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The Carrot and Strawberry Blitz

Yesterday I was asked by volunteer Gordon if I could do a feature on one of our recipients, to vary the nature of the blog. This was my experience of trying to do that…

The clouds and rain which greeted us as we drove to the Store meant that at least the windscreen was getting a good wash. I considered soaping up the body of the car, in order to save me a job later. My lovely husband Duncan was up early today, and his back was not too stiff – so he and I both walked into Morrison’s at about quarter to eleven. This is early, as our arrangement specifies eleven. Duncan, with his part-German heritage, immediately set about prematurely rousing the Vegetables manager as he didn’t see the point of waiting for the proper time. As all the green-clad employees noticed his approach they scarpered, heading off to the back of the shop and into the ‘staff’ areas as his mighty footfalls shook the veg on the shelves. Like my cat Reiver, one hears him coming. πŸ’¦πŸ’€πŸƒ

Spying our friend George pointing dolefully at the cafe area, I made my way to him and we bought teas to await the passing of the time. Poor Fred, our West Edinburgh connection, was down with a bug so today it was just the two of us. Gillian the enthusiastic Community Champion was not working today, but we said hello to several other people who see us every week. These folks work behind the cigarette and Customer Service counters, so they can’t hide in the back. (‘Husband-teasing’ alert) for now they are safe; Duncan has not yet learned that they have a tannoy system which can call specific staff to the front of the shop (!) This is because he never paid attention when I showed him how I do it. A bad hunter chases – A good hunter merely waits… β˜•β˜• 😀😀😀

This time last week, we were drinking tea with my friend Natalie, and I was quoting a book. I can now reveal that the book was ‘Bone of Contention’; the third in a huge set of medieval mysteries by the fascinating author Susanna Gregory. The two people who came closest to guessing the exact novel were Deirdre and Jean Baker, who live in Oregon, USA and who receive our Cook-Inn updates by email each week. Fifty points to you both! Although I’m not sure about the rest of the prize. I can’t imagine what state the Morrison’s grapefruit would be in once it arrived… πŸ†πŸπŸ˜²πŸ‘€πŸ‘ƒ

After a nice cuppa, we mooched smugly off to the cigarette counter. A manager, Gordon, sent out word for someone to help us. I asked him if he wanted to be our feature this week, but he said he was shy, and declined a photo opportunity. Never mind; Duncan had finally managed to catch a green person, who had produced eighteen crates (!) All were brimming with fruit and veg, and we hoved off into the car park to check it over. The volunteers who bag up the veg have been telling us that some of the produce each week is ‘a bit far gone’, and has to be relegated straight to the compost heap. So these days, we check it over before we leave the car park. The sun, obviously a late riser today, blazed out now, drying up the puddles created by the downpour and cheering us up no end. I sorted three crates of carrots while George and Duncan handled the assorted veg and fruit, because every other crate held an onion or two. I am like Vincent Price’s most famous character; I avoid these things for my health. Unlike vampires, however, I don’t mind a tan!β˜€β›…πŸ‘πŸ†πŸ…πŸ‡πŸˆ

Clive the chef was at the Hollies with some volunteers for the cooking class. Adele, Gordon and Susan were already busy in the kitchen. A new man was there – Pascoe. He is a musician, who plays the piano and who heard of Cook-Inn just recently from Clive. I showed him the website on my phone, while introductions were made. Pascoe’s current job was chopping veg, and when Clive took a goodly portion of the donated carrots into the chopping area it was obvious what his next task would be. George and I poured tea for folk. The boys started on the 26 veg bags for this week, while I sorted through three crates of (mostly squishy) strawberries.πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“

Covered in red, along with the counter and the floor, we designated what was for compost and what could be eaten. A small bowl went to the hardworking cooks while we divvied up the rest for delivery later. George and I sped home to feed my two cute rescue cats, Reiver and Romany. Cat fans will be pleased to know they are both doing well in their old age. πŸ˜ƒ

Duncan joined the kitchen crew. Cooking smells including onion had begun wafting around the Hollies, so it was high time I vacated the premises anyway. 😸😺

Soup time arrived, and Joram and Feston along with it. Both these lovely people had cars, which meant that I wouldn’t be doing three runs this afternoon after all. We would all get one each. This limited the number of potential interviewees, but it means I get home before I fall asleep where I drop(!) We all sat down to eat, with Adele sharing out the ‘special’ onion and dairy-free soup for just the two of us. Clive saved a roll for me, which had seen no butter. This week Clive had even cooked ‘Jerk’ chicken, which combined with the rest of the meal and was lovely! πŸ”πŸ”πŸ”

Feston took Susan’s run (and took Susan too), while Joram took Adele with her usual big run. This left Duncan to go to Pilton to drop off Fred’s run to his family for its subsequent delivery around the area. George and I would have to interview someone in Wallyford or Prestonpans. Camera at the ready, we sped off. πŸš—

Our first recipient, a cheerful older man with diabetes, seemed to be out. We initially left the food by his doorstep hidden behind something big and shady. But his neighbour revealed that sadly he had passed away this week, and all his friends were upset. Wordlessly we handed out the remaining soup and food bags to the regular recipients, and we decided that this week’s ‘feature’ would be a tribute. To protect his family’s identity we will not reveal his name, but in Prestonpans there used to live a great older guy who had a good sense of humour. He was kind to his friends and family. He always returned his bags and soup containers, always had a smile and a nice word to say to the delivery volunteers. His family loved him, and some are volunteers on the project. All the Cook-Inn crew will miss this gentleman, and we are sorry for the loss. God bless, Mr L; see you in a better place.

And God bless all who read my blogs. See you next week.

Janine. xx

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Cook-Inn helpline no: 07531 436 389. Please also visit the Cook-Inn website and Facebook page.

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