Living in this little damp patch on the edge of the Devonshire countryside, I could well have believed there was no community feeling for a disappointing number of years. And indeed, I did. What it comes down to is thus: there is no real centre to this village. The shop sits in the sort-of middle, but there’s no village green, no weekend cricket with limp-looking cucumber sandwiches, no accidental meeting point.
But here’s what I’ve learnt: you get what you give.
I only met my next door neighbour after twelve years and a big storm which washed the nearest town a few inches closer to the sea.
But then, there’s the Legion. The Legion is where all this assumed isolation melts away. Yes, we live in each other’s pockets, we know one another rather more intimately than attempted romantic entanglements would allow for.
But we are a family. Any success or abject failure belongs to us all. We feel each other’s pain more closely than we can readily explain. Not quite a village of empaths, we are bound together by chatter and booze.
There’s nothing like a Communal heartache to bring the family to the bar. I suppose because most of us have had our hearts ripped out from time to time, if one of the young ones appears, puffy-cheeked and cloudy-eyed, the inner parent leaps to the fore.