Where has this fantastic weather come from? We’ve been decorating all day and couldn’t believe that the strange light casting shadows through the windows was sunshine. We resisted the temptation to ascribe it to the Labour Party Conference and argued about global warming. But who cares, just for once this summer we were able to sprawl out on the lawn and survey the hens from their own height. Albert, whose Blackpool holiday was washed out, is back off there tomorrow, Mrs Biggins has vacancies.
There was a lot of chat about the Hairy Bikers today. The two northern lads regularly tour the country and pause now and again to give cooking lessons. It is not a programme I normally watch since my involvement in cooking is limited to eating whatever she-who-must-be-obeyed puts before me. But right now the hairy ones are compulsory viewing in our house and that of most of my mates. We believe that they are doing a wonderful job, they are attempting to resurrect the ‘Meals-on-Wheels’ service that once did so much to brighten the days of lonely, elderly folk.
Already they have had success and several local services have started up. Yes, we realise that the ease with which they have attracted volunteers is in part due to their own celebrity status, but most of our so-called TV stars would baulk at getting their hands so dirty. They have gathered people around them, taught them how to prepare low-cost meals using fresh ingredients, persuaded some to be fund-raisers, helped volunteer drivers to work out routes and emphasised the importance of a lonely soul seeing a cheerful face.
We gather that across the country people are coming forward to take up the challenge. Like us, they have probably been shocked into action by learning of so many frail and elderly folk who often go for days without seeing a single person. And many are either physically incapable of preparing a decent meal, or simply lack the motivation to do so.
What a sad reflection on our society. To make it even more damning, many areas once ran an excellent service thanks to organisations like the WRVS. But most now do what our soul-less county council does, they offer to deliver a week’s supply of frozen food. The old sense of community has gone and the many housebound are prisoners in their own homes with only an occasional visit from a social worker or district nurse to break the mind-numbing, depressing loneliness.
Using the Hairy Biker’s model we learn that a superb scheme can be run given enough voulunteers prepared to give up no more than an hour each week. And many of those interviewed said that popping in with good food to a lonely soul has made their day.
Forget all the rubbish from politicians about Big Societies or ‘inter-personal action’, whatever that may be. Thanks to a couple of overweight, jolly, entertaining motor-cyclists we all have an example to follow. And we don’t need visits from MPs looking for photo opportunities!
The easiest part of the Biker’s campaign has been finding folk willing to receive a call. There are a lot of lonely people out there who have long concluded that no one cares a hoot about them, that all we want of them is that they die.
Together we can prove them wrong. Right across the country we can dig deep and restore that generosity of spirit that once existed in every town and village. We can show our poncing leaders that action speaks a million times louder that words!
COME BACK IN A COUPLE OF HOURS FOR THE MIDWEEK QUIZ!
HERE IT IS..GOOD LUCK! 1. In Cuba what is a habanera? 2. Which black powder is the oldest known explosive? 3. Who condemned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to the Fiery Furnace? 4. Which tribe did Sitting Bull belong to? 5. Sam Snead found fame in which sport? 6. Who was king at the time of the Gunpowder Plot? 7. Which musical instrument did Jack Benny play? 8. Which Latin phrase means “in place of parents”? 9. Dun Laoghaire is a port and suburb of where? 10. Gerald Durrell was a director of which zoo?