Anyone who has been flooded has my sympathy. I have a good friend in Powick, whose house was flooded twice over in 2007. As soon as I could after the floods, I went there with a mop and bucket. Another friend turned up at the same time and it became a festive occasion - strangely heartening, despite the stench of the mud and river debris trapped in odd corners. Her house now has power points that are over a metre high on the walls, but is restored to its former cosiness. Other friends were trapped on the M5 and reported that a baby had been born in a car that was marooned near theirs. The car behind the expectant mum's had a midwife in it. Jehovah Jireh.
One of the decisions we have to make as a committee is whether to replace the marquee poles that were damaged in the Great Storm of Oakdale. I think we should, but thankfully do not have to make the decision alone. With another storm on its way, according to tonight's forecast, I can't help but wish for a more solid and substantial place to hold community events. I love the fresh air, but Oakdale is an exceptionally windy site, as the fallen fences over the Christmas period demonstrated. Of course, it would help if they had double links between the fences so there is no turning moment when one topples and if they were upright to start with, but at least you are less likely to get mown down by a forklift truck.
What we really need for 2014 is to know how you, good people of Oakdale, would like to go forward. If we had an allotment site, are there more families who would like to grow food? Would you prefer a community garden, with a plan for each year for crop rotation (to maintain soil condition and avoid disease) or a plot of your own to rent and grow whatever (legal) crops you want to on? Would you make use of a five aside pitch and join in a league or help to run a children's club? Would you volunteer to help run a community centre if we had one? Do you have skills that could be just the job if we get a shipping container to convert?
Gradually, we are starting to get to know more of you and sometimes it's been through overcoming adversity. Some have been in touch to say how much they appreciate the community work and I'm truly grateful for those thumb's ups. It does make all the difference sometimes, when the going gets tough. So here's my pledge for 2014: I won't give up on things that are half finished. I won't give up on community development, we will make plans for events, with or without a venue or land, and I will finish painting the hallway.
I hope I do better than last year at keeping these resolutions.