Sunday, 13 November 2011

Nature in common

What an Autumn we are having - a great time in the UK
I grew up with a father who would endeavour to say hello to everyone when out and about in the wilderness. I think this is where I picked up the trait. I have good friends who get embarassed by my eagerness to greet people. A family member, [you know who you are] has even showed frustration at the fact that I say hello whenever possible to anyone I encounter. I find this so bizarre!

I particularly love when people are not expecting an exchange, or don't quite hear you and reply with something unexpected - it makes me chuckle.
"Good afternoon"

However, generally I find that it is more common not to receive a reply around where I live. Most people I come across seem particularly unwilling to make any kind of effort, with the most simple and effortless exchange.

I feel that even the smallest interaction in this way can provide you with a positive feeling that seems completely at odds with the amount of effort you put in.

Other people do not, it seems!

I often come away smiling on receiving a simple returned hello. Maybe though, this is because replies are so few and far between around these parts.

Yes, unfriendlyness seems to be partly a geographical trend. Even in my limited experience, it seems to me that all the stereotypes are true. This is totally subjective of course, but London and the home counties are the most unfriendly places in my opinion and experience. And anyone I have met in or who has originated from the North, seem to be far more friendly. It seems that there is a direct relation between how far you get from London and how friendly people are, maybe with the exception of Cornwall. You head to the North of England and strangers make an effort. Wales, the same.

I don't mean this to offend anyone, there are exceptions to any rule, but I doubt that people living in these 'unfriendly' places would truly disagree.

There are a few circumstances when these general impressions become void though. A day such as today, super warm for this time of year and fantastically sunny. Or; the subject of many discussions, and mentions in previous posts, on meeting someone in the country, when they're experiencing nature as you are. You have the enjoyment of nature in common, so this (unseasonal expression approaching) breaks the ice. I've often had this when away from London in the highlands/Peaks/Snowdonia, but today, in the South East of England, near the M25, even near a golf club, on stopping for a car that was turning in the road, I came across a guy who was sorting out his two little ones, getting their helmets on so that they could no doubt ride their miniature bikes down the canal path I had just come off. As usual I said a friendly hello. The guy looked up and smiled, which was odd enough, but then he questioned how my run was going and how far I'd been. Turned out he was a runner as well, having done a long run this morning a little way away. I ran off joking with him that keeping up with the kids would be a perfect opportunity to have a bit of a warm down. I immediately followed that with several minutes of woodland 'off piste' trail running. Brilliant fun! An unexpectedly enjoyable few minutes and a refreshing change.

It seems there is still hope for the South East! Then again, with views like this, who needs people anyway!



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