This week has been a roller coaster. We’re in. Then we’re out. We’re part of a larger community and then all of a sudden we’re not.
Community. What is it?
Politics aside. This is the week that the cars of Welsh fans continue to be adorned by the red dragon standing proudly fighting the elements. Where the sound of a crowd singing the Welsh anthem made men weep into their pints of real ale and commentators choking on their words.
I decided to go along to the pub to watch the game this week. I was meeting a friend later on but otherwise off I toddled on my own. This is the first point I realise that my village is special. That my village knows what community is. I can walk into a pub on my own and not really think anything of it. I don’t think that happens often, particularly, dare I say it, as a woman. Many women would still find it difficult to walk in on their own into a pub. I’m not entirely sure why that is. We haven’t been used to it perhaps. We’re more used to being in a group. Men are used to going out on their own. Whatever it is, I do feel a little brave for walking in.
The pub has a room at the back where I can hear rumblings already and the large projected TV screen lights up the far corner. Ordering my drink at the bar I sidle into the room. It’s full of men. There isn’t one woman in the room! There’s a few jokes about ‘no swearing gentleman’ as I take a heavy stool and sit next to some of the locals. It’s not long before they’ve accepted me into their gang and we’re suddenly discussing tactics and making predictions .
The atmosphere was tense. I gasp at every near miss and this is making my new friends nervous! One tells me that although he is the biggest and most faithful Welsh fan that exists he whispers he was actually born in England. In 1941 he says the nearest Welsh hospital was full of ‘army people’ so his mum was forced over the border much to his disgruntlement and also to the pleasure of his fellow pensioners who make gentle jibes.
During half time I take a look around this room and all I can describe what I see is a tribe, a village tribe. The elders sitting down at the front, chatting and laughing together. The younger men and some older boys standing up at the back. Laughing now and again at the jokes of their elders and also chatting amongst themselves. More women have now arrived too and everyone grabs a pew and chats to whoever they happen to sit by. There’s such a huge sense of community as generations stand side by side, laughing, joking, enjoying their Welsh team.
That’s how a community should be isn’t it. I fear that is what many places have lost. I fear this is what we’re losing on a world wide scale.
Looking after others.
Camaraderie and respect.
A real sense of belonging.
Security and protection.
A shelter from what can sometimes feel a complex world.
So that’s my blog for this Sunday – a proud one of not only my community (though I do think it is special) but of the many mirrored communities that we have in Wales, one model of life I think we should hold on to, cherish, love and treasure.
There’s nothing quite like belonging.
Happy Sunday x x x