Friday, 11 November 2011

Happiness is the Little Big Society

St Wulfrum's Church

I think I've found the happiest place in the world. It isn't a Buddhists inner sanctum of calm nor is it a enchanted woodland populated by unicorns and fairies. It is a quite unremarkable church hall in Grantham. The event was to celebrate Bob Jeffreys’ 50 years of dedicated service to the choir of St Wulfrum's Church and, as a former Choirboy I decided I couldn’t miss it. On the 3 hour drive to the church I stopped in the usual roadside services; Costa Coffee, McDonalds, etc.  I was anonymous but thought nothing of it. It was only when I arrived at the church hall that I realised just how impersonal everyday life had become. Here I was, for all intents and purposes, after a 30 year absence, a total stranger and yet was welcomed as a friend and within minutes chatting with a cup of tea and all the cakes I could eat. The contrast between the impersonal commercially chained world and the friendly community welcoming any passer by was palpable. This is not to say that I'm against the likes of Costa coffee or Big Macs, I’ve had my fair share and no doubt will continue to do so, it's just that we must remind ourselves from time to time that there is a community out there which can give you far more than just calories and refreshment. Happiness and well-being is so intangible it can almost seem unreachable in today's fast-paced modern society but if we stop and look we will find that there are other St Wulfrum's Church Halls across the country which are ready to give not just the tea and cakes but also the all too elusive happiness which, in this day and age is increasingly difficult to find. As this is my Tory Story blog there is a Tory spin I can put on this. This is all to do with the Big Society and I think I’ve discovered that the reason why so many find it difficult to identify what the Big Society actually means. The irony is that it isn't big at all, it's small and difficult to see. It’s these small communities within communities watching out for each other working together to make life a little bit more bearable in these chastened times. By the way I was wrong, St Wulfrum’s church is far from unremarkable. It is the most amazing church you will find anywhere and dominates the Grantham skyline. If you’re ever in Grantham, when you’ve checked out Margaret Thatchers old shop, visit St Wulfrum’s, you won’t be disappointed.

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