Have a nice day!

It’s June, past the longest day and summer is still not around.  On a rainy day when the village hosts its biennial Open Gardens, we head for London.  These last few years we have missed many of the neighbourhood events — Film Evening; Harvest Breakfast; Music Festival; Summer Fair….  Often we have been away.  Mostly perhaps our hearts are no longer there, since the friends we made when we first arrived have all moved away. Newcomers on our doorstep are second-homers and like to keep themselves to themselves.   Friendly chats across the fence seem a distant memory.

London has escaped the rain on this windy June day, with a high of 16C.  In our summer jackets undeterred by our shivers we stroll along the embankment after visiting Henry Moore and Turner at the Tate Britain.  Approaching Parliament and Big Ben we can see the tourists, millions of them from all four corners of the world.  We push our way through the throng, trying to avoid the cameras.   The London Eye has a long queue.   The South Bank is jam-packed.  Fellow travellers’ fleeting joy and enthusiasm are in the air, cheering up the day. 

Here at the Southbank Centre this summer they are hosting a Festival of Neighbourhood, exploring ways to make the city friendlier.  Along the railings yellow banners of greetings are put up, reminding us what it means to live side by side in a community, particularly with people that differ from ourselves.  They are hoping to create a much stronger sense of belonging, and be able to show that we care.  We do not just talk about the weather.

Hello!

Fancy seeing you.

Car’s died again.

Got to dash.

Going to the allotment.

New around here?

Done the recycling?

How old are your two?

I live at number 23.

Up the street.

Round the corner.

Pop over sometime.

I’ll give you a bell.

Can’t wait.

Here comes trouble.

Heard the news?

Alright?

Forgot my key.

Can I ask a favour?

I like that.

Dinner’s ready.

Smells good.

Good book?

Been on holiday.

Gone to the sand castle.

Nice tan.

Caught the sun.

Long time no see.

How’s the family?

How are your artichokes?

Send my love.

Nice to see you.

Have a nice day!

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