This was the 11th time that the volunteers' meal had been held at the Oaks Community Centre on Stocks Lane in Penketh.
So 65 people attended it last week.
My goodness Mr. Cameron that could be called The Big Society.......if it had just happened!
Last year there were only 50, what fun!
As usual the manageress was on hand to make sure that all went smoothly. A quick check of the glasses and all was ready for the onslaught.
Folks were welcomed at the door and people greeted one another and found themselves tables with friends and strangers alike.
The kitchen was ably womanned ( and manned! ) with managers and nursery workers preparing the food and getting it out to the servery.
The menu was pure delight........
Spicey squash and carrot soup with crusty bread.
Chicken liver parfait on a bed of salad and melba toast.
Pork and duck terrine,with fresh "Benston" chutney on a bed of green salad .
Italian chicken and ham in a tomato sauce.
Beef and Guinness stew.
And a selection of vegetables...roast potatoes, spicey red cabbage, petit pois and lemon buttered carrots.
There was a vegetarian option of risotto, but noone wanted it . What does that say about us all!
The sweets were to die for and were served with lashings of fresh cream.
Almond and plum pie, chocolate squidgy log, pavlova, hazelnut roulade...oh oh... gorgeous!
Soft drinks came courtesy of the kitchen and wine was brought in by the volunteers if they so wished.
A bit of entertainment came after all that, with the lovely Margaret on keyboard and a mad sing song to end the evening...well Molly Malone gets every one going!
Although the premises are owned by St. Paul's C. of E. the people come from all parts of the local population.
Young and old, church and non-church, able-bodied and enabled-bodied!
I agree in principle with the idea of The Big Society, but this has to come partly from the heart of the individual and then from a local acknowedgement of a need to be filled.
Someone or some group has to have the vision and then believe that they can do it. That's when the nitty gritty kicks in. And at that point some leave but others pick up the idea and move on.
We are not the only ones in this area thinking of our community. There are many others. In our church is another cafe which has been going even longer than the Oaks called The Manna House. And the local Methodist is rebuilding it's premises to incorporate another community centre.
The thing about all of this is ...the fun and laughter that comes when people do things together.
" Didn't they give you seconds?...never mind there's always next year!"