I picked up a German teacher from Stansted airport on Saturday morning. She is visiting the school I work in for a few days. I had to think of some English things to do at the weekend, so I asked mum and dad. Mum offered some great suggestions.
After a nice cold lunch at home, we rested and then went to a village church fete. The sun was shining, the magician was wowing the crowds and the tents were selling all varieties of homemade crafts and produce. There was even welly throwing and a coconut shy. Cups of tea abounded and the flower festival at the church was also a hit.
After this we left dad to go home and make dinner and the rest of us went to a cream scones fundraiser by the sea. We sat out in the sun and enjoyed a relaxing time and a beautiful view. We even got to see something of the local beach huts and ferry river crossing.
Dad had made a lovely pot roast beef with his trademark gravy. He went as far as making roast potatoes especially for the rest of us, who are still allowed to eat them. Mum and dad were great hosts and helped our German visitor feel at home and comfortable.
Today, after a lively church service and a pub lunch (fish and chips and mushy peas) we went for a couple of short walks to see the river, docks, local countryside and then into town to go around the park. The ancient houses in town with tudor beams and pargetting looked stunning in the light and there were not many people about.
What struck both myself and my German visitor was how friendly the adults we met have all been this weekend, and in contrast how unfriendly the younger people were. As teachers these attitudes are not new to us in England or Germany, but I feel saddened that our wonderful country is not always welcoming.
When Peanut is born, I want him or her to grow up with a good international sense of identity and a responsibility towards and respect for others of every culture. I want them to be friendly and confident with new people. I do not want to wrap them in cotton wool or expect them never to speak to strangers. I want my children to be peacemakers in their own generation and to speak love in actions as well as words.