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  • Writer's picturejodieharburt

Fix Up (Your Street...)

If you have a problem with something; litter on your street, a pile of debris from the neighbour's tree cuttings, broken street lamp, around here it might be a pile of cow dung* at your gate, or whatever it is, don't just moan about it. Deal with it!

First of all become aware of your surroundings and see if there are things that annoy you, don't let subliminal irritations eat at you. Then figure out what you can do about it. Near our house we have a few major problems, the first being the speed at which cars pass and in parts pedestrian walk ways are absent so we are working on that (presently by contacting and nagging the authorities). In the meantime we requested and ensured that the local council clear up the area that had become a tip. A street sign had been covered in grafitti and was illegible, I like a bit of creative grafitti personally, but this was just destructive so I took it upon myself to fix the sign. (1. a new sign would take months of waiting and hassle to arrive and 2. I prefer to re-cycle and up-cycle everywhere I can!)

My daughter scooted around as I worked, I specifically wanted her to participate and witness this as part of my intention to teach, through example, the essence of responsibility, pro-action and community. The activity prompted a few chats with passing neighbours and later with the local Imam with whom, in passing we shared ideas about creating a community spirit in the area while our kids biked around on the street.

Now you might think that your street isn't 'that' kind of street, indeed it probably isn't anymore, but maybe all it needs is a bit of love and attention. Maybe we avoid lingering because we are aggravated by the little things or the perception that our fellow neighbour dwellers are different. Whilst animosity around community activities must be avoided a worse situation has arisen in that we all just wait for the authorities to do stuff. This reliance has allowed us to give up on our preferences as well as ensured we relinquish all our power.

When we simply take a broom outside and sweep up a bit, we can find ourselves interacting with your neighbours in a really good way. I'm not trying to be a clever arse. I can paint and I grew up with huge signs being painted on the dining table (by my mum) so this job was a natural for me, but if there's something on your street that you can see yourself doing, fixing, cleaning, trimming... go ahead... do it.

(Note: painting on official signs is considered vandalism and probably there is a law against it. Make sure you can justify your activity in that it is for the betterment of the whole neighbourhood - not just for yourself and not for recognition)

Before and After.

*Cow dung is going on my compost heap.

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