This challenge turned out to be a little harder for me than I thought. I don’t mind pastel colours but I prefer brighter, more vibrant shades so I don’t own a lot of pastels or soft coloured things and of course, a lot of my stuff is still packed in boxes. Our new garden leans towards vibrantly coloured flowers rather than pastels too but let’s see what we can find around the house. I wish you could smell these candles.
Outside I found a few softer colours. Our one rose bush is a pale, pastel pink. I don’t know the proper name of the flowering shrub but we have a lot of these. The tree is some type of gum, sorry the gardening books are still packed but I will look up the proper name. It is right opposite our upper deck and it is very popular with the birds.
We’ve all had those phone calls from non-profit organisations wanting us to support them either once-off by buying raffle tickets or merchandise or more frequently these days by making an ongoing financial commitment. I don’t like getting them because I feel guilty that I must so often say no. There are so many causes that need our help and they are all worthy, helping children get an education, medical research, animal welfare, the environment. It’s easy to donate if you are well off and it will even be tax-deductible. It’s a lot tougher if you are hard up yourself.
Many people don’t like to deal with charities because they feel that a great deal of their money will end up going to administration and not to the people or animals that need it. That’s not unreasonable because it does happen. I respect and admire the work of the Salvation Army but many people tell me that their Op Shops, and those of other big non-profits, are becoming almost too expensive for people on low incomes to shop in. I suppose it’s inevitable, they run them as businesses, sometimes with paid managers. Their core business is fundraising, not providing affordable goods to low-income earners.
However, there are many ordinary people making a difference to the lives of others, just quietly going about their business and not thinking of any reward. As you know I volunteered at the Op Shop in Geeveston for about three years. The shop was started about eight years ago by Juarne Bird and her sister Rowena to help the local community by having affordable goods for sale and also by providing opportunities for some of the young mums in the area to get some work experience volunteering at the shop. After the first few years, she had to find larger premises and that is how the shop came to be at the local school in an unused classroom. As well as donating to the school the shop supports many other local organisations with donations. All the staff are still volunteers.
Many people in the Huon Valley are what Aussies call “Battlers”. There is not a lot of work and something like the bushfires last summer can be devastating for local businesses. However, there is a strong sense of community and people try to help each other out even if they don’t have a lot themselves.
I want to mention my friend Karen Brown who I worked with at the Op Shop. During the bushfires, the shop was closed for a couple of weeks but Karen was busy. As well as taking in various friends and relatives and assorted pets who had to evacuate she spent hours every day cooking and taking food to the evacuation centre in Huonville where many people were sheltering. She bought a lot of the food with her own money. Nobody asked her to do it. She just did. This was not just for a couple of days, I think it was for about two weeks.
Photo by “Spelio” 4 Feb 2019 on Flickr.
Those of you who use social media may be familiar with “Pay It Forward” sites. Basically, the way they work, with a few variations is that someone donates an item to the site which people can ask for and then the recipient, in turn, donates an item to the site. A local lady called Lyn Duggan decided to start one of these sites on Facebook and by doing this has been able to help out a lot of needy families in the area as people often donate multiple items She ended up having to buy a shipping container to store goods in. As well as sorting and bagging goods to be donated Lyn also cooks meals for families who are doing it tough. This year she has, with help from a few others involved with the site, collected and wrapped hundreds of Christmas presents as well. Apart from donations of goods, from members on the PIF site, Lyn spends a lot of her own money. Again nobody asked her to do it; she saw a need and she set out to do something about it.
I personally think that people like Juarne, Karen and Lyn should get some kind of recognition for what they do in the community so even though I don’t know if any of them will read this I’m putting it out there that these are pretty awesome women.
When a big event is on the horizon people often ask me if I’m excited.
“Are you excited to be going on a cruise?” “Are you excited now that you are moving?”
My usual answer is “No. Not yet.” It’s not that I am blase about everything. Far from it. I can still get excited about a lot of things but something big like a trip or a move I get nervous. I feel I have to concentrate on the things that need to be done before I can relax and enjoy it. If I’m going on holidays I want to make sure I have taken care of all the details, the pets are being looked after, tickets and money have been organised and I haven’t forgotten to pack anything important like my passport. Then there is getting to the airport, we must leave early enough not to be held up if there is an accident en route. Don’t laugh, that has happened, so our habit of being at the airport an hour before we need to check in has served me well. Once I’m checked in I can relax and start thinking about the journey, at least until we get to the next place I need to present tickets, passports etc. However, there are moments, like the moment we pulled into Circular Quay Station in Sydney and saw a cruise ship for the first time, that excitement takes over. Naomi and I were so excited to see Explorer of the Seas for the first time that we couldn’t get to it fast enough.
As for moving. Nobody gets excited about moving. It’s all lawyers and real estate agents, packing and cleaning. I was too tired to be excited and I was sad to say goodbye to my house and my friends. I was excited to get on the road and drive to Sisters Beach for the first time though. That was like the road trips we used to do. A trip in the car with music playing and the prospect of something to look forward to at the other end.
When I was younger I used to get excited on days we were going on steam train trips. I remember how we would get into Adelaide well before departure time and when we could hear the train whistling as it backed into the yard I would run up the platform in sheer excitement, and I am no runner. There are still things worth getting excited about but maybe I’ve grown a little cautious of getting excited too soon in case I jinx things.
If people find typos or grammatical, punctuation, spelling, or usage errors in your posts, do you welcome having them pointed out to you, or do you resent it. As a blogger do you let people know about such mistakes or do you just let them go?
I won’t pretend that I have perfect spelling or grammar and although I use Grammarly and proofread my posts sometimes errors creep in due to inattention. Nevertheless, I am one of those people that does notice poor spelling and grammar. It annoys me a lot when I see it in professional writing and it seems to be more and more common to find mistakes in news articles and opinion pieces. I guess that there are not so many human sub-editors about these days.
The poem above is about Geeveston and I like it very much but every time I used to stop to read it the spelling error at the end would grab my attention like a neon sign.
We’ve all read so-called instructions for products written in Chinglish and while they can be exasperating sometimes they make me laugh. I get more annoyed with people who post on sales sites, eBay, Gumtree etc and don’t seem to be able to string a sentence together.
I am a bit more tolerant of bloggers because I realise that for many English is a second language. I certainly admire bloggers who can write coherently about a subject in a language that is not their own. I have occasionally corrected grammar or suggested another way of saying something to blogging friends but only when the person has expressed a desire to learn more. English is a crazy language and sometimes must seem completely random to people who are used to more structured languages.
I also realise that a lot of people blog on their smartphones and I guess it is hard to read the writing on tiny screens. No excuse not to proofread your work though.
I guess that I wouldn’t mind if someone corrected my work if it was done in a polite and helpful way. I would be embarrassed because I don’t like to make mistakes but it happens. When I see errors in blogs that I am reading I generally let it go. The blogs I read are written by intelligent people who know how to communicate their ideas and if they make the odd mistake I think that like me, they probably just didn’t notice it when they checked their work, that it was a typo or autocorrect at work. If I was reading a blog post that really did have a lot of mistakes I’d persevere with it if the subject matter was interesting but I wouldn’t enjoy it as much.