Morrison’s today was bereft of many familiar faces, as the holiday season and the transfer of Tam the Veg manager began to hit home. Nevertheless, a helpful warehouseman scoured out the cupboards – and nine crates-worth of fruit, veg and pre-packaged sauces wheeled their way out of the double doors, pushed eagerly by the delectable Duncan, followed by kind friends Fred and George. Grateful for the dryness of the grey morning, we sorted the stuff into three piles; Good to give (happily, this is by far the biggest pile), smashed in transit, and the in-between pile which we could use for cooking and preserving. No doubt fazed by the challenge of the overcast day, and the further threat of the dark milling clouds, nobody stopped today for a chat as they often do. Noticing Duncan shoving a crate into the back of the car which was brimming with onions, I announced my intention to travel with George in his swift, black buggy – leaving poor Fred to endure the smell from the Polo’s passenger seat. Blowing a raspberry at my unrepentant husband, we veered off to go the quick way – then we decided Romy the cat needed some new grub, and so we fed my cute, hungry animals – and then we visited the pet store en route.
Bags of cat litter bounced into the trolley once I found a token to free it from its brethren. George and I selected some novel-looking catfood, hoping my wee thin lad Romy would take to it. With a fading sense of smell and a fading kidney, he has trouble getting enthusiastic for the same grub, time after time. Not so his ‘little’ brother Reiver, who would be as big as a house by now if can openers could be operated by eager paws. Reive has a reaction to an ingredient called ‘various sugars’ so anything containing this must be put aside somewhere the clumsy cat won’t reach, and fed exclusively to Romany. Reive might get the dregs, but he can cope with that. Satisfied, we made for the Hollies – and for a cup of tea!
Onions poked out of almost every bag, which Duncan and Fred were diligently preparing. Gratified to learn that they were nearly finished bagging up, we poured a cuppa each and discussed the soups with our chef, Clive. This week we have another new family to feed, and one member of this family had shyly admitted to multiple allergies. This is why the foodbank for them has only limited usefulness. Dairy, Gluten, garlic and other foods must be kept well away from this recipient. Clive, who is used to dealing with me (Queen of allergics) was not fazed for a minute. He even undertook to cook three different soups, though the new girl and I could have shared; this meant a big pot of ‘normal’ soup, a wee pot of lentil broth for me, and a third pot for the new person. This because she does not use lentils, and I can still have a few every now and then. Personally, I thought Clive must be a glutton for punishment. This did not stop me enjoying the lentil soup when it arrived, though – and a fresh-made roll as well!
Loading the little polo up with the pet accoutrements, and its load of hot soups and veg bags, I took a moment to chat to our volunteer Joram. He kindly gives his time on a Sunday afternoon to deliver food to the Musselburgh recipients, and then goes home to his lovely wife – who is still recovering from a car accident some months ago. Asking his permission for me to feature him this week, I learned that he and his wife arrived here from Zimbabwe. Joram himself spent a year here in 2002, and then they both came for the duration in 2011. A lifetime gardener and vegetable producer, Joram relocated to Scotland with relative permanence when his son left the NHS and struck out in business for himself. With Joram’s help he found success. In Zimbabwe, I discovered, the money just isn’t in the banks when you come to take it out; due to an unstable economy, even a rich person might only get a few pounds allotted to them each day, as cashflow is routinely very difficult. A beautiful land with lots of sun and agreeable temperatures, almost anything will grow there – regardless of the seasons. In Scotland we need a greenhouse, heaters, vents and plant lights to carry some crops through to maturity because of the short growing season. Then again, we almost never run out of water! This has its own advantages, both to a garden and a population. Something I will consider next time I get an unexpected drenching.
Joram left to help Adele, the pedestrian powerhouse, with her large run in Musselburgh. George and Fred dropped off the food for the new household, and afterwards carried out the Restalrig and Pilton deliveries. Duncan and I zoomed round Wallyford and Prestonpans, then attempted the second Musselburgh run. Susan – who had finished cleaning up the kitchen and reached her home before us – was in to receive the bags for her extended family and for the neighbours we hadn’t managed to catch at their homes. Word was that Joram and Clive had agreed to do some gardening for some of the older people on Adele’s run – see the versatile nature of the Cook-Inn project? – and so Duncan and I turned our sights towards home, there to reunite with our gorgeous animals and to write this blog!
God bless all; have a happy week.
Janine with Duncan, Romany and Reiver. xx
Cook-Inn helpline: 07531 436 389. Website; www.cook-inn.co.uk. Also on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.