RDP: Charitable

Helping Hands

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.

Salvation Army Shop. Kolforn (Wikimedia) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

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.

Geeveston Op Shop.
Outside the Geeveston Op Shop.

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.

News from Huonville and SE Tassie 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.

RDP: Excitement

I’m So Excited

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.

Explorer of the Seas- Sydney-Feb 2016
Our first glimpse of Explorer of the Seas

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.

SAR Pacific 621 at Adelaide station

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.

RDP: Calendar

Calendar Time

This is the time of year that calendars and diaries for the following year start showing up in the shops. Even in this digital age some of us still like a calendar on the wall with pretty pictures.

My friend Gillian and I have a bit of a tradition of swapping calendars at Christmas. We used to swap calendars with pictures of trains but in recent years its been dogs. We usually buy the ones produced by non-profit organisations because we like to support them. Gillian’s assistance dog Dusty actually featured in a calendar a year or two ago. Of course, I kept that page, Dusty is pretty cute.

Gillian with Dusty who is a Lions Hearing Dog.

That’s the only trouble with calendars. What to do with them at the end of the year? It seems such a shame to throw them away when the pictures are so nice. I used to keep them thinking I might do something crafty with them but eventually I ended up with a pile of old calendars which I still hadn’t done anything with so now I sadly recycle them.

RDP: Punch

“Oh No I Didn’t”

Something that makes me laugh.

There are not many Punch and Judy shows in Australia these days but when I was a child the Punch and Judy Show was a feature at many British seaside resorts including Clacton where we always had our summer holidays.

This traditional puppet show known as Punch and Judy in the UK has counterparts in France, Germany, Italy and many other countries all over Europe. The puppeteers are known as Professors.

There are various scripts for a traditional Punch and Judy Show but for those unfamiliar with it the story always revolves around Mr Punch, his wife Judy and a cast of characters that usually includes a policeman, a butcher, a crocodile and the Devil. The Professors will often include other characters who are more relevant to a modern audience. You can read a typical script from the 1960s here.

The Show Goes On

Usually, the story is a series of short scenes rather than a whole story. Punch always behaves badly and hits the other characters with his slap stick. It’s traditional for the audience to participate by shouting out warnings to Punch or Judy when danger appears. The characters will often break the fourth wall and address the audience too.

I’ve seen a few Punch and Judy shows as an adult and while I don’t usually enjoy violence I do appreciate the satire that sometimes creeps into the scripts and it is fun even though it is not very PC.

Until just a few years ago there was a Professor here in Tasmania and Naomi and I saw the show a couple of times at different events around Hobart before he retired. Before the show he would come around the audience with some large puppets to talk to the children and at the beginning would always announce that of course it was just make believe I guess to reassure any children who might be frightened or maybe to stop them from thinking it was OK to throw the baby out the window, steal sausages or hit people with sticks.

http://www.punchandjudy.com/

https://puppet.fandom.com/wiki/Punch_and_Judy

http://www.thepjf.com/

RDP: Falling

Basiophobia- Fear of Falling

Image by OpenIcons from Pixabay

Although I have been enjoying the lovely photographs of autumn leaves from bloggers in the northern hemisphere I am not going to write about that. I didn’t grow up calling autumn Fall and I’m not going to start now. Anyway, it’s spring here.

For me falling is something that I am afraid of. You might say it is a phobia. I used to think I was scared of heights but it’s not that. I have been to the top of several tall buildings to enjoy the view and I was fine. The one with the glass floor in Auckland was a bit nerve wracking though. I have been on Observation Wheels and cable cars and I wasn’t scared. The glass elevators on Explorer of the Seas were great and I was not frightened on the North Star Observation capsule on Ovation of the Seas.

One of the observation pods on the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

Don’t ask me to climb to the top of a ladder though. I can’t do it and as I get older the fear is getting worse. When I was a bit younger I could get up on the dining table in order to change a lightbulb. I can’t do that now unless the table is near a wall and unfortunately that is not usually where you find the light fittings. They tend to be in the middle of the room.

I do fear falling at home and I don’t think that is totally irrational because I have fallen over in my garden several times. I’ve tripped over uneven ground before I had the path made in the back garden. I’ve slipped in the mud or frost in the driveway on wet winter days. I slipped over on the path near the clothesline, I don’t know if I tripped over something or what happened but I went down hard. I slipped in the mud walking home from the shops once. I wasn’t hurt but I got covered in it. Another time I tripped over a kerb at a shopping centre and that did hurt.

Escalaphobia

These were once Sydney’s oldests moving stairs. They are wooden and were only replaced in the last year or so. I think this was at Town Hall Station but I can’t remember for sure now.

I hate escalators. I can go up but coming down is frightening to me because they are moving and I think that if I don’t put my foot in exactly the right spot I’ll stumble and fall down them. We don’t have a lot of escalators in Hobart and I don’t go there often so I’ve got really out of practice and tend to just avoid them now. Singapore was a nightmare for me. It seemed you could not go anywhere without having to get on a fast escalator and the only way I could get on them at all was to count aloud to get some timing going.

Dreams

It’s the sensation of falling that really frightens me. I even dream I’m falling sometimes and wake up with a start. I know that can just be a glitch where your brain hasn’t totally shut down your muscles but it’s still unpleasant. On the reality TV shows that I hate so much, they are very into making people face their fears. They’d probably force me to bungee jump or jump out of a plane and I’d be so terrified I would forget the instructions and die. I don’t agree with such extreme measures. I think that if I were going to try and deal with this it would have to be gradual and I’d need to feel safe. Jumping out of a plane would not convince me I had nothing to fear. In fact, I think I would probably have a heart attack.

RDP: Languor

A Lazy Post

n.Lack of physical or mental energy; listlessness: synonymlethargy.

n.A dreamy, lazy, or sensual quality, as of expression.

n.Oppressive stillness, especially of the air.

I can relate to all three of these definitions of the word languor.

The first one is how I’ve been feeling a lot lately. I want to write but don’t have the mental energy to write to a prompt let alone write a post about anything else. I’m often physically tired after working at the Op Shop and winter has left me rather lethargic and listless. I’m hoping spring will snap me out of it.

The second definition is a pleasanter sensation. I sometimes feel languorous on a sunny afternoon in my garden. I listen to the birds and the wind chimes that I hung in the apple tree and it is lovely and dreamy and peaceful. Until the next-door neighbours get home and start revving up cars or swearing and arguing, then it’s time to go back inside.

A place to relax.

The last definition, for me, is a hot summer’s day, the kind we had way too many of in Adelaide. The air is hot and still and nobody has the energy to do much of anything. The sort of weather when you start to worry about bushfires and in Adelaide, dust storms.

CSIRO ScienceImage 4343 Dust storm over paddocks on the outskirts of Adelaide SA 1994