Today saw us collecting food in the brightest sun imaginable. Suddenly four people with cars materialised helpfully at Morrison’s.
Because we all had a wonderful day, finished on time and maybe even got a tan – let me concentrate for a change on one of our number, who has no vehicle. He has several health concerns, and many dependent family members – including one dog and five cats – but every week he climbs on three different buses to help load up the vegetable bags. He is a jewel in our crown, and his name is Fred.
Fred lives nowhere near Cook-Inn’s Musselburgh base. He and his extended family live in the Granton area, with some adult children still at home; some nearby, and one or two far away in different cities. He heard about the project from long-time friend and I, the Cook-Inn fanatic. Every Sunday night when I write the blogs I send him an email copy, and Fred and his family talked about it at length before he agreed to take time out of his family responsibilities to regularly come and help.
Early on Sunday morning, Fred is awaiting buses. Along with Clive our chef, who reaches the Hollies by 10:00 am from a different part of town – Fred braves ice and snow, rain and wind to catch bus after bus until he reaches the other side of Edinburgh. The journey takes him at least an hour and a half and includes long interludes standing in the cold when buses are slow to arrive. Upon reaching Morrison’s he awaits me in the doorway, often greeting other volunteers as they arrive and making them feel welcome. As the cars arrive, Fred makes his way to the Customer Service desk where I join him.
Whoever is serving on the day, we ask about the food for collection. If it is ready we zoom off to get the veg manager to load it onto a trolley and okay it with security that we take it out to the cars. If there will be a wait, we often head off to the cafe, as we did today. There to be served with a nice cup of tea while somebody runs to the back of the store to ask for us. Some days it is such a huge pile, I need help to steer it out of the doors. Other times it can be fitted into a trolley. Today it was the latter, and we hared round the corner to the trolley park, and I looked for a pound coin to get us some wheels. Fred produced a trolley token.
Loading up, the lovely Linda volunteered to take the load to the Hollies for us. Before we followed on, we decided a little top-up would grease the wheels for the veg bag packers, who earnestly try to fill the bags with as much balance as possible. Spuds and cabbage was today’s addition which was finally carried back to the little polo. Clive at the Hollies had prepared two lovely huge flasks of hot water, all the better for us to create the beverage of our choice as we entered. Better than five-star service, Clive is. Once the tea was poured we talked with our brilliant Pastor, Jimmy, about how best to progress Cook-Inn as a charity. We are getting noticed as a group now, and rules about publicity and other stuff have to be followed. Watch this space.
Clive had finished making the soup by the time we had finished our discussion, and the veg bags as well. Adele, who had arranged to help Clive in the morning today as well as do the Musselburgh run, had carefully made a small pot of dairy and onion-free soup for the two of us to enjoy. We all gladly tucked in before she left with George to deliver hot food and veg to her long list of folk needing food. Before we had finished cleaning up in the kitchen with the help of the newly arrived Susan, they had returned! Somehow they had whizzed round to all the houses super fast. Pastor Jimmy had taken Fred home, performing the Pilton run at the same time and leaving Fred with extra bags to deliver later to some of his elderly and infirm neighbours. Fred has researched and created his own little run. To save us spending time on the other side of town he goes round with a wheeled trolley to the people in his area that he knows need help the most. While we were delivering to Susan’s recipients and the rest of East Lothian, Fred will have been planning and executing his own Cook-Inn run on the other side of town.
George and I finished off the last few deliveries in Prestonpans and Wallyford, after the ever-helpful Clive had seen the crates back safely to Morrison’s and finally headed off to his own neck of the woods. I went home to see my husband and my lovely cats, and to write up the events of the day.
Best wishes to all our followers, and tune in next week for the next tasty instalment. God bless.