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09/09/2019: Community

Community. That word describes what this weekend has been about.

On Saturday, I organised a countywide meet up for writers and on Sunday I (riding pillion) participated in a motorcycle charity ride.

The thing is about community events is that despite the amount of effort, energy, time and money thrown towards them, you are just left with hope for a good turnout in the day. There is so much that can go wrong including the things outside of your control. The weather is always a tricky one - you can never know for sure especially in the UK.

On Saturday the weather was bright but overcast and just minutes before the meet up was about to begin, I was caught in a torrential downpour which resulted in me being five minutes late. Punctuality is a big deal with with me, I've spent my life ensuring I'm early for events, exams, interviews - you know the kind of thing - so while I apologised to the attendees who got there on time, I felt I was instantly on a back footing from the get go. That soon changed, however, as I booked in with library staff and began the meet up.

Of the 20 writers that showed up, I knew just 2 of them so as someone who spends a lot of time with other writers in the county, I was amazed at how many more there are.

On Sunday, everything was outside of my control anyway as I was simply a passenger for a rider. The temperature was, again, very mixed, but stayed dry.

We began the official ride from Dunton in Essex, UK while bystanders waved and cheered at us and around 2000 other bikers raising awareness and funds for the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance.

The fun aspect of this annual ride is the people who leave their cars and homes to sit at the side of the road from Dunton to Harwich to give us cheers, waves and thumbs up signals. It makes your heart swell to experience the community come together for such a worthy cause.

Charity aside, it's always great spending time within the biking community because, on the whole, they are a friendly and respectful group of people. In my 30 plus years of being a road user, I found the past 4 years of being part of the biking community to highlight that bikers will always stop their journey to check on another biker - stranger or not. You'll always see bikers nod a hello or raise a hand at other bikers on the road too. Plus in service stations, bikers will generally stop and chat with you about how your journey has been.

And that's how I feel community should be: caring for each other and being respectful and friendly with each other. After all, we all inhabit the same local, national and world wide community.

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