How to Volunteer and What’s Good about it?

The Begonias are making an effort. In summer they will do a takeover bid, swamping everything nearby, but in winter they are welcome. Collapsing under the weight of frost one minute and presenting bright pink flowers the next, Begonias are a symbol of caution.

Begonia flowering in January Frost
What to do about Caution

This house contains a care worker, teachers and over 60’s, so caution rules mean: ‘NOBODY MUST BREATHE IN THE SAME ROOM AT THE SAME TIME’. and we ‘NEVER PASS ON THE STAIRS’.  Now I know why passing on the stairs is said to bring bad luck.

We have come a long way. In March I thought the virus lived in heaps on the banisters and could leap up to attack. Only boiling bleach would solve this. The once glossy banister bears the scars to this day. 

Worn Banisters

Note scars on the banister, and how nice the cat looks against the carpet. Matching colours are important.

In March I didn’t go out because caution whispered in my ear that the virus was probably lying on the pavement and might crawl onto my shoes. Now I get out more because I stumbled across the world of volunteering.

What is volunteering?

It is something to do, if you have free time. Somebody else organises everything and it’s a refreshing change from online yoga, or zoom classes about how to paint donkeys. A bonus is that other people benefit as well. I found two ways to do it.

Meal deliveries

At the end of a relaxing summer, I wandered into the village hall, tempted by a sign. ‘Community Engagement Day’ sounded fun. Friendly co-ordinators introduced me to their volunteer network and the hot meal delivery system.

Two forms later I was on a rota and became Important. A couple of times a week I get to pick up the meals, cooked by more important people, and deliver. It has rewards.    

  • Whoever gets the food thinks that you did all the hard work yourself, so they say thank you a lot.
  • They are always good for a chat, so you make new friends.
  • It satisfies nosiness. Every week you get to permission to sniff about outside different houses.
  • At Christmas, they give you presents. So you take them back to the kitchen workers, and then they have to say thank you as well.
Call companion

This began with deciding to change the world and end loneliness. I wondered what could be done and discovered that professional organisations already do things. There are a some that arrange telephone friends for anyone who is lonely and housebound so I decided to join in with that. Easier than changing the world single handed.

After a few more forms, I was given my companion.

She is 85 and shielding in sheltered accommodation. Her children are annoying and her carer only comes once a week so she is pretty much alone. She is chatty and opinionated. 

She has explained why Brexit had to happen and told me that she does not mind foreigners, but that they should not come over here and take our jobs and homes. We have discussed the fact that the virus is a pack of lies and the vaccine is not to be trusted. She announced that Trump knows his stuff but that Joe Biden is not OK because he is working with the Chinese, who are going to take over the world.

I tried arguing, but she is better at that than me, so now I agree with everything she says. Then we get onto the good bits. Anything from what it was like being a child in World War 2 to nursing in the 1950’s. Not sure how changing the world comes into it any more, but I obviously needed the company.

Think I will let the world get on and change itself and stick to three hours of volunteering a week. It is win-win all the way.

Rats in the chicken house

Rats are digging tunnels into the chicken house. It is a constant battle. I block the holes with bricks, the rats dig round the bricks and new holes appear. Lose-Lose so far.  What do they want?  To steal eggs? Idiots, there are no eggs. It is like a game, every day I have to ‘find the new hole and block it’. This one arrived today.

Rat in the Hen House

The cat toy is to help you envisage the situation. Real rats don’t have such pink ears.

Rat in the Hen House

If that pretend rat was a real rat, imagine the damage it could do to the chicken.

Christmas sloped off quietly.  Upstaged this year by mutations, the extraordinary Donald Trump show and ever shocking news from the front line. I spotted this little sign of hope on 12th night. 

NHS vaccination sign

And here is the cat, considering the end of Christmas and waiting to see what happens next.

Cat and Christmas decorations

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