Today, when I stepped out to drive to Morrison’s, there was a whiteout!
Not a snowy wasteland, as was there last week. This was a Har – a Scots phenomenon which makes it hard to drive over 15 miles an hour, even with full beam headlights. I sent up a little prayer that I would be safe on the roads today, much like one said by the great HM Murdock in ‘the A Team’ whenever he flew a plane.
“Dear God,” he would begin; “Your sky is so big, and my plane is so crummy. Please don’t let me ‘eat’ it!”
-Having secured my future largely thus, I gingerly looked left and right – then edged out of my cul de sac.
Surprisingly, other traffic seemed to recognise the dangers inherent in low visibility. This is not always the case when road conditions are less than ideal. Everyone had their lights on, and nobody appeared in too much of a hurry to get there in safety. Drivers; how often does that happen?
Fred and George greeted me at the Store, Fred hobbling. His poor foot was bothering him, but he still came in on multiple buses to help with the day’s collections and deliveries. Gillian was there, fortunately – and she knew where all the food was. We had to await she finished her duties, so we went for a cuppa.
This time, thanks to Gillian, the teas were on the house! We settled down for a wee warming drink and talked about the heady rate the project is progressing at. Now we have a charity number! Discussions are being had on weekdays about the most efficient ways of getting funding for Cook-Inn. Eventually, we hope it will run six days of every week.
Twelve big crates of food awaited us, and masses of flowers! George and Fred carried the food, while I mostly packed in the blooms. There was a bit of overlap, and we had to chuck the water out of the buckets to avoid swimming down Portobello Road instead of driving. We could always replace the H20 back at base. But we still hadn’t heard from Clive. Our only chef and the man with the magic keys to the Hollies, his help – or at least some idea of whether we could get into the Day Centre to bag all the veg up, was essential. I texted him, shrugged, and set off. Along the way I said another prayer… that the big gates would be open when we arrived!
A tiny shaft of sunlight enlightened the river path round the back of the High Street, giving me hope (which turned out to be false) that the ‘har’ was burning off. But sure enough, the doors were open! Backing gratefully in for unloading, I met the boys coming to help unload. Eve was there, already sorting the stuff George and Fred had brought. In the kitchen area, Clive and a new helper, Joram (the man with the golden voice from past blogs) readied the kitchen. We inventoried, and discovered that we needed more padded bags and containers (again – please, folks, give them back)! Off I went to buy more while they all worked. Sometimes it’s an advantage when you’re the driver…
Greyness and somehow even worse visibility slightly dampened my mood as I got the stuff, and dodged home to see my sick husband and collect an esky. Travelling now about the pace an arthritic snail would do, I and the other drivers around me pootled across Musselburgh, stopping at red lights to allow pedestrians to cross. Unlike us, the walkers were not affected by visibility issues, and they sped across the roads, making us jealous. One guy honked behind me, but I have no idea whether he was alerting someone to his presence – or discouraging a seagull from landing on his bonnet. The bird in question seemed to take the hint, and I saw it fly up in a leisurely manner and hove off; as if to say, ‘do I look bothered’?
Back at the Hollies, the thirty bags were almost done. We combined Fred’s four into one huge bag, added flowers for his lovely wife and sat down to eat the hot soup and rolls! Clive had remembered to cook separate soup for me with no garlic or onions in, and Adele – our pedestrian arm, had arrived to share the smaller pot with me. We tucked in, joined by Feston (who had his car – yay)! Also by two lovely new recruits; Lia and Andrea. I may not have spelled their names entirely correctly, but we were all grateful for their help. After the meal the two of them took on a run with their vehicle, even though they had never been to Cook-Inn before. Each car was to do a run, as there were four runs. The only problem was, with Adele sharing Feston’s vehicle and Fred with George – who would travel with me? I was all alone!
I lifted the bags for my run – Wallyford and Prestonpans – into the car, along with enough flowers for each home. The rest we left for the Hollies’ tables, for the folks to enjoy this coming week. I sorted my soups, rolls, and vegetable bags as well. If nobody else came (the kitchen staff who remained were busy clearing up the kitchen) I would be breaking the rules going alone. I decided to call George, who agreed to return when Fred and his run had been dropped off. Together we would drop the East Lothian parcels, giving out flowers to all the mums.
George and I eventually met at my house, after I dropped the big green crates back at the Store. Pilton being a good half hour away, he had to take the time to get back. At least the ‘har’ had finally given up the ghost! Or we’d still be delivering now. We dropped hot soup, hot rolls and fruit and vegetables at several homes in East Lothian, but one guy who lives with his three kids didn’t want any flowers. Looking around, I saw an older woman leaning on her daughter’s arm, just heading into their front garden. I dodged across the road and gave her the last bouquet.
The older lady was thrilled! Her daughter too. ‘Happy Mothers’ Day’ I said, before heading off. It’s nice to do something unexpected for someone, whether you know them or not. And Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mums who read this blog!
See you all next week. Remember to call the helpline if you want to volunteer, donate – or just for more information. Also please visit our facebook page, website and Youtube videos! The helpline number, as ever, is; 07531 436 389.