What is it that makes our winter events seem more community focused than our summer ones? In July and August, the banners are flying, everyone is in flippy skirts and pretty sandals, although I think Steve should shave his legs if he’s going to wear skirts that short! and everyone is looking their finest. The sun shines down from a bright blue sky, well, not usually but you get the picture, and the air is warm and beautifully fragranced with summer flowers. Hundreds gather, crowds throng and maybe you pick out a few faces you recognise amongst the visitors but in winter it’s so very different.
Typically it’s dark so we can ignore the looming clouds, it doesn’t matter what we wear because no one can see us, so we are spared Steve’s legs and we are all looking at the same thing – not usually Steve’s legs. In summer our eyes dart everywhere as there is so much to see. In winter we are all looking at the fireworks, or the bonfire, or the torchlight procession. We are all doing the same things standing alongside our neighbours, or our team mates or our friends.
So far this year we have come together to watch a beautiful fireworks display at St Austell Brewery, every year they generously invite all their neighbours and employees to come along and ooh and ahh. The following evening we went to an even more fabulous display and bonfire at the Lankelly Fowey Rugby grounds. Fund raising events like this one mean that we can add more bits of kit and start to save towards proper loos. Definitely something we mothers are looking forward to.
We have watched our children lead the Remembrance Day assembly as they struggle to come to terms with the fact that so many have died over the years only a few years older than themselves. A week later we watch them again raising money for Children in Need as they understand that suffering is not just a thing of the past or something remote. We were all a bit humbled when watching one of the videos, one of the children, let’s call him Jack, turned round and asked his teacher what the name of the boy in the film was. No one could answer, we had all been focusing on the child’s problems whereas Jack had instantly focused on the child himself. From time to time we may get “compassion fatigue” children never do. They cut straight to the heart of it, they don’t care about the politics, the social situations, the blame game. They just see that a child like them, a child who could be their mate, is in trouble.
We have also been wowed by the lantern displays in Truro but thrilled to see just how great St. Austell’s was. This is the rebirth of something very fresh and optimistic and long may it continue. Looking ahead we have the carol services and the Christmas lights to enjoy, when communities again come together in the darkness to celebrate. It always seems a shame that January and February seem to be devoid of these occasions, by then the long months of darkness and rain have begun to take their toll and we need something to keep our flagging spirits going. In the meantime though I’m going to make the most of all the up coming events and make merry with the wassail and the egg nog.