tenpastmidnight blog

Making hay while the sun shines

Today is 'Hanover Day' in the part of Brighton (UK) that I live in, which, you guessed it, is called Hanover.

There was a distributed jumble sale across a couple of the roads as locals sold off things they didn't need. This was mainly clothing and books, but there was a surprising amount of cheap computer equipment around. An Acorn A3010 for £10? A bargain, even whole PC systems for less than £20. How long until the current crop of Pentium 4 superlaptops are going for the price of a pasta meal along with copies of Grisham and Collins novels? Hmm, a Gibsonesque future? Time to get collecting pebbles and glue.

The Greys pub had laid on various entertainment in its car park which started with morris dancers, which I find more quaint and humorous the older I get, Barulho a local, loud and fun samba band. Finally we had some marvellous fencing demonstrations from the Sussex Rapier School who were very entertaining, going through the various basic attacks and defensive moves with some flamboyant historical touches, and they gave a group of the local children some basic weapons, keeping them to wooden swords to keep a limit on the mayhem.

The weather was a little overcast, not as hot as it has been recently, but pleasantly warm and plenty of ice-creams were consumed. The day was very cheering, partly because it was nice to wander around looking at people's stuff and buying books, but mainly because it was friendly, relaxed, family atmosphere. I've been moaning to friends recently, and receiving back similar messages, that Brighton has gone down-hill over the last few years. Most local events seem to be a reason to get blotto, there are growing homelessness and heroin problems, the whole town is certainly dirtier than it was ten years ago.

Today I've been to the opposite of all that, a family-centred event where there was plenty of relaxed people, kids running around, there was drinking but not drunken behaviour, and a couple of hours after it was over the streets were clean again apart from some still-hanging bunting and a few bales of hay in a car park, and a little extra sense of community. It really reminds me of why I moved here in the first place: it wasn't just the weirdos, the nightlife or the constantly renewed North Laines shops, it was the sense of friendly community; which I'm pleased to say is still alive and well in Hanover, and I hope we can re-infect the rest of town with some of the same.
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