Here we are in ‘Flaming June’, which is my favourite month as the sun is at its highest and the strawberries are on the table. It conjures up so many summery delights: Wimbledon, the beach, picnics, gardens in full bloom, barbecues in the long summer evenings, outdoor theatre, light clothing and sandals and of course the village or church fete.
I have long been an admirer of the fete and have attended many in my long life, both as a visitor and as a worker. I have spent hours “in committee” debating who is in charge of the teas and who responsible for the tombola. Unless you have been involved in the organisation you will have no idea how much work, planning and discussion goes into this one day. Who puts out the chairs, who marshal the car park, the list goes on. It gives one an understanding of how David Cameron must feels in a Cabinet meeting: and they already know their responsibilities as Ministers.
One ingenious game we played recently at a fair was the Human Fruit Machine. With the creation of a human sized cardboard cabinet and a handle with a tennis ball on top, I paid my fifty pence, pulled the handle and magically three hands appeared from each of the apertures in the front of the box, holding three different pieces of fruit. Unfortunately I got two apples and an orange and the second time a pear, apple and banana, not a winning combination, but hilarious fun for all.
National carers week
On a more serious note this month we are looking at the crisis in care that faces our vulnerable population. This month also hosts National Carers week which highlights the amazing work done by the army of carers who give their time and energy to nurture loved ones. They are often the forgotten band who can never give up.
Listening to the radio this week I heard a talk by a young woman who has written a book called The Art of Asking, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, which made me consider the whole question of whether we do ask for help enough, or try and muddle through on our own often limited resources.
Why is it we find it so difficult to ask for help for ourselves, but are so cross if someone we know does not ask us for help when we know we would be only too glad to assist? Why do we say “No, it’s fine I can manage” when it would be so much easier to let the other person do a bit of shopping for you, or collect your prescription from the doctors?
Perhaps we should be more accepting of help and learn to let our friends contribute, you could be doing them a favour too by them not worrying about you so much. The irony is most of us like being asked for help!
As one myself, I have an interest in the recent news that grandparents are struggling to keep access to their grandchildren when families split up. I would be devastated to be denied the joy of spending time with my son’s little girls, but I know there are plenty of you who have to share with other grandparents and step-grandparents. With so many fragmented families these days I feel it is important to foster the special link with grandparents. I was contacted recently by a reader who is trying to establish a group called ‘Grandfriend’ to provide surrogate grandparenting.
Many families do not have grandparents around for their children or any support for themselves, due to location or bereavement or family estrangement/break ups. Obviously all the necessary checks need to be done for safety reasons, but the idea that those of us who have time and love to give can share this special bond with other children, who do not have grandparents nearby, seems like a good one to me. I would be interested to hear your views on this initiative.