Contact the Elderly

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Elderly people are underrated. All that life experience, wisdom, tales of times gone by, so many interesting conversations to be had, yet somehow, they seem to be a sector of society that are often forgotten.

For a while I’ve had an urge to get involved with an organisation that specifically reaches the elderly, providing social interaction, friendship and fun, because, let’s face it, what is life about if enjoyment isn’t a feature?

I did some research and settled on a fantastic charity called Contact the Elderly. The idea is that once a month on a Sunday afternoon (which is very often the loneliest day of the week for older folk as most other agencies are closed) volunteer drivers will pick up between six and eight elderly people from their homes and drive them to a volunteer host’s house for afternoon tea.

It’s a very simple concept which works wonders for the most isolated and lonely elderly people, injecting a bit of social interaction and fun back into their often insular lives.

I applied to be a host, but was told that unfortunately there weren’t enough volunteers in my area to warrant setting up a group. Never one to be deterred, I called on a few friends and local churches and lo and behold within a matter of weeks we had enough volunteers to form a group. We’re still in the early days, but are looking forward to our first tea party, hopefully in July.

It really doesn’t take much to make a huge difference in these precious lives. If you’re capable of putting on a simple afternoon tea spread, have a downstairs loo, and an easily accessible house then you could host. If you have a car and a spare Sunday afternoon once a month then you could drive. It really is that simple.

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I’d really like to encourage you to at least check out the website if not volunteer. I’ll let you know how it goes in July, and please do let me know if you end up volunteering in your area.

Christmas traditions

Growing up, Christmas was all about the traditions… My dad being made to stand in the same spot each year by mum, with his arms outstretched towards the ceiling to measure how tall the tree should be (like the ceilings might have magically heightened, or he’d had a later in life growth spurt!). Having the same (mock) argument with my sister every year about who the fuzzy reindeer with the missing spots actually belonged to. Going to the same garden centre each year to get the tree and choose one new tree ornament each. Drinking a thimble full of Harvey’s Bristol Creme and prancing around to ‘Cliff Richard’s Christmas Classics’ whilst we decorated the tree. Opening a present on Christmas Eve. Enjoying smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on Christmas morning with the family before church. I could go on!

It’s these little things that make Christmas truly magical for me. These things are the glue that cements our family together. The things other people might look in on and think are silly or mundane. Not for us. This is the stuff of life for us.

Coming from such a tight knit family, it was really important to me to harbour traditions in my own little family unit when I got married a decade ago, and now Phoebe is here I want her to be able to look back on her childhood Christmases and remember all the fun little things we did that make our Christmas unique to us.

The first in our little box of Christmas rituals is chopping our tree down (which is somewhat of a novelty here in the uk), then going to ‘Hot Choc Choc Point’, a little spot on Beacon Fell we’ve aptly named because we always take a flask of hot chocolate up there. Phoebe loves it! Enjoy the pictures. More to follow when we’ve dressed our tree…

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Just arrived to start our tree hunt

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It's a family affair

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The stuff of life

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The chosen one!

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Good job Daddy!

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At Hot Choc Choc Point!

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Treasure

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Silly fun

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Ready to be adorned!