The Big Society
I have, as you may have spotted, already started a Christmas break from blogging. I've been tempted back, though, by two things.
First - because I've no idea who the vast majority of you are, little idea really what life is like and what your Christmas is going to bring but I can, at least, rely on the blog to tell you that I genuinely hope it'll be a good one, a happy one. Thank you for dropping in all year long.
Secondly - because of something a neighbour said.
At 8.30am yesterday morning this is what our street looked like.
A note had come through the letter box from the man up the road suggesting we all turn up first thing, shovel in hand, to turn a treacherous road into a safer one.
Out came the neighbours - the tough guys out front, cutting through the ice, heads down, looking terrifyingly purposeful. They were followed by the second tranche of helpers shoving the ice to one side, while others brought up the rear, brushing and coaxing the tarmac back into view. The builder from up top finished things off with two trails of grit.
"Do you think this is it then, the Big Society?" asked my neighbour - and friend - from across the road. What did everyone think?
Some thought it might well be but just hadn't thought of it like that.
Some thought a bit before deciding they've no idea what the Big Society is all about, so can't tell, frankly, whether a bit of neighbourly nous counts.
Others looked horrified, in a way that suggested if the words Big' and 'Society' had appeared on the note that came through their door, they would have stayed in bed.
Either way: by lunchtime this is what our street looked like.