Some of my older readers might remember Max Bygraves using his famous punchline on TV many moons ago.
Now, I’d like to tell you a little story. About forty years ago, when I lived in Bloomsbury, I read somewhere that one should be neighbourly, even if it is just saying “Good Morning” to an elderly neighbour.
There was an old man in our street who lived alone and, whenever I saw him, probably once or twice a week, I would smile and say “Good Morning”.
I carried this on every week and one day I bumped into his daughter who had flown in from America to visit him. She told me that my occasional smile and good mornings had saved his life because he was so despondent that he was going to end it [his life]. That really made me feel very good, out of all my achievements in my life, and I have a few, this was the greatest. What more could any human want.
The Big Society
To some, they are waiting for a big dawning light to light up the sky as people rush around implementing Mr Cameron’s “Big Society”. This is not what it is about. It is no good waiting for others, you have to start doing it all by yourself.
Take note for when you don’t see a neighbour in your street for a while, knock on their door and ask if they are alright. If they are ill, offer to do some shopping for them. Smile at your neighbour and say “Good Morning” but don’t do this in the afternoon!
My wife is a good neighbour, she is also a good citizen. She visits two elderly partially sighted ladies and helps them every other week. She is secretary of two local societies, and she is the Arrow’s events editor and takes minutes at our editorial meetings. She also attends art classes four times a week and goes to a lecture in Hampstead every Monday morning. Yes, she is retired but she is busy. And because she doesn’t spend her life in a pub or in a vegetative state in front of the television, she is always willing to take on extra chores. She is a good example of that phrase “if you want anything done, ask a busy person”. All I do is to edit this newspaper and, quite frankly, she makes me feel a little ashamed. But I am changing that in the new year!
There is a comments section below. If you help your community in any way, write a comment and tell me about it. I would be so happy if I get comments from people in Finchley that are active in helping their neighbours. There must be some of you out there? Tell me about your experiences?