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Christmas Eve Bounty!

(Week 11.5; We got an extra festive donation from Morrison’s on Friday. 10 food parcels were delivered by Duncan on Saturday morning).

Week 12.  Containing friendship and good grub…

This week was unusual because we had 2 Morrison’s collections. What’s more, as we crowded into the store on Sunday morning we were met by a lovely assistant called Iona, who has been following our weekly updates and who had gone out and bought 2 big bags of food out of her own money to donate to us. Well done Iona. Many thanks and Merry Christmas! J We made sure the food got given a nice new home.

6 crates came to us as well, today (8 on Friday) so we indeed had a monster delivery to perform. Excitedly we rushed to join Clive the chef, who was preparing the kitchen at the Hollies. He immediately began boiling water, and other tasks related to festive food creation. I drove off to feed hungry cats. The two of them were lounging about and cuddling on the heat pad I leave for them on the sofa, but they got up when they realised something edible was about to happen.

After the small piles of cat food had been demolished (even by ‘HM’ Romany, who often is a fussy eater) I set about delivering Christmas cards to everyone in my cul de sac. A festive tradition which we engage in every year, and I had to hurry as this was the last day to do it. Blackbirds hung from every branch and every roof as I exited the house, looking dolefully at me. ‘You haven’t fed us’ they seemed to say. After the cards were delivered I took out some food, broke it into beak-size pieces and left it hurriedly on the wood stores. As soon as I was out of the garden I heard them landing heavily on the store’s roof, presumably munching happily. A wave to Jim over the road and I was off again. As I got back to the Hollies I saw Susan stirring a pot diligently, and I realised my timing was perfect. Grub was about to be up! We got teas and settled round the table. Clive thanked God for the food before us, and for the huge donations still to be delivered. Then all that could be heard was us munching!

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As we had only one car again this week, I was dropped off with around half of the bags and soups (safely stored hot in the esky) to deliver the big Musselburgh run. Firstly my lovely husband Duncan carried all the bags into Gordon’s hall, from where they would be shifted to their eventual destinations. Each bag sported a Christmas card and a wee box of mince pies. Ann, our celiac recipient, had the ‘Freefrom’ version in her bag. To save confusion we delivered to her first.  Her lovely dark tabby cat just couldn’t decide whether to leave with us or to hang around in the warm. She followed me out for a stroke, then ran back in as the chill wind hit her. I had made friends with the puss over the last few weeks and was happy to see how well she remembered us.

The next man let me switch on his festive lights, which brought a twinkle to the darkening streets. As we went round, delivering food and collecting last week’s containers, the thrill of Christmas seemed to echo in the windows of every home. We delivered to the last house and headed up to Adele’s for a cuppa., using my phone to light the way as the stair hadn’t switched on yet. We had a braw chat until we were joined by Duncan, who had been delivering with Clive.

“That’s 19 hot meals, and 27 food parcels, just today” he announced proudly. “344 gifts of food in the 12 weeks we’ve been operating”. Duncan had driven to Prestonpans, Restalrig, Granton and Pilton. We don’t often do West Edinburgh but there were emergency referrals late last week. One was a family of 6 who found themselves suddenly in crisis. What a bad time to be in dire financial trouble! We wished we had toys for the children. In time, we hope to set up a more local branch of the project; ‘Cook-Inn Granton’ for instance. Anyone wishing to join, please call 07531 436 389 for information.

Duncan gave a big, exhausted smile; then settled on the couch to blether about some of his youthful experiences in Edinburgh and Germany with Adele. Adele talked about her childhood in Scotland, and I compared it to my own early years in London. Scotland sounded the best overall, although with the advent of computers it’s all different now. Children can connect through video games and never meet. It’s an alien concept.

Clive had gone on to prepare some goodies to make a friend’s Christmas a special one. He gives his time for free each Sunday, and we gratefully hope he has a good Christmas rest! Thanks also to Gordon; who gave up his living room yet again for the afternoon, and helps us deliver the Musselburgh run. To Adele, whose organisational skills and detailed knowledge of the area mean that nobody in Musselburgh who is in need gets missed. To the lovely Susan; a retired chef who cooks great food with Clive. To Duncan, whose big heart seems to touch everyone in the world.  And to all of you, dear readers; some of whom have volunteered, donated, referred or even just shown an interest in these tales. They give a tiny glimpse into the lives of people around you. Through such connections, especially at Christmas, the world is renewed.

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