Went out today with Olly and the we'ans for some bits and pieces - wanted to get a new cage for the we'ans' gerbils because their (the gerbils, not the we'ans) burrowing makes such a mess. We picked up a 3 story cage that the gerbils appear (as only gerbils can appear) to be chuffed with.
Anyway, while in Hamilton we popped into the Salvation Army for some lunch. The Army runs a cafe on a Monday and I was suprised at the quality of the experience. Food was great in a home cooked kind of way... I had tomato and butterbean soup that was vividly tomatoey (if that's a word). It appears they are doing it for the community - staffing with volunteers (really willing and personable) and pricing to cover costs.
However, what made it special and differentiated it from the other places I've been is the interaction of the customers. People knew people and were happily talking and interacting - chatting no only to their companions but with all the folk there. It was as if the cafe was the heart of the community.
It was very special to be part of and an important lesson to learn - you can't just create community :: you go to Starbucks and you witness a series of individual conversations - you don't see the level of interaction that I witnessed today.
If you are in Hamilton on a Monday between 1130 and 1330hrs, please check it out - I will guarantee a warm welcome.