Sunday, 28 September 2014

ARK Cancer charity

Destination Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle in real life) this afternoon to watch the Classic Car Rally in aid of ARK Cancer Charity! Lots of beautiful classic cars and one not-so-classic car (ours) travelled from the cancer centre in Basingstoke through Hampshire up to Highclere to raise money for the Ark Centre, which provides support to cancer sufferers and their families at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

Even the lovely hosts Lord and Lady Carnarvon pitched up in their Rolls Royce Phantom III!

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!

Monday, 15 September 2014


Just received this press release about Stoptober and the timing could not be more poignant. MrM is at his uncle’s funeral today – his uncle died last week at the ridiculously early age of 61 from lung cancer. I don’t smoke but to support this brilliant campaign, I’m going to stop drinking for the month of October. That’s drinking booze obviously, not liquids in general.

If you do smoke, but wish you didn't, then sign up here!

Monday, 1 September 2014


Everybody’s talking about the ice bucket challenge, and it’s created a bit of a stir in the McHousehold, which is fortunate as I’ve completely neglected this blog of late!
That’s not to say that I haven’t been donating, but my latest charitable contributions of late have consisted of bags and bags and bags of clothes, books and an unbelievable amount of bedding which has all been donated to a variety of charity shops and even those scary bins that you find in supermarket car parks.

But I digress.

Back to the ice bucket challenge for ALS, (Or MND or even Macmillan as they cheekily seem to have piggy backed onto the cause). The reason for the hooha in the McHousehold is that MrM was nominated over the weekend and was paralyzed with indecision about what to do.

Anyone who has done it and donated is to be congratulated for helping raise awareness and funds for the cause. Apparently, more than 1.2 million #IceBucketChallenge videos have appeared online (and I think I’ve watched most of them!) But personally, I just don’t fancy it. I think it’s run its course and that watching yet another person tip water over their heads is starting to get a teensy bit old.
I also have a problem with the sheer wastefulness of tipping water over your head when there are people in the world with none. I’m not just talking about Africa, but also California.

MrM and I spent hours debating this over the weekend and he decided that he would just donate. Having said that, check this video for its combination of individuality and yet more wasted resources!

Monday, 14 July 2014


Ah, my evening at Fareshare.

I spent a happy couple of hours volunteering at Tesco a few weeks ago asking shoppers to buy an extra item in their shopping and to donate it to Fareshare. Each shopper, that is, the ones who didn't pretend to be on their phones or pretend not to see me, received a list of dry goods such as teabags, pasta and rice.

Some people surprise you with their generosity and it's never the people who you think it will be. Some people lecture you about how people shouldn't need to be fed or how it's these "bloody people on benefits". But you in turn may be surprised at how easy it is - just a lost job, an accident or an illness - and a lot of us are just one rent cheque away from being homeless or hungry.

A big thank you to everyone who contributed. Including a very surprised MrM who didn't know I was there but bought a carrier bag of long life milk and some tins.


FareShare is supporting more than 1,290 charities across the UK, including homeless shelters, breakfast clubs for children and women’s refuge centres, helping to feed 62,200 people every day. These charities offer not only a meal but invaluable support to some of the poorest people in society. As demand for our services is increasing, your support for the
Neighbourhood Food Collection is vital and will enable us to provide our member charities with even more food.

As the trolley fills with donations, Tesco will pack the goods ready for delivery to one of FareShare’s 18 Regional Centres across the country. We’ll then distribute this food to the 1,296 charities we work with, including soup kitchens, drug rehabilitation centres and luncheon clubs for older people.

FareShare is a national charity fighting hunger and its underlying causes by redistributing surplus food from the food industry to over 1,290 local charities across the UK. These charities, including homeless shelters, women’s refuge centres, breakfast clubs for children and luncheon clubs for the elderly, offer not only a meal but invaluable support to some of the poorest people in society. They each save on average £13,000 a year, which can be reinvested into vital services to help get people back on their feet.

Last year the food redistributed by FareShare contributed towards more than 12 million meals and now helps to feed 62,200 vulnerable people every day.

The majority of the food FareShare redistributes is surplus and would otherwise go to waste. This is mainly fresh produce, such as fruit, vegetables and meat.

FareShare has 18 Regional Centres that provide the infrastructure for the distribution of this food. The charities supplied include homeless shelters, breakfast clubs for children and luncheon clubs for the elderly, offering not only a nutritional meal but invaluable services to help address the causes of why that individual is going hungry.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


We had an amazing time at the World Nettle Eating Championships at the weekend (incidentally where a new world record was set by someone who ate 80 feet of nettles in an hour.

As the McBaby couldn't understand what was going on, despite my explanation. "One last time, people EAT as many nettles as they can.....", so we had to let him run around where he happened upon a lucky dip stall run by the RNLI.

He won a packet of crayons and a tube that made a dolphin noise when you turned it upside down. Both were broken before the hour of nettle eating was up.....

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Sainsbury's looking for charity of the year