were safe, you could relax and meet new folk.
Not everyone joined in of course but no one moaned, we all cleared up at the end and it was mad how one minute there were a hundred people there and tables, football goals and food all over the place, and the next it was all neatly put away.
In this day and age, barely anyone knows further than their next door neighbour, and some are struggling behind closed doors. But just for that afternoon, no one cared who you were or what you did, they just came together and enjoyed themselves.
And what can be better than that?