being a parishioner

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18/05/2017 by Carl Reynolds


Not til I had settled into Brixham and started to help with issues around the local sea pool, did I begin to glean an understanding of the word, parochial. Like many words in English it has one literal meaning and a host of since developed meanings. At its bitterest, it means small minded, petty, obsessed with the minutae but not the bigger picture, conservative with a small ‘c’ and so on. And while Brixham is place where more of those who bother to, vote Conservative, it is also a place of innovation, enterprise and social action. It’s no surprise that the Borough doesn’t sweep my street, because it doesn’t need sweeping. The odd careless deposit of detritus is picked up by one or other of my neighbours. A focus on the particular, the local, the immediate can also be framed as parochial. And this is the definition which has proved more useful than the derogatory one. Back to the pool.

I sit on a voluntary board of six people. We are not just the group responsible for strategy and finance, but we are also, due to a paucity of funds, activists. We all do things, to differing degrees and depths, to keep it open and running. With other directors, I’ve been trying to build events, develop merchandise, our on-line presence and co-run an engagement on developing the pool site. The first three are easy and so far pretty successful; the latter brings me to the edge of teetering back into a less generous understanding of parochial. So far, I have escaped this temptation to vent my spleen. Because it is also an exercise in my practice as a mediator/facilitator. Don’t tell people why you disagree; ask them why they think the way they do. A Socratic or dialogic approach. Let’s me get to sleep better frankly. And at the end of the day; if the nay-sayers are in the majority and the pool sinks back in the sea whence it came, I have a whole wide Earth embracing ocean to swim in.

If any of you reading this, in Brixham or hereabouts, know of some non-controversial ways to develop revenue streams, you know how to contact me. I’ll be listening. In the meantime check out


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Places to swim etc


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