Every Little Helps

Since going on my sabbatical I have been thinking about something I can do that is worthy. Not that teaching isn’t, but I hanker after being helpful and being able to be proud of myself. Helping others is not only good for them and a good thing to do, I’m hoping it will make me a happier person too.

So today, I’ve been volunteering with FareShare outside my local branch of Tesco as part of their #everycanhelps scheme. The premise of this is that shoppers donate tins and packets of food as they come out of the supermarket. This food gets distributed to the local food bank and other community food organisations by FareShare. The #everycanhelps scheme lasts for the whole weekend (29th November-1stDecember) and is being held across the country; with donations of food going to local causes. I noticed the other day that our local Coop Food also had a trolley for FareShare donations – so there is opportunity beyond the weekend to do something for others and make yourself a little happier.

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During a break from giving out a list of foods that could be donated I grabbed a coffee from the local Caffè Bar Italia and noticed that I could help further by not only buying myself an espresso, but also purchasing a caffè sospeso (a suspended coffee). This is an idea based on Italian traditional goodwill, allowing someone who can’t afford it to pop into the café and enjoy a prepaid warm drink. like Tesco’s involvement with FareShare, perhaps the big coffee houses should embrace the suspended coffee and give our communities an opportunity to help the less fortunate.

You see, every little thing can help others, and hopefully yourself.

Time to Dig

As the first frosts hit the plot, its time to clear away the final signs of a summer of growing. The ever-growing nasturtium have wilted under the frost and the courgette plants have long given up producing their fruits. With the weather dry and bright, if  a little chilly, I’ve taken the opportunity to clear and dig over the big bed at the front of the plot.

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I always used to hate digging, but recently have found it to be a very therapeutic activity. First of all its a good workout; apparently you can burn 600-700 calories in an hours digging, and even three hours of general gardening burns a similar amount of calories. The active part of having an allotment really helps to clear the head and increase motivation, but I find that the very nature of turning over soil to start again is a useful metaphor for trying to forge a new balance and direction in my life.

I also took the opportunity to add some organic material, manure, to the soil. Although we’ve been improving the soil since taking on the plot, it still benefits from the addition of some well rotted manure to loosen and aerate the clay soil. Hopefully the winter frosts can help to break up the soil and lead to a fertile start to next year.