Sunday, 28 September 2014

Cats Protection, Fairclose Day Centre and West Berkshire Mencap

It's been a while thanks to work, work, work, but this weekend, I managed to fit in three overdue jumble sales in two days. Gosh how I've missed being elbowed in the ribs, people stamping on your feet to get in front of you and most importantly, the joy of snagging a bargain!

First up was the Fairclose Day Centre autumn fair to raise money for the older people's day centre and lunches. I didn't buy any of the lovely cakes, preserves or bric-a-brac because on my way in, I saw someone I hadn't seen for ages - a 92-year-old chap who is a delight to talk to and loves to spend time with the McBaby. A while ago at a business networking event I went to, I mentioned that I was passionate about supporting a couple of older people's charities and that I felt that old people got a raw deal in this country. I said I wanted to create a movement where people are nicer to old people; for example, instead of tutting at them when they're chatting to the cashier at the post office (yes, this really happens), perhaps realise that this is their only human interaction of the day and giving them a bit of space.

The person I mentioned this to told me that my idea of being nice to old people was "the most patronising thing I've ever heard". However, speaking to this lovely old man at coffee mornings is a delight and a remarkable link with the past. He told me that his older brother did this week and unbelievably that during the war, his brother and his commanding officer were the first from the Allied Forces to stumble upon Belsen. His description of his brother's first impressions of what he found and the subsequent days were extremely touching. We've learned about concentration camps from our history books but imagine stumbling upon that - the smell, the sight of 4,000 decomposing bodies.

John himself was a prisoner of war in Poland and worked digging coal in the mines. I said I was sorry that his brother had died. He said it was a the circle of life. "I also had a great grandson that week. We all die and make space for new people. I'll die myself soon - it's just the way of the world. I'll be reunited with my wife," he continued. "Mind you, knowing my luck, she'll have taken up with a new boyfriend by the time I get there....."

More cheerfully, I then went to the Cats Protection jumble and bought the hamper, the coat and the dress. Yay!

Then Sunday, a much-needed clear out and a boot sale in the gorgeous sunshine at West Berkshire Mencap. As well as selling lots of things, I also bumped into a couple of friends and made enough money to take MrM out for lunch!

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