Friday, 29 January 2010

The Acknowledgment

I’m making a trip south this weekend to Glastonbury in Somerset for a family birthday.

Glastonbury holds a special place in my heart it’s where I spent my formative years, going to school, making friends, falling in love, falling out of love, falling out of the pub …….

I haven’t lived in Glastonbury since 1994 but frequently return to visit family & friends, it’s when I return that I notice the differences between living in a small close knit town & the large industrial Midlands town that I live in now.

The biggest thing is “The acknowledgement” for this I hark back to the first time I took my boyfriend (now Husband) to stay the weekend in Glastonbury. On the Saturday night we take the 15 min stroll into town from my family residence. As we amble up the road we pass 6 or 7 people, couples walking dogs, people carrying home shopping, others maybe just taking in the night air as we pass there’s a cheery “good evening” or “lovely evening” to which I respond accordingly with a big smile as we continue our way. As we reached the top of the road my boyfriend said “Do you know everyone here?” Momentarily I was confused …. “you spoke to everyone we passed!” …… Laughing I explained that it was the norm to acknowledge people regardless of whether you knew them or not & though nothing more of it …..

Some months later I moved to the Midlands to be with my man, it was all rather disorientating but I carried on as usual. One night we were walking into town & we passed lots of people ….. but no-one spoke, I tried a couple of times but was met with startled looks, I tried smiling at a few but again most people looked at me as if I’d lost the plot! My boyfriend gently took me aside & pointed out that people don’t talk to each other here, in fact it was probably better not to make eye contact at all!

How sad I thought to have lost that human contact.

I still find it very hard not to acknowledge passing people 12 years later & I still can’t help smiling at oncoming people and just occasionally … very occasionally I get a smile back … it makes my heart soar …. in my head that smile might have made someone’s day a bit more bearable!

So this weekend I shall be acknowledging my way up the road & enjoying every moment of it ….. if you live somewhere where “the acknowledgement” is the norm treasure it cause that cheery greeting might be making someone’s day!!!


  1. A very interesting subject people in most cities dont generally communicate (even lightly) with each other. There are though other cities where they do Barcelona is one, so to is Dublin, and Liverpool another. I dont know what the answer is exactly, I do feel though that your smile might encourage others to do the same - hopefully!

  2. We live in a small rural town where we are all related in one way or another. a common greeting is "Howaya" or "How are things" As we are now getting outsiders moving in we notice they don't say anything to us at first but after a while we soon wear them down with a smile. It does appear to be a disease of the city and large towns and as that word is made up of dis--ease maybe that is exactly what it is, a sense of being ill at ease and the cure is a smile. Don't forget it might be the only smile they get and might be the last thing they remember. So as we covies say "Hows the craic" They don't know what were saying but it makes them smile.