Letter Thirteen

Welcome welcome!

To the land of green parks with ducks to be fed and strong metal safety-checked swings that you can trust.

Welcome welcome!

To the schools where your younger children will find creativity, colourful plastic, abundant stationery, learning through play, and free hot meals… but your teenagers will be perplexed by rudeness. They’ll be known as “EAL” which means they have the gift of more than one language. Keep them proud of their home tongue and culture, explain to school properly how to pronounce their names, their teachers can learn.

Welcome welcome!

To charity shops, Poundland, Iceland and Lidl… there are markets too but we seldom negotiate over price and the cucumbers are mysteriously straight. You’ll find dates, spice and lentils in the ‘world food’ aisle; rice near the pasta.

Welcome welcome !

To the land of drinkable tap water. Perhaps you’ll remind us to appreciate this.

Welcome welcome!

To libraries where you can chat, learn nursery rhymes and use computers… and the wifi is free. Please make them your home from home… far from home. Your daughters will meet Jacqueline Wilson and your sons, dinosaurs and trains (though we feel strongly that girls can like them too). They’ll love Handa’s Surprise and Tom Gates and Allan Ahlberg.
Welcome welcome!
To the land of mysterious signs where gaps must be minded, pigeons must not be fed, dogs must be ‘picked up after’ and where “produce a specimen sample” means “wee in the pot”. Perhaps you’ll help us to talk to one another clearly.

Welcome welcome!

To the land where people seem to love animals and go shopping for dog food, pay to insure them and even buy coats for them… but yell at their children at bus stops or rush tiny babies off to nurseries. Where elderly donkeys have pastures to trot happily but elderly neighbours are forgotten. Perhaps you can remind us of gentle care and cherishing for our old and young.

Welcome. You’ll find much here to love and much to mourn. May you find peace.

Rosie Edser, London, Primary School Teacher

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