The Great British (and not-British) Public

I have spent today hanging out volunteering at an historical building today, because sometimes that’s a thing I do. I really, really love doing it. People complain, sometimes, that these historical, English/Welsh Heritage, National Trust things don’t ‘include’ and ‘involve’ and ‘represent’ people in our country. I saw a thousand people today, literally, indeed, 1,100 people today, walking around a beautiful building that belongs to the nation, is being kept fascinating and accessible to all, full of things to do and see and learn and just…be in.

Literally all kinds of people. Tourists, yes, but plenty of locals. Not just NT members, certainly not just the stereotypical weird nodding smiling yuppie parent (although there was a child called Verruca – WHO DOES THAT TO A CHILD?), but really all sorts, all classes, all backgrounds. People who were wearing clothes the cost of which I could buy a house for. People who were wearing rags and were in a state more commonly associated with not having the privilege of a roof over the head. All sorts.

And I don’t think this is surprising, because people do, contrary to the popular opinion, like to get out and about where they live, and everyone does possess curiosity to one degree or another about things, and, if they can have a day out and go somewhere where everyone is catered for, then they do.

It’s also wonderful how interested people are once they’re in places. Most people think of something to say, or ask, and I don’t ever remember kids being as interested in kids’ activities when I was one myself as they seem to be now – maybe the quality of children’s activities has improved, but still, I don’t remember anything except brass rubbings (I LOVED brass rubbings, honestly, I did, I don’t know what that says about me) ever being interesting. I certainly don’t remember paying attention for prolonged periods of time in the many places I visited.

There’s a lot of complaining about about a lot of things, so, sometimes it’s nice to notice the good stuff, too. There are ways of engaging with what’s home and what’s ours that are really catching people’s attention, are genuinely positive and pleasant and suitable for and working for everyone. And that’s nice. Sometimes, we get it right. It is a joy to be able to be a part of it , even a tiny bit.

So that’s nice. And that’s what Bank Holidays ought to have more of. Religion or otherwise, people being good and doing good stuff, I don’t think anyone of any religion could complain about. Happy Easter, whether it’s chocolate or crosses or nothing at all to you.

 

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