06 April 2011

Sleepless nights, Coffee mornings, and "the usual suspects"

I have found a moment of quiet in the midst of a very busy day. Almost magically, it is 22 degrees Celsius, and I am sitting outside, in a sun hat, worried about sunburn…
Can this possibly be England in April? I wish I could capture this day and share it with you!
I have found an absolute haven of tranquility in the garden of The Glebe Hotel.  Sipping coffee, undisturbed, I try and process all that has transpired in yet another hectic week. I often think to myself, and the DEB often asks me aloud, whether I really need another challenge to take on, and clearly, it seems I do. Routinely.
My charity Coffee Morning went off really well. We raised £150.00! This was largely due to support from “the usual suspects” – loyal friends and kind neighbours who dug deep, and gave of their time and treasure to support our cause.
The night before was a sleepless one for me, as I tossed and turned and panicked: “All this effort, and what if no one comes?” I finally gave up on sleep at half five, and wandered around the house trying think of what I may have forgotten. Then, at half six it dawned on me: coffee, tea, sugar, milk and support staff.
Just a few minor things!
A frantic text to my friend, Hannah: “Help!” The reply came: “When do you need me?” My plea: “As soon as you can be here!” Friends like that are gold dust! When Hannah arrived, I threw my arms around her, and thanked my lucky stars! She dutifully set off to the village shop for supplies, while I blew up balloons and schlepped cakes and raffle prizes to the church.
Pam, Alex and Hannah’s mum arrived to lend a hand, as did my Darling Neighbour, Mary Sue. (Yes, a rather unique name for a Briton.) MS brought along a gorgeous, chocolate cake, and singlehandedly commandeered the coffee urns. Hannah’s sweet mother, Ann, donned the giant Marie Curie daffodil hat and walked up and down the road wooing punters to our party. Remarkable.
Of course, to start off, we had more helpers than punters, and I feared that this way the entire event would go. I had baulked at tradition and scheduled my Coffee Morning at the ungodly hour of 9:30 AM, in an attempt to woo the “school-run mums” who seem to gaggle and loiter outside the church each and every day around 9 AM. Monday was not one of those days.
The road was positively empty, quiet and devoid of mums. My plan had backfired. In my effort to attract what I thought would be a captive audience, I had seemingly offended purists who believe a Coffee Morning should start later. Sometimes, you just can’t win!
In my more cynical, paranoid and self-obsessed moments, I am convinced that the school-run mums – viewing me as some sort of childless, social pariah – conspired against me, and all purposely stayed away, and gathered elsewhere on the day. But that would be very cynical, indeed. And, to be sure, three mums from the school actually did turn up to the Coffee Morning, and seemed to have had a nice time, and each won a prize, I think.
All in all, it was a great experience, and one that has taught me (yet again) that no matter how “small” an event is, it is still an event, and requires lots and lots of effort. Pictures from the day, forthcoming.
After the Coffee Morning, I went home and collapsed. Despite the virtual ton of caffeine and sugar I had consumed, I was spent. But, my respite was short-lived – on to the next task. More fundraising, and of course The Big Swim.
The DEB and our new Teammate, Hazel, began our 15K challenge on Monday, with the goal of doing 1K per day. Our first kilometre completed, the DEB and I dashed home from the pool to host the first “Royal Wedding Street Party Committee” meeting. With wet hair and aching arms, I thought to myself “What on earth am I doing?” But, everyone’s really excited about the street party, and offering to help, I just needed to get the ball rolling.
No rest for the wicked: yesterday was spent facing down a massive, lingering deadline I had for a restaurant/pub review for the magazine. This is my first piece for our new editor, and I did not want to disappoint.
I made the foolhardy mistake of “tweeting” (Note to self: need to reflect upon Twitter.) that I would have the piece in by 5 PM. Great. Now, the entire world could witness my tendency to procrastinate. I must say, the fact that I had broadcast my own potential downfall, did propel me to get it done. Maybe Twitter is just what I’ve always needed…
And so, today. Finally a breather, of sorts, and at least a few moments of reflection. That, along with the workmen who have been in and out of the house today. We are having a new kitchen floor installed, and a new window in the living room.
Did I need another challenge this week?
Ironically, as the first workman arrived at 7:45 AM, I went to the door and found that someone had slipped a note through sometime in the night. I opened the card to find a donation to our Marie Curie funds and a short, simple note: “Thank you.”
As I stood there, my eyes filled with tears. All the aches and effort are truly worth it. And, in that moment I remembered what this is all about, and what it’s all for. So that somebody, somewhere may have the peace, comfort and care that a Marie Curie Nurse can provide them in their final days here on earth, in the comfort of their own homes. That is truly an incredible gift, and my efforts are just a wee, small part of making this wonderful gift happen.
That gentle reminder helped me to put aside thoughts of who came to the Coffee Morning, and who didn’t; who’s supported us, and who hasn’t, etc. It’s about love and the greater good. And surely, this world is in desperate need of that right now.
With these thoughts in mind and heart, I glided through my 1k today.  (Number 4 of 5!) Hazel arrived at the pool just as I’d hit my half way mark, and we chatted and swam the rest together. Hazel’s in my Aquafit class, and we had never really spoken much before, but once she heard about our swim she felt compelled to get involved. I think she may become a good friend.
As we’ve now all reached the 4K mark, we’ve decide to space out the rest of the swim for the remainder of the Swimathon. We’re talking about getting together and doing the last lengths together, and maybe taking a Team photo. I think we should break open a bottle of bubbly when we’re done as well!
Oh, dear, sounds like I’m on my way to planning yet another “little event”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello in Warwickshire,
Greetings from another American ex-pat who used to live within a stone's throw from Warwickshire! I remember The Glebe! I have been tossing around the idea of having a cul-de-sac Royal Wedding Street Party up our way in Cumbria. Is yours an all-day affair? Or at a certain time? Love your blog..great job on your charity fund-raising! - Cheers, K.