We spent the afternoon today helping with maintenance work on our local community woodland. The weather was far warmer than anyone could have anticipated and the gazebo which had been arranged to provide shelter from autumn downpours instead gave volunteers a welcome break from the sunshine. Alongside the strimming, weeding and pruning there were impromptu games of cricket, tractor rides and homemade cakes.
We laboured away alongside people of different ages and different occupations all working happily together on a project that is important to the people here. New faces passed through the woodland as we worked and many stopped to chat and share a slice of cake. People were as keen to welcome new neighbours and build friendships as much as they were to reward hard work.
Theo mingled with the older kids and cast admiring glances at the vintage tractor whilst Jim and I helped with the work party and I thought about all the jobs in our own garden that always seem to get forgotten. It was a lovely way to pass the afternoon and it felt like an appropriate way to welcome the new season. I walk through this area most days but rarely notice the changes, today they were everywhere. Berries on bushes, leaves changing colour.
As a family we are still relatively new to this place and I find myself using words like "remarkable" and "exceptional" to describe the people here, there seems to be cohesion and a common sense of purpose to the community. We are lucky I think.