When I decided to move down to London, my family and friends, all staunch Northerners, were worried that I’d struggle to settle in such a vast city. Besides, they told me, Londoners aren’t exactly friendly.
I’ve heard it many times. Never speak unless you’re spoken to. Never make eye contact with anyone on the Tube. Don’t answer your front door after dark. It might be warmer down South, only not when it comes to people’s temperaments.
But I think everyone, including me, was wrong.
This week, the residents of my apartment block have all got together to create a communal area painting. They decided that lockdown has left us far too isolated, and that this is a way we can all feel more a part of the community.
Organisers posted fliers a few days before; the landlords weren’t interested in funding a communal area painting but agreed that if we raised the funds we could create the mural. In our large entrance area, where many people collect their post, there’s now a beautiful mural.
In order to create the communal area painting we had to stick to social distancing rules, wear masks, and stay in our assigned area. We all got the chance to paint a part of the mural, to put our stamp on it. A few people declined to get involved but overall, over fifty people took part.
These days, with all our divisions, distancing and lockdowns, it needed nothing more than a communal area painting by communal painters and decorators to make us all feel that little bit more connected again.