Friday, 28 September 2012

World's biggest coffee morning

Tell me this; how can it be the end of September already?!




This is the time of year that Macmillan Cancer Research holds its World Biggest Coffee Morning and if I'd had more warning that the end of the month was nigh, I would have hosted one at the McTowers!

As it was, we went to the coffee morning held at Hungerford United Reform Church in the school room at the back where for a donation of all my cash, we had a fabulous Victoria sponge (shared with the McBaby who actually did eat some of it as well as throw some all over the floor) and a coffee.


*Not charity related, but as an aside and as part of my plastic diet inspired by this lovely lady I took a bag of bubble wrap to the Hungerford Arcade where it will be reused. They were very grateful for it and it's good that it will get another life! Yay!


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Mobile phones, Chippenham and of course, cake...

I was in the interesting town of Chippenham for work this week and noticed that many of the shops here are charity shops which, while not a good sign for the economy, makes me very happy!



I had a good look around and while tempted by many things came away empty handed but open mouthed. That's because while in the shop below, one of the volunteers pushed past me so violently that one of my head very nearly went through a glass display case. I came out straight away bemused. And then bemusement gave way to an uncontrollable fit of the giggles!



After that, I stuck to the relative "safety" of the Thursday coffee morning, after swinging by Orange to recycle a phone for charity. I had a bag of medical books from the 1930s for one of the regulars at the jumble sale today and also a donation for the sale which was in aid of Leckhampstead WI.

However trying to hand over these items was not easy. MrT joked about the weight of the books. Then the lady manning (does that sound right? Can you "man" a stall if you're a lady) the stall gave me a highly suspicious look when I tried to hand over my good things, including new clothes with tags, make up sets and a lovely brand new clutch bag, asking me why I was donating and that she couldn't pay me for them.

I then won a couple of prizes on the tombola, but since I already have tonnes of soap, hundreds of notelets and a box full to bursting with Christmas decorations, I said they could re-use them. They thought this was highly irritating. "We've already thrown the tickets away".

So I tried to hand the prizes to the bric-a-brac stall. Cue more harrumphing.

"I'll buy a cake!" I thought -that won't cause any problems. Wrong!

When I asked what flavour two of the cakes were, they told me to go to the other side of the room and ask a lady over there. I chose one thinking it was either chocolate or coffee.

"The chocolate one?" I was asked.

"Oh I thought you didn't know what flavour it was," I said, getting irritable.

"I thought you were asking about the orange cake," she said.


More uncontrollable giggling!











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Monday, 24 September 2012

Alzheimer's Society again!

Good morning!
As I hunted high and low for my cheque book this morning so I could make a donation to the Alzheimer's Society. It doesn't seem right to ask for sponsorship for that lovely (and short) walk that we did around the lakes on Saturday!

So I've decided that I will use my eBay sales this week and any money that rolls in from my current listings can go to the Alzheimer's Society. I've got a baby's cot listed, a fantastic red 70s dress and now this lovely vintage children's book from 1964 - This is London by M Sasek.

Wish me luck!






PS. If you were a cheque book, where would you be hiding?

Open morning!

Cricketts Estate Agents are proudly offering for sale this attractive two bedroom character property with a vast rear garden. Dating back to Victorian times, there are a number of striking features that help create that homely feel that we are all looking for.

The property has been tastefully modernised in places with lovely wooden flooring stretching throughout the ground floor, along with fully refitted kitchen. A beautiful exposed brick fire place will be found in the dining room with a closed chimney breast in the lounge which could potentially be opened up again. There is plenty of natural light flooding through the house, due to its well thought out design.

Its location close to Newbury town centre and the train station mean that is perfect for those who like the convenience of living within walking distance of the major local amenities. Not only that but the property is situated just a stone’s throw from Newbury Racecourse where a number of diverse events happen throughout the year.

Cricketts are having an open day event on Saturday 29th September between 10am and 2pm, by appointment only. Please call Cricketts on 01635 43333 to arrange a viewing slot and avoid disappointment.

News alert!

It's all about confidence! That fabulous dress that I bought at the Day Centre fundraiser doesn't quite look right on me. I think I'm too wide and lumbering. I need to stand up straight and let the dress sing as it really is RED! Much brighter and more vivid than pictured here.

I've put it on eBay at just 99p because I want someone more ladylike and elegant to wear it!




In other news, the West Berkshire Alzheimer's Society Memory Walk attracted nearer to 70 walkers and has already raised £1,500. I must, must, must send my donation in this week!

Have a great week and check out my dress if you need a lift from this horrible, dreary day!

West Berkshire Community Hospital League of Friends

I dragged the McBaby and MrM to the boot sale this morning, telling them that I'd heard the weather was going to be fabulous. It wasn't. They sheltered in the car and I braved the elbows and rain.





I got these clothes for the McBaby and then a rubbish bin which is identical to the one I'd like to replace in the bathroom. I am very proud of myself for not buying a 1970s coffee pot set or a cup and saucer from Japan.


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Memory Walk!

Right, we're ready!




The warm-up





The organiser:





The starter (as the mayor who was supposed to cut the ribbon appeared and then disappeared).


And we're off......









All in all, there were 58 of us and we had a very enjoyable walk around the lakes at the Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre! All in aid of a very good cause, brought home to me in spades when I spoke to a lady that I'd met yesterday at the Princess Anne memorial unveiling but of course, she only had a very vague recollection of it.







Fairclose Day Centre

I didn't even know this was on today, but happened to be walking past on my way into town to get the Guardian. What could be more tempting than a sign saying "jumble sale and cakes"?

And this was the haul:



-one heritage Britain jigsaw for my honorary grandma (aged 96!)

-one fabulous 70s red dress

-one blue and white 60s dress

-one 80s dress that I shall make into bunting*

-one dress that I was going to make into bunting but will wear if it fits.

-one coffee cake for friends coming round tomorrow. The more THEY eat, the less for me, and the more likely that dress will fit.

-12 unused vintage teatowels including two from Blackpool and one from my home county of Dorset.

-another notebook. As if I have enough thoughts to fill all of these!

All in aid of old people in the town so I am more than happy with all of these, even though, believe it or not I had my eye on more stuff (two rubbish bins for the bedroom and tea sets of beautiful china) but the lady on the stall was getting a bit fed up of me!

On top of that, we bought a strip of raffle tickets, but I think we rendered ourselves ineligible to win because the McBaby ate them. This prompted a lovely volunteer to tell me, after she'd finished laughing at me, that her son had eaten a copy of the Singapore Times many years ago. When she changed his nappy, she discovered a scrap of paper in there with the word "sin" on it!!







*or beg someone else to! The sewing machine seems to be broken and I don't think the McBaby will let me do it by hand!

St John's Church/YMCA/Oxfam/Salvation Army

More clothes and books (mostly on Princess Diana) to those handy charity banks at the supermarket car park in aid of Oxfam and the Salvation Army. I must state for the record that the clothes were mine, the books were my mums.

Then a carrier bag of DVDs and handbags to the YMCA shop. A friend of ours sadly lost her mum recently and took a lot of things to a charity shop where unbelievably, they were very rude to her! MrM told her that Newbury's YMCA are unfailingly polite when you take donations in, so hopefully she'll be going there instead.

Then it was Thursday again so our coffee morning at St Nicolas CHurch, strangely in aid of St John's Church!





I bought the shower gel and a notebook (you can never have enough notebooks, can you? Especially when your baby boy thinks they're for eating), and also tried a few goes on the tombola, exhibiting my additive nature. I didn't win anything which shows a streak of luck that's more lucky than winning, if you see what I mean.

"Did you have your eye on something?" the organiser asked.
"Not really - just the Sanctuary boxset for my mum", I said.

When I was leaving, we said goodbye to him and he stopped me. "SOmeone won the Sanctuary boxset and didn't want it," he said. "It's for your mum".

I couldn't accept it, but he insisted. I was really touched by this - I am certain that there was no such person who won a prize and didn't take it! Thank you lovely man at St John's Church!



Monday, 17 September 2012

Scope

I dropped my mum to the airport last night. Always emotional, and yesterday even more so because we were short of time and as it happened, petrol.

The petrol gauge was pointing below the last red line, and the traffic was building. Stop and miss the flight or keep going and run out and hold up lots of impatient travellers?

(I should point out that I had filled the tank the morning before we set off), but that MrM and I had to swap cars at the last minute!)

Anyway, my mum made her flight, I made it to the petrol station, but then a woman steadfastly refused for five minutes to let me into her lane to get into the entrance of said petrol station, so I had to do ANOTHER circuit of the airport loop, this time dripping with sweat...

I got home and found a note from my mum saying that she does not intend to return to the UK any time soon and to take all of her things to the charity shop.





So...Scope...take a bow. I took a load of mum's clothes, a funky red handbag and some brand new baby clothes, with tags into their Newbury branch this morning. My mum's clothes are of much higher quality than anyone else I know, so hopefully that should raise a few quid for this brilliant disability charity.

www.scope.org.uk

Sunday, 16 September 2012

West Berkshire Alzheimer's Society

The McBaby and I have our walking boots at the ready for Saturday's Memory Walk at Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre on 22nd September from 2-3pm.

We were supposed to register online and I never got round to it, partly deliberately because I did so last year and then got lots of expensive marketing material through the post. Probably costing more than the amount I raised. I don't need this stuff. I want every penny to go towards practical help for people with dementia.

So I fired this little moan off to the local office in an email and they apologised and promised to pass my complaint up the chain.

Lo and behold, I've now been emailed a sponsorship form so that I don't have to register! The moral of the story: Moaning works!

So now that's out of my system, here are all the details so you can come and join us!

Can you spare an hour to raise some funds and awareness of dementia whilst having fun at the Thatcham Discovery Centre? You can do a short stroll round the lake or a longer march across the reedbeds. It's a really lovely local venue, ideal for the whole family for an afternoon out - baby buggies and manual wheelchair fully accessible. There's a super café selling delicious snacks & home-made yummy cakes, lots of information exhibits and hands-on activities for the kids.

Start time:2.30pm so we all start walking together
Meeting point:Discovery Centre, Muddy Lane, Lower Way, Thatcham, RG19 3FU
Facilities: Cafe/Restaurant Cafe/Restaurant - Yes
Disabled access Disabled access - Yes
Parking Parking - Yes
Pets allowed Pets allowed - Yes
Toilets on site Toilets on site - Yes

Length of walk:1 Mile, 2 Miles

Description of walk:You can do a short stroll round the lake or a longer 2-mile march across the reedbeds. It's a really lovely local venue, ideal for the whole family for an afternoon out. This route is fully accessible for baby buggies and wheelchairs. There's a super café selling delicious snacks & home-made yummy cakes, lots of information exhibits and hands-on activities for the kids. There are play areas for toddlers to young teens, a field to kick a ball around, plenty of parking and picnic tables overlooking the lakes. You can even feed the ducks & swans. We hope the Thatcham Major will open the event for us. Come along and join our family-friendly Memory Walk.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Cherubs

"It's Thursday so you must have just been to the weekly coffee morning - what did you get, what did you get?" I hear you cry.

I'm just being brought a cup of tea and a scone (thank you mum) and will not keep you waiting a moment longer. Today was in aid of Cherubs, the playgroup on Tuesdays that the McBaby and I went to a couple of times before the summer.




I handed over some good stuff when we arrived; a funky green children's lampshade, a brand new bright red nappy bag, a cushion I bought in India that I loved until the McBaby kept picking sequins and what-have-you from the top and eating them, and some other, less-perilous items.

The stuff was great today - brilliant for children and all for £4 (excluding my numerous attempts on the tombola - fortunately my mum won something; a Shallow Grave DVD!). I got some wellies for the McBaby, a potty (not long until we use that), A Thomas the Tank engine plate for McCousin, two pirate coat hooks for the McBaby's bedroom, some swimming nappies (I haven't bought any yet!), a photoframe that I've been instructed to furnish with photo of McBaby and McCousin for McGrandma to take home, some handwash and a children's book.



All that and a catch-up with three lovely mums, plus cake. Which reminds me that one of the aforementioned lovely mums made a cake for today's sale and somehow managed to drop it out of the window while icing it!

www.facebook.com/CherubsPlaygroupNewbury





Thursday, 6 September 2012

Duchess of Kent House Charity

This morning's jumble sale was a fundraiser for the Duchess of Kent House hospice in Reading so I was delighted to hand over a bag of clothes (including a suit jacket which is weird timing as I've just gone back to work after maternity leave this week), books and my mum's massive money box shaped like a 2p coin!



In fact, two ladies tried to wrest this item from my hands, yet neither of them wanted to pay the very reasonable £1 for it, although I think the volunteer did point out it was for charity and did prise a hard-won quid from one of them!

I, of course, exhibited my usual lack of self control and paid £1 for six disparate books; 5 on management and one on Oscar Wilde!



www.dokhc.org.uk