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Cherry pink and apple blossom white…

“Oh God, Chris, this place is just amazing, so tranquil, friendly, wonderfully inviting. It’s just so inspirational! Look at you all, just sitting out together sharing lunch in the spring sunshine. Oh, I could live here.”

Okay, I may have embellished this a wee bit. But it’s not uncommon for visitors to make such comments.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great… that is exactly the atmosphere, the ‘place’, that we work so hard to create.

I hear what you’re saying… “Then what’s your problem, Chris?”

Well beneath this utopian surface of ‘everything is lovely’…. lurks so many awful life stories, so many lives at a low point, broken families, broken people, addiction, and abuse.

It is not that we are trying to hide or disguise something, pretending these issues don’t exist or even carefully stage-manage a theatre set of loveliness for visitors to admire…

No, it’s far more if you simply allow people to join in, encourage community and trust, then people do have an opportunity to be a better version of themselves…

But look more closely around the lunch table and spot the alcoholic (in recovery) who can’t eat his peas because his shakes are so bad, they won’t stay on his fork (although mashed potato can help).

The guy whose eyes (if you look closely) look like shattered glass, telling the story from the weekend.

The amphetamine addict who just has no appetite.

A young man who has wax in his mouth to stop the wires from his broken jaw cutting his cheek, because he took such a beating from drug barons running county lines dealing operations.

The woman who may or may not see her children after next week’s court hearing.

The strange sucking noise from one man’s mouth, a nervous tick brought on by extreme anxiety.

But here they can and do try out being better versions of themselves (I suspect we all do, given a chance).

Last week the boules set came out after lunch. We play on a bumpy pitch so it doesn’t really matter if you are a practiced boules player from Toulouse or a newbie from Torquay; it’s a great leveler and so we can all be equal players.

It is a wonderful tribute to those on placement at LandWorks that people can see them for who they are.

I just think, in the terms of spring flourish, that we are a little more hawthorn pink and hawthorn blossom white, if you know what I mean.


29th April 2021