November 4, 2022•486 words
I only found out about it a few days ago, but really I shouldn't have been surprised. There is a village committee, and once a month they have a village meeting - open to one and all (of course so long as you're local - though I have no idea what would happen if a stranger wandered in...).
You had a mix of people, some young(ish) and some old. More old than young. It was everything you would expect, meanderings, misunderstanding and a few old people who couldn't really hear what was going on. It was, however, all well intended.
Topics ranged from going over previous minutes (yes there are minutes!) to the condition of the village hall.
"For the toilets," someone mused, "maybe we could have period products for, you know, women." I'm glad they pointed out that period products were for women, I had, until now, been confused on the whole topic.
"For free?" Someone exclaimed. The conversation quickly, although briefly, shifted to period poverty - with a general agreement that offering free products was a good addition for the public village toilet. Yes, toilet, no plurals here.
Things got momentarily awkward when it was suggested people could visit to have their period here, possibly in jest... the group quickly move on.
Half way through someone pointed out that I'd yet to be introduced to the group, and despite being here almost two months, there were still a few faces that I didn't know, and presumably didn't know me (by sight at least, I would assume they could deduce my identity given the lack of new blood).
The meeting though did take a rather exciting turn when the group moved on to pot holes. Nothing is more thrilling,or more engaging than holes in our roads. If you've ever seen the film San Andreas, or any disaster film where the ground opens up to swallow cities and its inhabitants, then you have an idea of the gravity of the situation here - or at least you'd be forgiven for thinking that were the case from the way the pot holes were spoken about.
I tried to keep a straight face.
"Any other business?"
Do I speak up, or hold my tongue? The UK, like much of Europe, is struggling with energy security - in a small and isolated place like this, I wondered if the village had any contingency plans for the prolonged blackouts that the government said might happen this winter. I figured they probably didn't have a plan, and raising it would be sensible. The trouble is, raising things can often been seen as volunteering to do them...
Still, it's better to have a plan you don't need, than need a plan you don't have.
I put my hand up.
But this... but that... we'd had blackout's back when...
It was like a mix of Yes Minister meets Midsummer Murders.
I loved it.