Last night in Hempnall Village Hall, as the first snow of the year fell in blousy flakes outside the windows and I did my best to help my art class improve their drawing skills, about 20 local men played football on the floodlit pitch. Outside. In shorts.
In another room of the Village Hall – Hempnall is quite a big village with a couple of new housing developments on the outskirts full of ‘in-comers’ so the Hall is large and modern – boys and girls had their weekly Scouts meeting.
In yet another room, a ladies knitting circle was in full swing (squalls of laughter reached us every couple of minutes) and next door a gentlemen with the most enormous white moustache was busily arranging chairs and tables in the main hall for the Senior Citizens Lunch the following day. He can’t have been a day under 70 himself, but he told me all about how important it was to make sure that the ‘old folks’ in the village had a good hot meal and a chance to chat once a week.
I drove home through the snow – with friendly calls of “drive steady now my woman” to see me off – feeling oddly reassured by it all.