Transition Stroud

This is a shared history blog. Together we can write the history of our process of transition as it happens.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Partying our Way to a Happier Future


Yesterday Lower Street, my street, had its first street party in a very long time. Lily has been living here for 52 years and it was the first street party she had ever been too - in fact the first street party any of our residents had ever been to.

Why does a street party matter? We thought it would help us come to know our neighbours and begin to build that conviviality that we talk so much about as the up side of the transition.

Each street party represents its particular street. Ours was considerably less raucous than Middle Street's which involves alcohol and where there are lots of children. Our party had a more sedate tone, with an elegant spread of food, folk music from Rob and Jehanne and a few well chosen words from our ex-Mayor and most famous resident. We know he lives in Castle Street but we let him in!

The most enjoyable part of the day was having the power to reclaim our street from the ubiquitous car. Our makeshift road block filled us with delight, as did the view of the street with no moving vehicles. And seeing Ann play football with one of our younger residents. Two cars were left - one from some people who were obviously on holiday and another from a resident who was using it to keep non-residents out and then forgot to drive away at the last minute!

If you don't have a street party in your part of town I recommend it for next year. If you create the space people come and fill it with music and food and bonhomie. Aside from the street closure (which involves one A4 form and totally unnecessary £40 charge from Stroud District Council) there is very little planning. A hotline to God about the weather clearly helps and we have obviously identified which type of prayer is most effective. They don't call this Quaker Row for nothing.

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