Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Value of Village Coffee Mornings.

Apart from the months of July and August, when a lot of people are on holiday, our village holds a Coffee Morning at 10am on the first Saturday in each month.  The same group of people do all the hard work each month.   By the time we arrive tables are set nicely, cups and saucers and a plate of biscuits are ready on each table and as ten o'clock comes a thermal jug of coffee comes to each table, plus milk and sugar.   As many refills of coffee as you wish.

Today, the first one of the Autumn, there were fifty people there - a good number for what is quite a small village.   There is always a card stall and a produce stall (a lot of people take items for the produce stall - today there were various cakes, marmalade (home made), and home-made turkey lasagne.   In addition today there was a lady with a slow cooker full of curry, which she was selling in pots.   I must say it smelt very good.

Then there is the raffle.   Lots of folk bring along raffle prizes (bottles of booze, chocolates, biscuits, smellies and the like).   So you can see that quite a lot of money is raised each month.   As far as I know the money raised goes into our church funds (or may be shared with the village hall, I am not sure).

But one thing I am sure about and that is the value of the occasion.
I lived in Wolverhampton in the West Midlands for twenty years, in the top bungalow of a cul-de-sac.   During the whole of that time, apart from the couple next door, with whom we were great friends, and the old man opposite who used to cut through our garden when he walked his dog, thereby cutting off a big piece of pavement and getting more quickly to a grassy area, I did not know a single person on the whole of the road.   I worked, I went out early in my car each morning and returned each evening hell bent on getting a meal ready - no time for anything else.

Here our farm is about a mile out of the village.   If I didn;t go to the Coffee Mornings there are many folk in the village that I would never see or speak to.   As it is I do see them, we chat and the next time I see them in our nearby town we chat again, because I recognise them.   Friend W, who I always go with, lives in the village, walks her dog every morning and collects her daily paper from a box outside the village hall, along with anyone else who takes a paper in the village - so she knows lots of people.   And through her I know them too.   All this is such a valuable asset to communication and I would suggest to you that it is one of the best reasons I can think of for village life.   I am sure that John (Going Gently on my side bar) would endorse that.

15 comments:

Tom Stephenson said...

I mean this in the nicest possible way, but your title must win the 2014 prize for the one most likely to leave the post unread by everyone. It's brilliant - far better than anything about eyeballs on carpets.

Joanne Noragon said...

I hope your coffee morning continues until the end of time.
My little township has fewer than 700 people and used to have such a gathering, until there was a falling out among the organizers. No once wanted to pick up the pieces.

angryparsnip said...

I envy you living in such a wonderful village.

cheers, parsnip

Amy said...

yes I don't know many people in my road either but I do have lots of friends in my town so coffee mornings with them are full of laughter and smiles.

josephinaballerina said...

Hi Pat,
I live in Columbia, Maryland which was the first "planed Community" in America. The vision was one of 9 village centers. Each center would be within one mile walking distance of all houses in the village. I think it worked better in the 1970's when there were fewer people. Now, I would have to cross a six lane highway to get to my village center. (I had the entire front of my car shorn off a few years ago while crossing that road!)

But I do live in a condominium. We own our own apartments, but the land is communal. I can be gregarious when I'm feeling up to it, and I know quite a few of my neighbors. And recently a few of us have showed up at the same church across the way. In the winter, the younger folks clear the snow for the older folks -off their cars and walkways.

I very much like the communal feel as opposed to the houses with no close neighbors. We look out for each other. Dave, who lives across the hall, feeds Josephine if we have to go away. (He tells me Josephine just glares at him.)

However, we don't have neat-o coffee mornings.

Terra said...

Your community coffee gatherings sound precious and like they weave your village together.

Cro Magnon said...

We have two homes in central Brighton; both are in really friendly neighbourhoods where we knew everyone. We haven't lived there for quite a while, so maybe things have changed; but I doubt it.

Hildred said...

Oh, I do agree with you Pat. I have missed the regular gatherings during the summer months and look forward to seeing people again, chatting and catching up on news. making dates for lunch or supper. I think it is especially comforting when you are living alone.

Pondside said...

Your coffee mornings sound like great get-togethers. I don't know of anything like that around here. There's coffee after church most Sundays in most churches, but this is something else altogether.

Gwil W said...

Your regular coffee mornings without the traditional religious overtones sounds just the job.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

They have the same sort of thing in my village. Unfortunately I don't drink coffee!

Heather said...

Those coffee mornings are something special and a lovely way to bring people from outlying areas together as well as raise funds for vital village projects. A sense of community is so important and without that a village is just a group of houses.

Cloudia said...

Once again you speak eloquently for the humanity of country life!




ALOHA from Honolulu
ComfortSpiral
=^..^= . <3

Doc said...

I completely agree with you about the importance of village life. Here in the big city though we have the same thing with our neighborhoods. This last weekend was the Harvest Festival held on the grounds of the local church and sponsored by several committees and clubs. There was live music and food including delicious BBQ corn on the cob. Most of the attendees brought their garden produce that was traded or simply given away free to others. I think it just takes a little effort to make a village no matter the community.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Do agree with you Tom about the boring quality of my title! That eye ball on the carpet was just grotesque and could only happen to John.
Thanks to you all for coming.