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[Word origin: Sshaa GlorynTine GranDiece. Please click incipscuous for word origin]

Today saw snow careening down on us out of a grey and pitiless sky. Not just that; my left contact lens had decided to absent itself sometimes in the night, and rather than watch me sullenly try to find a case for the other one and locate my glasses, the gallant Duncan volunteered his help this weekend to drive the little Polo on the food runs. Dauntless, we got into the car (after madly scraping the windows) and collected 17 whole crates of food from our lovely Morrison’s donors. Pastor Jimmy, who doesn’t even live near Edinburgh, kindly came to help collect the wares and to take high-definition photos for the website. We packed out the cars with the donated food (lots of fruit this time), then went back for a top-up; mostly of tatties and savoy cabbage. The better to fill out the veg bags with some hearty grub!

At the Hollies we met Clive the chef, who was all on his own in the kitchen today because not many people had braved the weather to come in. As Duncan sorted vegetables and fruit into 27 big bags – and Clive began his trademark soup and artisan rolls – I totted up how many people wanted bags and / or hot soup. 27 veg bags were to be given out today, along with 20 soups – and one order of a hot steak pie. This was from a Restalrig client whose cheeky nature has won him (for now) the unique privilege of a special order.

George, who had cancelled a delivery this morning to be with us at our time of need, helped find some nice padded lunch carriers at the local shop. The little plastic containers are good, but we needed to keep the soup hot on deliveries in the freezing temperatures. Today we also had to cope with slippery ice and snow. As we had three big runs to do (and only two cars) we had to improvise because we only have one esky. While Clive cooked, and Duncan sorted, George and I went home to feed and check on my two irrepressibly cute but elderly rescue cats.

HM Romany, so called because at nights he can be Howling Mad at any hour, was curled up cutely right now on the communal heat pad. His younger brother, the naturally cheeky Reiver, jumped from his place beside Romy to besiege us with requests for food and treats. Not for nothing do we say that he is anyone’s for tuna. As the catfood came out so did the foul play, and we had to stand in between them to stop Reiver trying to nick his brother’s food. George expressed surprise that the plump little cat had left half of his own food in order to intimidate Romy into moving aside and allowing him to eat from the other bowl.

‘That’s Reive’s cunning plan’, I explained. ‘To eat all that is edible; and then return to finish off his own food for dessert…’

Once back at the Hollies we encountered the lovely aroma of cooking. We poured ourselves tea from the big metal pot, and sat down for a treat. At 2.30pm the soup and rolls were served to the volunteer team! J Lovely hot vegetables with extra, frost-beating potato. Mine, the soup specially cooked to be devoid of both dairy and onion, had a nice sweet tang to it from all the carrots which Clive had found to flavour it with. Once we were fed the remainder was put into little containers, which went into the esky and the padded bags along with freshly made rolls as soft (but a lot warmer) as the snowdrifts forming outside.

It was decided, after phoning round the usual suspects, that I would do the Musselburgh run on foot with the ever-helpful Adele. We would get the bags dropped off in the front room of a friend and habitual volunteer – Gordon – who was unable to help this week but who still wished the project well. Duncan and Clive would clean up the Hollies and then deliver the rest of East Lothian. Poor George, the only one left, would visit the recipients on the Restalrig and Pilton run alone. Normally we would never consider this. As it happens, this route contains only regulars. Fred could help him deliver some of it, because he lives nearby, and was home today; and after all we were desperately short of helpers this week. Dropped off at Gordon’s, in the road with the biggest number of clients, I called Adele.

The thing about Adele is; she’s always ready to help. And; she knows everybody. Armed with the wheelie trolley from last week and a padded lunch bag, we delivered solidly until it was all done. We did small but essential domestic jobs for some folk, and we chatted with anyone who wanted some quality time. But we ploughed through that run like a hot spoon through butter. Not easy considering we had to pull the trolley up the road because the pavements were too slippery to walk on.

5pm came, along with total darkness and a text from my husband; the clean-up at the Hollies was finally finished (that took a long time with just two of them) and they were just beginning their run! We were about to come to the end of ours, so I put my phone torch on against the ensuing blackness of the stairwell, and we climbed the steps to Adele’s front door. Grateful to finally be in the warm, we piled in for a herbal tea; lemon and ginger! We shamelessly put our feet up while Duncan and Clive delivered the last of the meals – ha ha! J

George returned to Musselburgh first and retrieved me. At Whitecraig, cuddling purry cats, we welcomed Duncan home as he returned after dropping Clive off at is flat. The temperature outside was scary to a brass monkey, but our hearts were warm and so was the living room. Many thanks to all for a brilliant day!

See you next time. God Bless.

Janine. xx

PS: Duncan, who’s a stickler on occasion for numbers, would like to report the following;

171 meals on wheels since we began. 746 food parcels. 917 people fed, including the hostels; all in 16 weeks!


Remember; to donate, volunteer, refer someone, join a (free) cookery class or simply find out more, do call our helpline on 07531 436 389.

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