There is, all around us, a hidden Britain. Every day, hundreds of clubs, societies, gatherings of friends, groups of people who've never met before, are getting together for events, meetings, round tables, and to do, well, things.
Get pregnant, and suddenly you'll discover a network of baby groups, baby massage, parent and baby yoga, splash-babes, bash-babes, women selling washable nappies, people with cots going spare, coffee morning, tea and cake afternoon, shops hiding in plain sight, and more.
Extreme example, you say? Join a sports club, any sports club, and you'll tap into a previously unknown network of playing fields, training sessions, leagues, competitions, club houses, and on and on.
When Pete and I were much younger and more foolish than we are now, we tried to estimate how many people where making their own comics or magazines, extrapolating from the people we knew and the people they knew and so on. We came to realise that there really was no upper limit - right now, your next-door neighbour could be photocopying fifty copies of the science fiction poetry anthology they edit and you would never know.
Occasionally, you might catch little glimpses of this parallel land, a discarded leaflet here, an overheard word there, or, more concretely, items like this filler piece from a local Leicestershire paper :
Thanks to my eagle-eyed chum Mike.