Updated: Sep 6, 2018
The incessant rain stopped just as Pussy Riot took to the stage at a sodden Greenbelt late on Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon. An eagerly anticipated high point of the weekend arts and faith festival, and of course the moment when as a member of the Safeguarding Team I was called away. I returned to the main stage an hour or so later just in time to hear Pussy Riot tell us what a great audience we had been. C'est la vie! Evidently their heady brew of punk and politics laced with parentally advisable lyrics went down well with the anorak clad crowd.
Then it rained later and I started to harbour thoughts about my car getting stuck late at night in a muddy field, but all was well as I slipped on the gravel track and was away.
Talking about the weather is quintessentially British, and sharing your thoughts about what you and others are experiencing is always a good icebreaker. We have had a lot of weather to discuss this year from snow in March to scorching summer temperatures, and as we settle into a pleasant and relatively settled late summer period - at least in London - we can perhaps breathe a sigh of relief. Equally we may be less likely to talk to a stranger as we will have no shared context of weather related adversity.
But there's a lesson here about being prepared to listen and respond in the most unlikely situations, when everyone else is having great fun, yet when something, often quite innocuously, has touched someone in an unexpected way. Experience suggests it doesn't matter whether it's rain or shine - it's maybe about just being in a place where it seems safe to talk to strangers. In other cases it's about taking responsibility for spotting something that doesn't seem quite right, telling someone about it and considering whether an intervention is required or not.
So next time it's raining on your parade, your anorak is soaked through and your boots are caked in mud, just keep a lookout for the person who is not simply interested in keeping dry.
Oh, and for regular readers, the Selhurst Park Safeguarding Steward has a white hi-vis waistcoat this season. And he wears a white shirt and tie. Promotion or higher status for safeguarding? We shall see!