Sunday, December 31, 2006

Out With The Old, In With The New

Hello There My Friends,

I trust that you had a peaceful and happy Christmas and aren't being forced to the sales ! My compliments of the Season to you all.

Sean and I had a fabulous Christmas (I remarked it was the best one since I was 6 years old!) and together with a couple of friends, we gave up our Christmas Day to help alongside other volunteers at two churches in Stockport, Cheshire.

Our placement was at Grove Lane Baptist Church in Cheadle Hulme Stockport, and we were assisting around 50 guests to the Christmas lunch. There were people from all walks of life, ranging from gentlemen who are homeless to sisters and family members. The atmosphere from the start was amazing and so positive and cheerful.

We helped to set the tables for dinner, and the Reverend (Joanne - lovely lady who looked remarkably like Dawn French in the Vicar of Dibley) took a back seat whilst the organisers martialled everyone with almost military precision. The food was fantastic and we were like a conveyor belt with spuds, turkey, sausages, sprouts, stuffing, carrots, cranberry sauce, bread sauce and gravy.

Sean joined a chap called Albert for lunch. Albert lives alone and is a retired refuse collector with a wicked sense of humour and he has recently had his appendix out - at around 70 he was in good spirits and despite still having stitches from his operation, he polished off the dinner and then tucked into a large helping of Christmas pudding with custard and a mince pie !

Leo was another chap who attended - Leo likes his wine and you had to watched his hands as they seemed to try to find your backside when he talked to you lol !

There was a small family who tugged at my heartstrings, with one of the family members sadly suffering from cancer of the throat and lung. You could tell this chap was made of strong stuff and a natural comedian, with his nan (Elsie) and his older brother and his wife of 5 years enjoying the day. We got on famously, and have been invited to Simon and Claire renewing their wedding vows at the Church in 2007. I look forward to being there!

One of the volunteers was their resident artist - Graham pictured in his glorious waistcoat in one of the photos - whose handmade decorations and pictures and fabric wall hangings are superb. I have tried to capture this but the photos really don't do his work justice.

We took a chap called Sidney home to his bungalow with a box of sandwiches, some mince pies and a cyclamen plant. He enjoyed the heated front seat in Sean's car !

So all in all it was a fabulous way to spend the day and I would recommend it highly to anyone who may feel that they could give up their Christmas day to help people who may be less fortunate than yourself or people who simply are alone during the Festive period and all they crave is some good conversation and company.

Grove Lane Baptist Church is looking for volunteers to help out at afternoon tea during weekdays - if you can spare some time please contact them via the website to obtain further information.

I am going to suggest an energy efficiency afternoon session with a local installer so that people can get help and information with access to grants for heating and insulation etc. Hopefully we can continue spread the word !

So my friends I hope that when you reflect on 2006, I hope like me you don't look back in anger and are looking forward to a positive, prosperous and successful New Year !

Enjoy and make good choices - see you all in 2007!

From Your Friend The Energy Angel


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