Thursday, 18 December 2014

Eight bells for Mental Health

The grand declutter continues....but then again so does the cluttering!

I took a bag of new toys, some unused Christmas decorations and some books along to the coffee morning for the charity to sell. Today is was Eight Bells, a local charity that helps people with mental health issues.

I came back with a slightly smaller bag of three books; fortunately the McBaby ate the cake within minutes saving me the bother of carrying it home. MrT wasn't here unfortunately - get well soon MrT!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Newbury YMCA and the Big Issue

A cupcake for me and the customary lemon drizzle for MrT today- I also bought him a cup of tea and a packet of posh biscuits.

At the jumble sale part of the coffee morning, I bought a lovely Champneys gift set and a snazzy scarf - all in aid of the local YMCA. I picked up a copy of the Big Issue on my way in, and dropped off some brand new unused Christmas decorations at the Cancer Research UK shop in town, as I'm feeling generous and festive!

However, it was me who was the recipient of some good stuff today. MrT said he bought this for me as he thought of me when he saw it!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Pelican Cancer Foundation

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, meh.

I prefer to buy local, so the McBaby and I headed to the Pelican Cancer Christmas fair at the Elcot Hotel. My hamper for our Christmas hosts is now complete!

We bought a beautiful painting of an elephant for the Babar-obsessed McBaby, a homemade Christmas pudding from Blackberry Cottage, Wiltshire Gin and lots of other goodies.

This weekend sees Small Business Saturday so we'll be endeavouring to buy local again. After a thorough tasting of course....

Action Through Enterprise and St Mary's Church

I *may* have been taking advantage of the recent Thursday coffee mornings to re-home some of my clutter - the question is always whether I manage to come home with more than I went with.

Today I would say that it was about 50-50. Our friend MrT gladly rehoused some unopened and sealed cassette tapes such as Bill Bryson's audiobook version of Neither Here nor There and some Christmas CDs and tapes. I gave the charities two brand new Christmas books and some wrapping paper to sell (they kindly overlooked that I had to prise the "trumpet" out of the McBaby's mouth and I saw someone buy it so hopefully it wasn't too damaged.

HOWEVER I came home with this little lot; bought and also won by the McBaby on the tombola.

An elephant on a bike!
A football (that nearly ended up in an elderly lady's cup of tea)
A canned polar bear
Two of my beloved Ladybird books - ones that I didn't have as a child as well - bonus!
A pencil and eraser set
Two cakes and a cheese scone (not pictured as eaten seconds after purchase).

St Mary's is in Shaw and Action Through Enterprise is a charity battling inequality in Ghana (wish they could do something about the massive inequality in West Berkshire too)

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Leprosy Mission

Thursday coffee morning - a hat and gloves that I bought for the McBaby in aid of the Leprosy Mission. We've already lost one glove and MrT stretched the hat beyond recognition by comedically (or not) putting it on his head.

Which is put into context really by the horror of leprosy, which is an infectious disease caused by dirty water, bad nutrition and poor standards of living, meaning people's immune systems are not strong and they are unable to fight the disease.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Injured Jockeys Fund at Newbury Racecourse

Racing is a huge part of life here in West Berkshire, particularly towards Lambourn, the Valley of the racehorse.

The Injured Jockeys Fund has held a massive annual fundraiser in Lambourn for years, but it's got so big recently that it's moved to Newbury Racecourse. There's a fabulous range of gifts ranging from personalised children's gifts and books to pink gin and even bespoke sports bags.

There's also a well-stocked tombola with wonderful prizes (we won a Sanctuary Spa gift set, a Christmas pudding and a vase that the McBaby has been using as a cricket bat), and staffed by the two most patient ladies I've ever met. (Apologies again for McBaby's naughtiness).

I mention this because the Christmas fair is on until 5pm today (Tuesday) and then again tomorrow (November 19thfrom 9.30 to 4pm), so please support if you're in the area. It costs £5 to get in.

The Fund was set up by the late Lord Oaksey in 1964 following the accidents of Tim Brookshaw and four months later Paddy Farrell in the Grand National. Both falls resulted in severe paralysis which immediately ended both their careers. Since then, the IJF has helped over 1000 jockeys and their families and has paid out more than £17m in charitable assistance.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

West Berkshire Mencap and Woolton Hill Primary School

Two weeks apart, but the photos are pretty similar, lots of books and lots of cakes!

Last week, one of the books I bought was a pre-loved (VERY pre-loved) lift-the-flap book called Elmer Plays Hide and Seek. The McBaby is going through something of an elephant obsession at the moment (as referenced in my last post - still rolling around laughing about that trip to the charity shop), and asked me if I'd buy him the book. It was 10p.

Since then, he has taken it to bed with him, taken it in the bath, in the car and at the dinner table. He has memorised it and though he can't read, flips the page at the right time and gets all of the words right. At the end, he improvises; instead of "No Elmer, it's me, Monkey", he says: "No Elmer, it's me, McBaby". It has quite literally brought a tear to my eye. I even went to Waterstone's to see if I could get him a newer version with all of the flaps remaining. It's OUT OF PRINT!

That means that this book will stay with him forever. It's the best 10p I've ever spent. Thanks Mencap!