Moving house is always given as an example of a stressful experience, and so it is, but the aftermath should never be underestimated. Especially when, like me, you’ve moved from London, where I’d had a home for 20 years, to the “countryside”. Sort of the countryside, it’s a village and the Birmingham sprawl is not too far away, but it’s a huge change in facilities and utilities available.
It’s a place where I know no-one nearby, except family members. But they’ve never lived elsewhere and have a network of connections and a pattern of life that has not had me in it. Now, I’ve never had the largest group of social connections, but they were there, now I’m starting from scratch again.
This is where Facebook is invaluable. The local groups are where most activities are posted or mentioned and where there are enough locals to answer questions. The other platforms don’t have that functionality (Nextdoor may work, but not tried that yet). All the various locations do tend to have events listed on webpages, if they have them, but they promote via Facebook.
So, what have I done so far:
- Done some local volunteering and actively looking for extra. There’s actually a volunteer group, but their task seems to be about providing transport and visitors for seniors etc. That is not me, I know that. I joined in the group that was clearing shrubs and trees that were blocking the view from the church down to the hill. I’m going to see what the Canal Trust has to offer on their open day later this month. And I’m taking a look at local National Trust options. All of these have an outdoor/active component which is far more for me.
- Joined the local book club. The village has 3 book clubs, but only one in the evenings. It’s a group of women (why are they predominately women?) and based at the library. The books are provided by the county library service, so we have no choices in the matter, but it’s a good chance to meet people
- Joined a photography course. Again at the library, which is community run and seems to be a good hub for activity. This does not start until the end of the month.
- Joined a group to “learn to sing the Hallelujah chorus in 2 hours”. At the local church, another hub for community activities, the session had about 60 people turn up. A lot of fun, even with my lack of singing experience. There’s a follow up planned, to sing at the Easter Service (I’m not here) but I may go along to the choir practices to carry on with some singing. There is an interesting mental conflict here, as I am not a religious person, but I recognise that a a well-run local church will make time and effort for wider community activities
- I got an invite to join a quiz team for an evening at the chorus attempt, so I’m off to see what that is all about.
So far there are 3 main hubs of activity – the church, the library and the U3A organisation. The latter I’m not really qualified to join, but I’m going to keep an eye on what they are doing. I’m going to carry on trying out new things all year to see what is available and what can be done