News & Tips

Ann’s natter

Challenge.  Now there’s an interesting word.  It even starts with a hard sound.  For me, the challenge this month has been to keep positive throughout all the sadness and tragedy that has struck.  The comfort has been to see the kindness and support offered by so many people.  I know we’ve already had Volunteers Awareness Day but just look at what’s has been achieved by hundreds in a multitude of ways.

On to more usual things and starting with ‘leftovers’ from May, it seems ages ago, but on the 27th, my granddaughter came home from university in Wales for her birthday celebration. As usual, it was a wonderful family affair and lovely to see how she’s blossomed and is enjoying her new life. Then, on the 30th, I was finally discharged from the eye hospital following the removal of my other cataract, so I now have 100% perfect vision and only need reading glasses.  Of course, I now never leave the house without full war-paint, especially eye makeup.

A belated Happy Birthday to our Julie, who celebrated her birthday during June.  I have it on good authority and indeed, have the photographic evidence, that a large amount of cake was included in the party.  Well, it’s not a proper party without cake, is it? And on the subject of Julie, other good news.  Even more GP surgeries in Birmingham are including the FABS exercise programme free of charge to patients with COPD.  This is wonderful on so many levels.  Might it reduce the amount of medication? I don’t know but anything to make people feel better has got to be a plus and there is also the social aspect and being with others who understand the problems associated with this condition.  How Julie has resisted the temptation to say, “I told you so”, to the medics I can’t imagine. Of course she’s right.  We all know that, don’t we?  And a new website has been launched:  Go on, have a look – you might be featured!

24th July is The Samaritans Awareness Day. They take a call every six seconds.  I’ve been to one of their hubs and sat in the operations room while the volunteers took the calls. I’ve never forgotten how calm the atmosphere was although I could hear quite clearly that some conversations involved life and death situations. I’m not sure how these brave people continue to pick up the ‘phone, never knowing what they are going to hear from the caller.

On the 14th June I was in the audience when a talk was given by a fundraiser working for the Midlands Air Ambulance.  This is another charity. It operates three helicopters and it takes £7 million per year to operate – never mind about the day to day running costs.  They have no government or lottery fund and rely on donations and really imaginative fundraising ventures.  Their shop in my local town is a favourite with me. Yet another example of the voluntary sector.

So how did you manage in the mid-month heatwave?  All kinds of high temperature records were broken.  I feel the cold very badly and always look forward to warmer days but even I found it hard to keep going. I’ve heard all sorts of stories about how people have tried to keep cool.  A neighbour has a paddling pool for her dogs and couldn’t resist the temptation to join them one day.  I’d have liked a photo of that!  However, as I type this, the rain has arrived and the temperature has dropped so it’s back to ‘normal’ I expect.  At least I won’t be watering the garden this evening.  On the subject of water, we had a bit of a local problem with pressure during the heat.  It made me realise how lucky we are.  Ok, so the shower was just a bit of a dribble but I could still turn the tap on and get fresh water to drink. It took me back to the wartime when the only option often was to have a wash down at the sink if bombing raids had fractured a water main.  We’d certainly never heard of showers then.

I expect you’ve already noted that 21st of the month was the longest day.  I feel as though I’m constantly running after the days trying to keep up.  It hardly seems possible that we’ve already reached the ‘top’ of the year but it must be so.  I sent a friend home with a whole pound of strawberries that we’d picked in the garden.  I was so excited.  Yes, I know, sad isn’t it!!  I see that we’re now being bombarded with adverts advising that it would be a good idea to buy school uniforms ready for September before we go on our summer holidays.  Surely it can’t be too long before Christmas cards are in the shops.

Life’s odd, isn’t it?  Made up of all sorts of ingredients.  For me, May was full of large, important events.  Here we are, at the end of June and this month has been much more relaxed.  I’d say it’s been the smaller mosaics of experiences; helping friends who are facing challenges together with the pleasures of just enjoying the home I call my haven along with all my usual activities.  Today, I’ve spent the morning cooking and this afternoon, my daughter and a friend are coming for a cuppa. I expect we’ll just chat about everything.  It reminds me of a Lewis Carroll poem – ‘Shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings, and why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings’.  Yes, nonsense really but not too far removed from a lot of ramblings that go on in my life!

So, fellow Movers, I hope I leave you in good spirits looking forward to July.

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