Reasons to be Cheerful about Maulden
One of reasons I wanted to get more involved in the village was that, overall, I think it is a really nice place to live. As we get drawn into recent issues, it is easy to begin to feel that Everything Is A Problem.
It really isn’t that bad. (Technically: that is an error of thinking called ‘priming’, or ‘availability bias’. Basically, the more you see something, the more likely you are to think it is true, even if you know it isn’t. A good reason NOT to read the papers!)
One good way to get over this is to consider for a while Three Good Things every time you see or consider a “bad” thing.
So, reasons to be cheerful:
Maulden really quite clean and tidy. It is a nice physical and visual environment. It is well lit. And the Parish Council do a lot to keep it that way – reporting pot holes, managing the recreation ground, getting grass cut, removing graffiti, keeping the street lights on. I’m pretty thankful for that, as physical “hygiene” in an area is a major factor in improving security and safety for all of us. By showing we care about our village, we deter visits from those who prefer to inhabit less well cared for places. People who care about the appearance of an area are often to be counted on to keep it safe, as well. The surrounding farms and fields are well cared for, well managed and easy to access on some excellent footpaths. Maulden Woods is a real treasure, rare in the UK. Church Meadows is a wonderful SSSI (get on your tummy and have LOOK at the adderstongue fern and other rare species there!). We have jewel of a local mini-reserve down Moor Lane. We can practically feed the whole village from the superb allotments.
Maulden has many superb social groups. The local Scouts are really well run (Take a bow, Helen Draycott and the Badger Hill Scout Exec) and play a strong part in village life. We have a strong local Parish Church; one that can really support those in need and provide an outlet for those with skills and empathy to share. We have a Bowls Club, Amateur Dramatics, Playgroup(s), Bridge Club, Cribbage Club, and a host of groups that meet at peoples’ houses. The Gardening Club is about as friendly as any club I have ever met. There is a clay pigeon club, equestrian stables, an a walking group. I’m not sure about the rumours about all the pampas grass, but I’m pretty sure there is one of those clubs as well. The point is: we are known to our neighbours and we care about each other. No one needs to be alone in Maulden, unless they want to be, and if they do, the place is also quiet and discrete.
Maulden has facilities. Yes, we lost our lovely Post Office <sad>, but we have a vibrant Co-op, a blend of other businesses (have a look around: Equisense and about 17 other good local business –http://www.freeindex.co.uk/east_anglia/bedfordshire/maulden/ ). They provide employment, information, and structure to life in the village. We have two pretty good pubs <RIP Black Horse>, and stand a good chance of making that three when the George gets back up. Pubs are really good things to have in an English Village, and we should celebrate and support them. Non-drinker? Then pop in for the food and good coffees. And chat to the people you see in there: odds are you have a lot in common.
Maulden School is a good little school. It has improved under a strong Head Teacher and really committed team of school governors. It is integrated into the local system, and does a good job of educating and socialising our young people. The Maulden School Association (who, I am sure, would appreciate more volunteers) runs some great events, and the school is, quite literally, at the heart of the village.
There we go. It is not “all bad”, in fact it is not even slightly bad. It is mostly good. We just need to work together; first to keep it that way (without becoming a dusty museum), and then to improve it.
Maulden – makes me pretty cheerful.