Today I get to help out with setting up for a regular weekly function. We’re not really settled in the new village yet, but we’re trying to be quiet helpers. Come winter, when the energy bills will really bite, we’ll probably spend most of our time here in New Galloway, but for now we’re still bouncing across the border on a regular basis. After we do a little stint of helping with the LING Lunch, we’ll jump in the car with our suitcases and list of things to take and bring back, and head south-east for the week.
The tables are smaller, accommodating four seats, but they’re still the classic GoPack folding ones that I grew to love in Allendale’s village hall. Here in New Galloway, after tables and chairs are arranged, the heavy oilcloth table covers are placed with care. In Allendale, the caretaker’s job was only to arrange the tables and chairs according to a set plan. Different strategies in different places, but the result is similar: the potential for a social atmosphere is created, awaiting the diners.
We travelled down to London four years ago to experience Stewart Pringle’s prize-winning play Trestle, about a lonely village hall volunteer and a feisty Zumba instructor. It’s been revived, recently, for a great run at the Jack Studio Theatre, garnering super reviews and nominations for awards. Setting up the ‘trestle’ tables and arranging chairs take up most of the action, as the two characters meet each other at the beginning or end of each dance exercise. It’s a very sweet play about living life at any stage you’re at, finding joy.
Odd that it’s taken me so long to realise that the identification, and pursuit, of these roads to joy has intrinsic value, that the journey as we say is most of the point. But it’s a good thing to understand, however late in the day the comprehension dawns.
And that is why I’m looking forward to a little stint of setting up joy, and a couple of hours of quiet helping out.