I know there was an awful lot of feel good neighbourliness in 2012, from jubilee street parties to the buzz of the Olympics and our brilliant medal haul combined with successful hosting. Londoners displayed a strange neighborliness, smiling and chatting to each other for almost no apparent reason.
Of course as the cold and dark of winter set in, this seems now like a million miles away. But strangers continue to smile at me and strike up conversations. And it is all because I am out and about with a baby. Babies somehow break through the big city masks and encourage us to uncover something more relaxed and open in ourselves.
Indeed whenever the baby herself allows a smile to spread across her face - a huge, open mouthed grin which is increasingly becoming a giggle - we comment that it is tempting to give her anything her heart desires (obviously we will try to resist this!) but I do wonder if smiling at those we have need of would bring us more than scowling and complaining. Certainly if I could conjure a smile as heart melting as my daughters I'm sure more could be achieved!
This week yet another London transport passengers' racist rant was caught on cam and an arrest has been made. Perhaps as the city is filled with sparkly lights and roasting chestnuts, some of the warm glow of the summer will have left some residue and people all over London will be sharing smiles and chatting for no reason, not just to those of us schlepping prams around the bus network. How much nicer to hear passengers sharing stories and smiles rather than ranting and shouting, scowling and glaring.


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