As I left the house en route to the Store, The beautiful dazzle of sunlight greeted me. What a wonderful sight after two weeks feeling like we were in Greenland! Clad in a light jacket I turned the radio up and cruised to Piersfield Morrisons.
George and Joram met me, both as happy as I was to be in the sun instead of sheltering from a blizzard. This week, after fearing that there was almost no donation at all, The lovely Gillian (Morrisons’ Community Champion) came out with twelve full crates of veg and – mostly – fruit. After a little top-up, we began to plan; in addition to the usual fayre, today we were given a huge quantity of nuts!
On the way out we dropped off a fruit and veg bag to the Big Issue seller at the door of the store. She speaks English only as a second language, and has children to support. We were even able to add a wee bag of pistachios for a treat!
The Hollies – lovingly prepared as usual by our stalwart chef, Clive – contained flasks of hot water with tea bags and other, beverage-centred accoutrements. All ready for our use! He knows the way to a woman’s heart, that one. I had a cup of tea and a Ginger Nut to keep me company as I started to divvy out the runs. Adele, who had come in on foot to begin the day in the kitchens, helped measure out the 30-odd bags fairly while ‘kitchen porter’ Gordon caught a wee five minutes with a cuppa and a cake.
As we had a new hostel to deliver to, and were unsure of just how many recipients would be present – George and I (in the current absence of other, non-driving people) went to deliver the Restalrig and Pilton run. On the way I called our Restalrig man, leaving the bag in a secret place when he revealed he wouldn’t get home in time. Once through the interminably long traffic jams we reached the hostel, to find it easier than we thought. The gorgeous and very switched-on support worker, Melda, offered to take the donations and distribute them fairly. Thinking we had made up time, we finished the rest of the run and gratefully headed back to the Hollies.
Whoa! Upon arrival we discovered that, because the clocks had gone forward last night and we hadn’t altered the car display, it was actually 3pm already! We had been confidently thinking that the 2pm soup was just about to be served – it was gone, along with the bags and soup for two of the three remaining runs. Joram and another friend, Banwell, had come to assist and had taken Adele with them. Using the big list we had left on the table, even as we eyed the remaining hot food they were kindly delivering a fair amount of the goods. Clive, being practical, served us both soup from the still-untouched ‘allergen-free’ saucepan which he always makes separately for me. It was lovely!
The last run was to Wallyford and Prestonpans. We loaded George’s car with that, and while the diligent Clive began cleaning up the Hollies we delivered the run. The sun beat down, blessing us with amazing warmth for a March that so recently had been frozen over.
Returning to base, Clive has almost finished. I swept the floors while George filled my car with the crates loaned us by Morrison’s. They had to be taken back tonight. More because they filled the car to bursting point than because Morrison’s wanted them back! George gave Clive a lift home while I parked up, borrowed a wheelie-trolley and deposited the huge pile of awkward green crates onto it. This way they could just be rolled with a little care into the store, instead of carried in laboriously. The Big Issue seller had gone by now, and I hoped she’d had a good day. Waving my thanks cheerfully at the woman on Customer Service, I returned to where I’d parked the Polo and – still in brilliant sunlight (after 6pm)! – I headed home to see those two gorgeous cats…
Take care, everyone. See you next week. God bless.
Cook-Inn helpline number; 07531 436 389. Please call to donate, refer or volunteer.