I was at work all day that day – facilitating an art group in the morning and then in the office during the afternoon. I left work to embark the hour and a bit drive to Chapel FM in Seacroft. The drive wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, to be honest (rush hour and all that) but it was a bit monotonous and the SatNav took me to some random residential dead-end… I eventually parked up outside of the ChapelFM building and made my way in.
We had name stickers, two-truths-one-lie post-it notes and general chitchat to begin to get to know one another; everyone was lovely and friendly and inquisitive from the off, which put my anxieties at ease a little. Katy, who works at ChapelFM, was very kind to me and gave me reassurance (she had read my last blog and knew I was feeling antsy) which was appreciated – thank you Katy!

We were called into another room for dinner… and my cute-meter just melted. A group of the most adorable kids had cooked us (with help, of course) a BEAUTIFUL chilli dinner! ChapelFM facilitate groups which helps local kids develop cooking skills and that evening, they cooked en masse for us. What a great idea – If I had that sort of nurturing growing up I might be able to make something more than a badly cooked spag bol now! Oh they were so cute in their little aprons, and such wonderful little hosts too.
Around the dinner tables we also met our hosts. I was staying with Lily and David, active members of the Seacroft community. Lily is the Chair of the Residents Association and is very chatty and warm. David is quieter in comparison, but really funny and cheeky. He’s Labour Councillor for his area and a retired Citizens Advice Bureau manager. And what a lovely couple they are! I felt so much better after meeting them because until that point, I didn’t know where I was sleeping!

Then there was a ukulele night. And omg, I cannot explain how much it inspired me to actually learn the ukulele that I’ve been threatening to buy and play for about two years. It was such a great performance, which was also recorded for the radio (not sure if it was live?) and was so enjoyable to listen and jig along in my seat to. One of my fellow Unionites, Poppy, said it best: “It’s just so joyful”. And it was. Really, really enjoyed it.

I didn’t see the last band, however, as I went back with Lily and David to their beautiful, little 1840s cottage for teacakes and tea. I met Shadow, their really cute but very timid pure black kitten (it was a street cat who has had lots of foster parents) who only came to his forever home ten days ago. He was very suspicious of me so I couldn’t cuddle him but we had great fun with his cat toys (which included a walnut?!).
After chatting for hours with Lily and David about the village green, cats and everything else under the sun, we went to bed. I slept in the little office-come-guest-room with the low ceiling beams upstairs.

I was taken back at the strong sense of community I felt – what with the chef-children, seeing/hearing all the things that go on at ChapelFM (including Community Radio) and learning about Lily and David’s Community-based work… it was nice. The weekend residency was based around the theme of ‘Community’ and I think UNION did a great job of introducing us to the concept before we had even really begun.