Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Its Like Riding a Bike

Today has been like riding a bike figuratively and in reality.

First thing this morning I met up with Michelle who used to attend our club to begin the induction process so that she can become a volunteer at club...the cycle continues...just as it has with other young people who have gone on from attending club to volunteering.

Michelle then joined Heather (the artist) and myself and a merry band of other young volunteers called Happy, Sneezy, Dopey...sorry I mean Craig, Sarah, Thomas, Keeley and Josh to start work on the unfinished mosaic around Crisp St Market playgroundcle which first involved cleaning a year old layer of grout .

We were hard at it for a while getting encouraging comments from passersby, including an older man from my home town Cork in Ireland who thought I was a Kiwi (I presume not the fruit) and a woman who commented that if people like us didn't do it no-one would. There was the odd 'community service' jibe and lots of questions. Like the kid in the playground who asked what we were doing and came out of the playground to inspect our progress and declare his approval.

We could, however, possibly be still there had not a local man, a builder by trade, suggested a faster way of removing the layer of grout (which has initially been made specially to last between the tiles for 25 years and which should have been removed from the face of the tiles 2 months after application - over a year ago). This man not only gave us advice but also gave us buckets, scourers, cloths and white spirits. And as we began the second phase of work Laura joined us and we continued to reveal the designs under the grout with Emma W. arriving in time to finish up with us and share some cake.

Heather had had a nightmare with this project which should have finished a year ago with the lack of support from local schools who had committed to it and the loss of pannels of mosaic in storage, all beyond her control and a hindrance to progress. Heather's faith in community spirit was restored today - from the generosity of the young people with regard to the effort they put in and the time they gave, to the encouragement of the general community, to the help from individuals such as the builder and people like the community police which gave us some info on some free activities for the young people.

Its funny how good you can feel suddenly and not realise you weren't feeling so good until you have something to compare it to. I hadn't realised how much I needed to feel the community spirit I did until I did. It was like riding a bicycle ... it was easy because I knew how from before...I hadn't done it in a while but it was still there...it felt good...and the mosaic looks good.

(Why I used the 'riding a bike' analogy is because for the first time in about a year I rode a bike...only because my bluff was called (that and I found the pump) and happened to see the three above on my travels alongside the canal...as you do)


At 18/8/06 2:34 am, Blogger josh24nov06 said...

i think the term community spirit is great and im surpirsed tower hamlets has one to tell you the truth i think its allso great for people like you to go and do these things but heres a question for you

do you think if you did that work in the middle of the night and was finished before anyone saw you, would anybody notice the clean tiles?

At 20/8/06 4:53 am, Blogger your said...

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At 20/8/06 9:42 pm, Blogger josh24nov06 said...

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At 20/8/06 9:42 pm, Blogger josh24nov06 said...

dont get what ya mean there

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