Last weekend was The Crescent annual open air lunch. It was held in the front garden of The White House, one of the larger, detached houses and there was a good turnout with over half of the households present. Everyone brought something in the way of food and drink and naturally there was more than enough to go around. Three generations were represented, children, parents and grandparents. I was the only grown-up child. I was the only one to have grown up in The Crescent for that matter.
The event is loosely connected with The Big Lunch, a thoroughly commendable scheme which encourages communities to have lunch together in the street (British weather permitting) and according to its website, involved close to 1 million people this year. I say loosely connected because The Big Lunch was on 5th June, nearly three months previously. The other residents of the Crescent obviously have similar ideas about time keeping to my family. I received my 18th birthday present from my parents six months late - mostly because none of us could think of anything I actually wanted that did justice to the occasion. That's another story.
I dressed for the occasion, wearing my ironic I♥TW t-shirt (Taiwan/Toby Wilsdon, geddit?), and prepared to meet the neighbours. The funny thing was, though most of them had lived here for years, all but one were "newbies" in my mind, and even she arrived in the mid 1980s! I knew the immediate neighbours by name (they've both been here for over 10 years) but everyone else had to be introduced. "...and you must live in the O'Meara's house."
Having been away for 10 years, it felt slightly odd talking to these people and asking their names and how long they'd been members of the community I'd extracted myself from. Slowly it dawned on me that my parents were now the elders, having lived here 10-20 years longer than anyone else. Some roles change. Others don't.