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Saturday 3 September 2011: With a little understanding

The raising of the mainsail went surprisingly well and, when it started spitting halfway through the street party, the crowds flocked beneath it.

Several of my male neighbours were hell bent on proving their manliness, clambering over rickety shed roofs, balancing on wobbly walls, and climbing ladders placed against metal telegraph poles with big 'Do Not Climb This Pole With Ladders' signs on them. So I gladly stayed on the ground doing what I was told.

I admit I was slightly drunk and perhaps therefore predisposed to nostalgia, but it did strike me at about midnight how wonderful it is to get everyone out of their houses and into the street, dancing, eating, drinking, laughing and sitting around a blazing fire into the early hours.

It also struck me that half of the country's problems are about community - or rather the lack of it. We're all from different places, with different outlooks, different tastes and opinions, and we have our disagreements, but ultimately we know we're all in this together and may as well make the most of it.

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