4 May 2015

A Good Turn.

Wording and image courtesy of girlguiding.org.uk
I promise that I will do my best, to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the Brownie Guide Law...

The Brownie Guide Law is ... A Brownie Guide thinks of others before herself and does a good turn every day.

Do you remember this Brownie Guide Law to do a good turn every day?  It was something instilled in us when we were little and when that and many other benevolent expressions filled our lives.  They seem to have got lost since shopping became the new God!

The lovely Becky from A Beautiful Space talks a great deal about kindness being the most important thing in life and, having been fortunate to have encountered plenty, in different guises and from a variety of (frequently surprising) sources, it would be difficult to dispute!

My good turn the other day was taking a friend's parents for a hospital appointment.  We don't know each other that well, but their daughter and I are close.  She's struggling to get away from work and I drop one of my sons at a school virtually opposite their house every week day, so it seemed sensible to step in and help them out when they were in need.

What a laugh we had.  The Dad was in a sulk because he's not allowed to drive and he was quite open about it.  His wife has not long given up smoking and is having her patience tested.  They are charming, beautiful, brilliant people.  But their life has been put on hold without their wheels.

Having not long retired, they were looking forward to their days out, local walks, trips here and there - their freedom, but a sudden medical change means most of that, at present, is not to be.   Also, his hips aren't fab.  Hopping on the bus and carrying lots of shopping aren't an option, so they will have to learn to use the internet for that.  They are in their 70s and have more than a dabble anyhow so it shouldn't prove too hard, but it's still something else to contend with after a bit of a shock for them.  Their daughters will help but, in the meanwhile, it was me ferrying them where they needed to be.

On our first scheduled date, it turned out we'd booked ourselves a whole week early.  Seeing as we hadn't left their house before this discovery it wasn't a big deal.  They put the kettle on, we drew up some chairs to the breakfast bar in their kitchen and had a chat - a proper, good old fashioned chin wag.

We talked Politics (who doesn't at the moment?) - normally nerve jangling territory now, but it transpired that, fortunately, we bat for the same side!  We discussed their grandchildren (one of their granddaughters and my eldest son are how we all met), the merits of being broke but at home with our kids, drama classes, dyslexia, our local schools and anywhere else our conversation led.

And we did the same thing at the same time the following week on the proper due day for our trip to see their consultant, only this time in the car, in the cafe and in ASDA on the way home.  The man needed some beer.  The lovely lady needed some sherry.  I thought they were exercising considerable restraint when we compared what we deem an acceptable hour to open a bottle.  I always figure that the sun is setting somewhere in the world around 5pm as all my years in the city instilled this in my system as the hour a drink is required.  He pops off to his club around 6pm while she cooks dinner.  And, no she doesn't drive, because women didn't learn when she was younger.

I grew up in such times as these and it was a comfort to be back in the company of people I identified with so strongly.  It was refreshing to hear no holds barred opinions and I was especially touched when they showed a great level of understanding re me being divorced, with their other daughter right at the outset of one.  We seemed to help each other with that.

They also took great delight in me relishing being a Blue Badge holder, just for the day obvs, courtesy of them and, therefore, not wasting an absolute age looking for convenient parking spots.  

So the upshot of our outings?  It wasn't really me doing them a good turn.  They were the kind ones, and friendly and funny as well.  They were the ones doing me the favour with their thoughtful, intelligent company and our genuine hear to heart conversations.  They were a terriffic tonic and I can't wait until we do it all again!

P.S It's a long time since I was a Thistle in the Brownie Guides but they've been going for 100 years now.  My friend Jenny from Cheetahs in their Shoes wrote this post to her 16th St. Albans ones when she was their Brown Owl before she moved on to their Guides.  It's simply wonderful - a real tear jerker - and,perhaps, every reason why every girl should be one?

P.P.S. Between writing this post and publishing it today, a voucher arrived through our front door for a local Thai restaurant, so the boys and I have been able to enjoy a big Bank Holiday takeaway treat via our new friends.  Isn't it a wonder how long a way a little kindness can go?  It really does make the world go round!

Thank you to all of you who nominated me in the #Bibs 2015 Best Writer Category.  I'm thrilled to have made it to the shortlist and it would be awesome to make it into the final five.  If you can find it in your heart to vote me through, then please click HERE.  (Thank you very, very much!).