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On Thursday mornings, I organise a coffee morning in our church hall. I try to invite all the mums from the school gate, but in practice there are a regular group of about ten who come almost every week. They are a great bunch – friendly and chatty and fun to be with. I bake cakes every week and others either bake or bring something they’ve bought. We sit for a couple of hours, discussing whatever is on our minds.

This week it was banana choc chip muffins and cinnamon rolls

This week it was banana choc chip muffins and cinnamon rolls

So far, so middle class and just like any other church hall coffee morning for school gate mums. But it’s a bit different where we are. For starters we often have a bloke or two join us – people work shifts here, or are single dads or don’t have any paid employment. And then there are some of the conversation topics…

I’ll just share with you some of the things we chatted about this week. Some regular bog standard school gate talk, but others special to our part of God’s world, with its unique challenges:

  • How to get our kids to get on with their school work, and career paths we envisage for them
  • The upcoming school Christmas fair
  • A lunch club a few of us helped out with the other day
  • The local drug dealers, and a ‘conversation’ one of the ladies had had with a youngster who seems to be getting involved with the trade
  • The excellence of the local Chinese takeaway (apparently the lady will deliver on foot pushing her little one in the buggy if you are close to the shop)
  • The possibility that the local lap dancing club may be closed down because of all the crime that is associated with its clientele and staff
  • Foreign holidays we’d been on (or not)… and taking them in term time
  • How many times we’d been arrested (three between us, I think, but no convictions as far as I gathered)
  • Starting up your own business
  • The local prostitution trade and the club with an upstairs room used for those purposes
  • What had made us cry recently (for some a programme on Baby P, for me a report on primary schools that succeed in challenging areas)

That’s what I love so much about living here. You talk about unexpected things and all your preconceptions are challenged. I love my coffee, cake and chat friends and am so grateful for the fun we have together and for all that I learn from them.

What are your coffee mornings like?

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