When ‘Brian’s’, our local chippy, served its last cod, chips and mushy peas, the community (well, our house) went into deep shock. Friday nights queuing out into the street with the rest of the neighbourhood wouldn’t be the same. The experience of lifting the kids up to admire the photos on the walls of Brian holding huge Carp caught on his holidays in Spain and Ireland, dismissed to folklore. To make the situation worse, the shop was to become yet another Chinese take away.
Here we have a microcosm of any change process. In a community of many disparate souls united around their routine of Friday night feasting there was disarray; ‘but this is the way we do it round here’. Only traditional fish supper will do the job. Our minds are set.
They are of course set by the ‘us’ under the influence of our family, friends and neighbours. We talk endlessly of tradition, our way of life. We tell stories of the good old days when Brian used the Daily Mail to wrap our chips. How, at one time, you could turn up with a plate and get a Sunday lunch with cabbage. The stories we told got more outraged and outrageous (I don’t remember the cabbage; I’m sure there was only mushy peas and curry sauce myself, but I went along with it). Pensioners, students, professionals, children, families, even whole streets were as one, steadfastly in support of our mindset.
Mindset rule 1: Mindset is always subjectively created
Mindset rule 2: The creator is the individual themselves
‘Wok this Way’ duly opened. To start with only the local student population could bring themselves to visit. However, they were soon joined (the following week in fact) by the rest of us. The spectacle of the photos was replaced by a state of the art kitchen where the assembled throng queuing in the street could watch through the window, two Chinese Chefs ‘wokking’ away. Steam, smoke and the occasional flame had us gasping like a crowd on Bonfire night. Pure theatre – and fine Chow Mien! A new story; a new Mindset.