It has to be remembered that I live a comparatively quiet life. Or try to. But then every so often things get out of hand. This is normally because I’m in the right place at the wrong time. Like this evening. Our town has a foodbank. It’s really well run and the community support it to the hilt. Anyway it doesn’t just get donations from individuals, but local firms support it as well.
One company that supports a lot of charities is the company, Greggs. They’re a firm I’ve got a lot of time for. On two evenings a week, it’s the foodbank’s turn to go and collect the stuff they haven’t sold and is safe to share out. And this evening it was my turn to do the collection.
Actually the Greggs delivery is very useful for a foodbank. Some people come in who are genuinely hungry. Well you can give them a couple of sandwiches and a cuppa whilst they wait. Or if somebody seems a bit upset, one of our volunteers can sit down with them and have a coffee and a doughnut and a chat. A lot of the work of a foodbank isn’t just feeding people, it’s finding out why they need us in the first place and working out how we can help them. Sometimes it’s just a case of making sure they know the right department to contact, or putting them in touch with Citizens Advice. Just feeding somebody is never the entire answer. As Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.”
I parked in a handy carpark, walked to the first Greggs shop, gave them back the trays we took last time, collected the goodies and took them back to the car. Then, given it was chucking it down, I drove to the next Greggs. They shut half an hour later, so I took it their empty trays for them and sat in a loading bay behind the shop and waited. In due course the lady came out with a couple more trays. I loaded them, thanked her, got back in my car and it refused point blank to start.
So at this point I phoned home and my lady wife found my jump-leads and came out to rescue me.
Now I was supposed to be back home for my tea, so was ravenous. And I’m sitting in a car full of sandwiches, bakes, sausage rolls and doughnuts etc, and I didn’t want to eat anything and spoil my tea!
My rescuer arrived. Now her car is newer than mine and is ‘blessed’ with more ‘features’, none of which we wanted. One is obvious only when you try to get to the battery. One of the terminals is tucked away under a ledge of some sort. Now my jump-leads are heavy duty, agricultural, and you could use them for starting a tractor, a lorry, or even a tank. But anyway I got the crocodile clip squeezed through the gap and onto the terminal with only a purely nominal amount of cursing. The leads connected, she started her car. I turned the key and mine started beautifully. So we took both cars home, transferred all the Greggs trays into her car and I drove that back to deliver it to the foodbank.
Now obviously the foodbank is closed in the evening. To get in you have to press the buttons in the right order and this allows you to access the key. Except it’s as black as the ace of spades down there, and I’d have to have a torch and my reading glasses on to read the buttons. So if the church hall is open, I slip in through there, down to the foodbank and then leave by the foodbank door.
Now by this time I was an hour later than I would normally be, and the church hall was obviously in use. So carrying a tray of assorted goodies, I tiptoed in. Now let us not beat about the bush here, there was absolutely no need to tiptoe. The church hall was full of at least a score of young women in leotards, dancing, or exercising, to loud music with a driving beat. Each of them had a pair of drumsticks with which she would beat the floor in time to the music. They were following the example and were encouraged by the exhortations of the equally lithe and leotard clad lady on the stage. I made my way cautiously around the periphery of the group. I say cautiously because I was approaching them from behind and some of the dance moves involved wide arm movements, and I didn’t really feel the need to be beaten with drumsticks.
Not only that but I’ve got all this Greggs stuff that I’m carrying and I didn’t really want to go down under a mound of doughnuts.
Still I passed through without anybody missing a beat. Mind you I do wonder if any of them wondered what the dickens I was doing there.
And I’ve got some news for you. The first three ‘dog and quad’ books are now available from Amazon in paperback!
And sometimes I just sits?
Fancy meeting you here