Gaynor and I nearly always spend time during the weekend walking around London and I do know what I consider to be little bits of Wonderland that we like to visit. Among these are Spitalfields City Farm, St Mary’s Secret Garden and Roots and Shoots. Well, today we decided to visit the new Oasis Farm near Waterloo Station. Situated on a piece of, what was previously wasteland, it has only been going since November and is already starting to grow. While we were there, we were pointed in the direction of Old Paradise Yard, next door. Now I wouldn’t go so far as to call it Paradise, but it certainly was another piece of Wonderland. Hidden away is an old Victorian School where a number of people have set up galleries and workshops. Having bought coffee and coconut shortbread in the cafe, “I’klectic” (good coffee and shortbread, I have to say, from friendly staff), Gaynor and I sat in the garden amazed that we hadn’t even heard of this place. A wall separates it from busy A3036 but, driving by, you would never know that it was there. Peace and quiet, a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament. So, why do I write this?
Well, apart from letting you know of its existence, I don’t believe that it was a coincidence that we found it. You see, we are open to looking for such places and, thus, we find them. Which leads me to my point.
Now, I believe that the vast majority of people are honest, decent folk who just try to get by in life. In defence of my views, I would point out that, in time of war, many of them make the ultimate sacrifice. Yet there are people with views very different to my own, who seem to see the opposite in people. They see them as feckless, lazy shirkers. Something that my own experience wouldn’t support; bearing in mind my 35 years working with people on the receiving end of our social problems. Indeed, these descriptions apply to nobody that I know. Do I just happen to mix with people who try to put in a shift for themselves and their families or am I blinkered? Well neither, actually. I do, however, see the good and then I find it. Not always but much more often than not.
So where do these other people get such a dreadful opinion of their fellow human beings? I can only conclude that it is formed by their own background and reinforced from among those they mix with. Which, of course, should give us all cause for concern.