Today's made me think about community. Bugger. I sound like David Cameron already. Unforgivable. It could only be worse if I started to sound like Brown the great disability denier. Not a good start.
Still, back to community. My neighbour just knocked on my door. She brought back my ironing, all neatly hung ready to go in my wardrobe. Another neighbour knocked at the back gate earlier today, she said she wanted to check if I was still alive, and could I take some freshly laid eggs off her hands. She works from home so we took advantage of the sunshine and sat in her back garden to drink a quick cup of coffee whilst the chickens ate bugs and one in particular demanded cuddles. (Chickens get to be eccentric too!)
The postman's called Phil. He's a nice guy, knows that its not easy for me to get around, so if he ever has to deliver a parcel he'll wait the amount of time he knows it takes for me to get to the door. So will the older gentleman who supplements his pension working as a courier for the home delivery companies. The one who was in the RAF. Ok, so being really honest, he knows me well enough to allow enough time not just for me to get to the front door, but to get out of bed as well. So does Phil. I was just being coy.
My window cleaner's called Darren. Lovely guy. Prison record, probable benefit fraud and all. He's his mum's primary carer and she's not been too well lately. She doesn't want anyone else in to help, and Darren doesn't want to try for any equipment that might help since it took 7 weeks for the continence service to come and see them, and, although they've helped, Darren's got to find the money for a new bed now. His mum's was ruined by the time the specialist nurse came out. It's a good job she doesn't mind, he tells me, but it was alot to get used to at first, having to lift her in and out of the bath, and change her. All I can find to say to him is that his mum must be very proud.
I know my butcher by name too, and all the people that work in his shop. It's a modern business, like any other, typical for my town in that it has no physical adaptations for people with disabilities and so is tricky to access. Physically that is. You just have to ask, and someone will assist you inside, or for those whom that's not possible they'll come out to the car to serve. Hands starting to play up? No problem, they'll prepare your meat into bite sized chunks for you, even deliver very small amounts of food for free in the winter to those people they know can't get about.
Next door is the chemist, and down the road my GP. It's a similar story there. When I was at my most poorly my GP would abandon his consulting room and see me in a disused office. It made life a bit tricky for him and the computer system really didn't like it, but it was less distance for me to attempt to walk so that's what he did. Along with all sorts of other vital, impossible to quantify adjustments.
I don't live in some sort of '50's style Utopia, just a small town with its problems the same as any other. All these things are things that help to build the town and its community. None of them can be measured on a form. I wonder, is it the change in my physical health that has shown me these things, or is it that this is a small town just like small towns all over England, a secret known only to those who stay at home all day?