Mental Health Awareness Week

I have been so wrapped up with work, it completely escaped by attention that in the UK it has been MENTAL HEALTH WEEK 18-24th May 2020.

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work

ivgyciyI was working with a colleague who reminded me about it. He was great to work with and a very interesting person (a locum, so I don’t know when I will work with him again). We had such an interesting chat about a whole host of mental health related subjects. Sigh. It was quite fascinating.

When I looked at the UK MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION website, I noticed that the theme is KINDNESS!!! I don’t think many of us would disagree with the importance of kindness. I could write for many hours on the subject. In fact…I think I did!

At the end of the third and final part of my Annabelle Riley trilogy, there is an afterword, called “TO MY FELLOW TRAVELLERS”. It’s all about times of crisis and the importance of kindness. I guess it was my little way of acknowledging that we all have a story to tell, a journey to share. We have all been through storms and hopefully we have had peaceful tranquil seas too. Some of us have surfed exciting waves.

 

 

 

 

The Sweetest Memories

Oh goodness, so many lovely people have done very sweet things for me! I could spend all month telling you about the gorgeous people I have been privileged to meet, work with and become close friends of. That is what lovely people do…they do sweet things.

But I will be honest with you, some of the sweet things they did…though I greatly appreciated the thought behind the deed or gift, they were things I did not necessarily want. Too many chocolates have come my way. I have had to give them away. I couldn’t eat them, I would have put so much weight on!

I have been spoilt! I think people have appreciated the sacrifices I had made to be an international volunteer, and when they realized I had not had any wages (for five years in total) they did some very sweet things – I was invited to the theatre and concerts, people paid for me to go to lovely restaurants with them, or to have a holiday with them – really really wonderful kindness.

hope1People have bought candles for me – candles creep me out. All I see is a fire hazard. I give them straight to someone else, who I know does like candles, or a charity shop. I have been given clothes I would never dream of wearing (again I give them to friends). Also lots of bubblies – bath gels, salts, hand creams. perfumed soaps. And then there are all the teddies and cuddly toys. I am just not a cuddly toy kind of a person. (Except for the little teddy Goldfinch gave me – but that is different!)

But when someone has done something or given me something that I really really loved, I am just blown away by it. I can think of several examples, but here is one that is special to me. I had done something sweet. I won’t say what it is. So as a way of thanking me, someone did something extraordinary sweet for me. He built me a desk!

deskI had always wanted a wooden desk. When I was a teenager I saved my pocket money carefully so that I could buy one. We went to the nearest Ikea to buy the pine desk that I had set my heart on. It was around £350. Anyway, the local Ikea in Warrington did not have it in stock, but they said there was one in stock up in Leeds. So we drove all the way to Leeds to buy it. My pocket money was cash of course, so we handed over the money and in return we left the store with a very heavy flatpack wrapped up in cardboard. Dad tied it to the roof rack of the car.

journey home.gifWell the weather deteriorated rapidly. The wind was howling, the rain was lashing down. There is a stretch of motorway (I think it is the M62, but I should check that) which is very exposed and the wind was so strong it seemed to be pushing the car right over towards the hard shoulder. Suddenly, there was this horrific noise, and we saw panels of wood go flying all over the road. Dad had to pull over. My Ikea flat-packed desk was all over the place. Some of it had flown right over the motorway bridge. Other pieces were in the road and cars were driving over and I could see pieces were breaking.

annie teen1When Dad rang Ikea later on, they said that if he had paid with a credit card there would have been some insurance, but because we paid with my pocket money (cash) there was nothing they could do. Can you imagine my tears!

I was so disheartened. I remember the disappointment vividly even now. I carried on studying curled up on the sofa or on my bed, which was ok, but not like having a desk. Some time later Dad bought me a desk as a surprise. But it wasn’t the one I really wanted. It was one of those computer stations really – no personality. Still, I was glad of it. I spent many hours working at that desk.

Well…when I moved down south I ended up living in a beautiful renovated barn on a country estate (for four months of the year, while the owners were away, I had to live in the actual mansion house). I spent a huge amount of time working for local charities, including doing the accounts for local charities.

gift.jpgWell, as I mentioned earlier, I did something sweet to help someone. Around two weeks later they drove up outside my pretty abode. I went out to see them and they said they had something for me in the car, but they needed to assemble it. I could not believe my eyes when I saw it. They had built a beautiful wooden desk. It was large. It had two cabinets either side, one with three drawers and one with a cupboard with a mid-shelf inside it. It was so perfect.

It was the perfect present, the most glorious gift! Gorgeous people have done some very sweet things for me, and I am so glad because it is always touching. But when someone finds out what you would really really love to have, and takes the time to make a beautiful gift which is just what you need and looks stunning…well, you never ever can forget sweet deeds like that – can you?!!!

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This post is my response to the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore

Writing Prompt #38

 

Everyone Adored Him

On the road we call life, we pass many people. Some only briefly share the road with us. But all will leave their mark on us in some way.

I think most would agree that leaving primary school and starting high school at the age of eleven is frankly terrifying! When other students are friendly and help to put you at your ease you are so grateful.

One of the most super-friendly students in our high school was Carl Sanderson. He was a handsome young man. But what everyone would remember him for, was his smile. When I was eleven, and beginning high school as a Year Seven student, Carl was fourteen starting Year Ten of high school. He was friendly with everyone, not just me. Yet it made such a difference to know there was a friendly face and a cheerful smile, belonging to a fellow student who was going to look out for me.

On my first morning of high school, while I stood nervously at the bus-stop waiting for the bus to arrive, he was one of the few that said hello. At the end of the day he saw me again and asked me how was my first day of school. How many of the older students care to ask a younger kid how they got on during their first day of school?

I quickly realized that Carl was one of those boys who was everyone’s friend. Everyone adored him. He was soooo cute (too old for me to worry about how cute he was). The teachers clearly were very fond of Carl too.

I don’t have many memories of Carl in all honesty. Just that he was super friendly and always had a smile and a greeting for you. I wish I had more to tell you about him. It kind of makes me angry that I know so little about this lovely young man. After I had been at school for a few weeks something happened that shocked me and the whole school.

Carl Sanderson was killed when a motor cycle hit him. The driver was speeding of course. I was told he was travelling at around 80 miles per hour when he hit Carl. Apparently Carl died at the scene. He had been crossing that road on the way to collect a younger sibling from school.

Carl made an impression on me in the short time that I knew him. I realized how much it means when you are nervous or alone, to be greeted by a warm friendly smile. I realized how much it means when another human takes the time to show interest in you. During the brief acquaintance I enjoyed with him, it struck me how warming and encouraging another person can be just by their friendliness. I decided I wanted to be like Carl.

When I look back at the brief time Carl and I were at the same point along the road of life together, I still draw inspiration from that lovely boy and remember how it feels when a warm and friendly face shows a little personal interest in you.

I would love to meet Carl again one day and to be able to tell him that despite our brief acquaintance, I had never forgotten him and had actually tried to be more like him.

 

Lemon Curd Kindness

Random_Acts_Logo-296x300I have woken up craving lemons, well more specifically it is lemon curd that I am craving. I eye-balled some in the supermarket the other day and resisted the impulse to sneak it into my shopping trolley. But now I am wishing I had given into my desires.

However…I did buy lemons and with other ingredients I already had, I baked some lemon slices which I am taking over to a friend’s home later this afternoon. I keep wanting to gobble one, but I am going to be good.

Well…it is thinking of lemons and lemon curd that has inspired me to write about a person I want to share with you, in connection with my nomination from Michelle, the creator of Mws R Writings for the Random Acts Of Kindness Award:

RAKA, RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS

I started a new job back in August. New jobs are always a bit nerve-racking aren’t they. Well, so far, it seems to be going well. I am a bit worried because I think we are going to be even busier leading up to the holidays and I am still not as fast as my other colleagues. I am getting there bit by bit. But every week there is something new.

All of the other staff have been very lovely and very helpful. I am so glad to be part of a team who are so kind and have been so patient with me.

But I wanted to mention one of my colleagues particularly. She is Italian and like most of my Italian friends, is very lively and vivacious. She is very good at her job and is super diligent. She is soooooo helpful. There have so many times when she has kindly explained things to me and shown me how to improve my work. Not long after I started she bought me a delicious lemon curd muffin from a local coffee shop. She is indeed a very kind person who commits random acts of kindness all the time! I am sure everyone loves her as much as I do.

I was thinking about work. I really like my new job and especially the people I am working with, but I have had some really tough situations to endure in previous employment. When you have difficult, obnoxious colleagues – they can make your working hours a nightmare. I am sure I am not the only one who has been in a job that is hard to endure. Have you had the feeling of dread when you think about facing your workmates again? Or perhaps it’s the clients or customers that make the job unbearable? Have you ever had days at work when you were close to tears most of the day, or had that feeling of wanting to walk out on a job and never go back?

Well, kindness is sometimes the ray of sunshine that keeps you going. So of all the places to be kind (and home should of course be the foremost haven of kindness) please remember to be kind to your workmates and colleagues. Some of your workmates may not have a kind word waiting for them at home, they may face hostility or abuse. A kind word at work can help dissipate stressful situations. Kindness can sustain the heavy hearted. You might not have any idea how close to tears your colleagues might be.

I keep meaning to bake and take something into work for my new colleagues – it’s just that I don’t have any time on Wednesdays to bake, so I would have to make something on a Tuesday and then take it in on Thursday… I am going to have to work out when I can bake something and take it in so it is fresh for everyone to enjoy. That’s the very least I can do after all the kindness that has shown to me by my new colleagues!

 

Random Acts Of Kindness Award

image

I was delighted to be nominated by

Mws R  Mws R the creator of Mws R Writings for the Random Acts Of Kindness Award as you can see in her post below:

I have loved this award ever since I first saw it and have loved reading the posts from other bloggers in response to their nominations.

As with many awards there are a few rules:

  • Copy or paste image for reward on your post.
  • Write a paragraph on a random act of kindness, either you saw, was given to you, or you have done. It is okay to spread the love people. You don’t have to name specific names or what events but tell us about it.
  • Share this award and link to original post or tag the person who nominated you.
  • If you should want to do this then you can leave an open ended invitation, or personally tag others.
  • Pictures are a good share to, if you have pictures to share a random act of kindness, that is great!

Ooooooh…I have had to give a lot of though to this because I have witnessed so many acts of kindness over the years, many of them were random ones at that.

I have to say I love kindness…what would life be without kindness???

I have been the recipient of kindness from other people over and over, including many other bloggers.  I see acts of kindness every single day.  I guess I also see acts of unkindness too.  But I hope more and more that kindness wins out and we can all seize every opportunity that passes to be kind to someone.

When my blog was quite new I published a post about a journey across the country…and right at the end I related a little opportunity I had and grabbed to perform a random act of kindness:

Then came another shorter train journey to my final destination.  On the local little train there was an older lady, she was probably well into her eighties.  She was wrapped up well, but had no gloves and as I chatted with her I saw her rubbing and blowing into her red hands.  Well, co-incidentally….I had forgotten my own gloves when I had left the house.  When I was at the station waiting for the train and noticed how bitterly cold it was, I bought some gloves.  Only, the only pair I liked had a second pair attached. Two pairs for the price of one.  So I pulled the brand new gloves out of my bag and handed them to her.  She was so pleased.  She seemed to be crying tears of joy.  It was lovely to end my journey chatting with a sweet gentle soul after all of the other trials of dealing with challenging passengers during my epic day on the British Rail Network.

I love having a little opportunity to be kind. Being kind is a wonderful way to achieve instant happiness.  Whether you are on the bus, or train, or any other mode of transport, please be kind, be considerate, be patient and be lovely.  Try not to harass or offend your fellow passengers.  Kindness is and always will be one of the most beautiful qualities to possess.

Now I nominate…

uzma.wordpress.com

who published a very beautiful post this week:

https://ashellinmaking.wordpress.com/2018/08/28/blooming-in-bleakness/