Monthly Archives: May 2016

#40 Rosie the Dulux dog

She (not Rosie the Dulux dog!) used to work in a primary school and among other things was the school first aider, the go-to person for the unwell. It was a role that suited her well being the kind and caring person that she was. I remember spending a day at her school and watching her at work. I, of course, always knew she was special but I remember watching her comfort a small child who felt sick, a young girl about 5 years old who probably just wanted her mummy. She cuddled her and talked to her; she was like she was with us. I was ten years old and I remember feeling a new emotion: pride!

So what does Rosie the Dulux dog have to do with it? And how does it link to RAK #40?

Well, one day around a similar time her colleague became unwell and was required to spend the night in hospital. Without hesitation she offered to pick up and care for the colleague’s dog overnight. It was only on approaching the house did she worry – what if the dog was a Rottweiler? On opening the door she met Rosie, an old English sheepdog. She packed her into the car and drove to pick us up from the childminder. When LJM1 and I saw her with a dog we were slightly disappointed we couldn’t keep her forever! She was a lovely dog and we really enjoyed her overnight stay with us.

This story is what I thought about as I wandered to the park laden with a box of tennis balls for dogs carefully balanced on my double buggy. She would have laughed if she saw the box tip off and me chasing tennis balls down the road!

There weren’t many dogs around but I know it’s a popular area for dog walkers so hopefully they’ll see the box and take a ball! I moved the box 3 times before I found the best location. For once I didn’t care who saw what I was doing, although they probably thought some crazy woman was leaving a box of nappies out in the rain!

#39 I wish I had told you my name 

Dear Richard,

I hope you have a peaceful night. I hope that people are kind to you. I hope that my small token of nourishment will satisfy your hunger and thirst. I hope that you have renewed faith in humanity. I wish that when I asked your name and shook your hand I had told you mine in return.

With love,

LoveJoinMe1 (not my real name, I’d have told you the real one)

For Richard, sleeping rough in Liverpool

My Marathon

Some Random Acts of Kindness are easy, some are scary, some are emotional and some are just plain difficult. I have to say that this has been one of the most difficult for me. It has been a physical challenge as well as a mental one at times.

I didn’t even own a pair of trainers a month ago.  But I have done it. A Marathon in the month of May. 26.2 miles in four weeks. I am sure that many people would find this a walk in the park but for someone who has not done any running since 2007 (except running after small children heading for danger!) it has been a challenge indeed!

I would love to say that I had run every one of those miles, as was my intention, but I have suffered painful ankles and, after doing ten miles in the first week alone, I had to rest my injury and did a couple of short walks the next week instead. My ankles still hurt but I’m hoping that a little bit of a rest this week will sort that out.

Throughout the four weeks I have learned several things:

  • I can run. I may not be fast but I can do it.
  • The place where I live has a lot of very steep hills.
  • I am motivated and determined when I have a set goal. Stubborn some would say! Rain and cold did not faze me.
  • I can run 5 km without stopping
  • I look young when I run!*
  • I actually enjoy it. I enjoy seeing the miles racking up!

Other things that I have noticed:

  • My resting heartrate has dropped to 56-60 bpm from the high 60s-70s a month ago
  • I can run so much more easily now than a month ago. The 5km parkrun that I did yesterday was actually comfortable! Well, except the last half kilometre – that was brutal!
  • I have lost a few pounds in weight completely unintentionally

When I run I think. I thought about mum a lot, what she would make about all this running, what her words of encouragement would be. I thought about the people who I was running for, those with heart problems and how lucky I was to be able to run at all.

I was spurred on by the general public, which surprised me. On one run when I was at my limit (or so I thought) I ran past the church in my town and a frail elderly woman was sitting on the bench outside. She had a Zimmer frame and as I ran past she said with a smile, “I wish I could still run”. How could I stop then?
Another time I ran past a grandmother with her grandson. She spoke to him and asked him to move out of the “young girl’s” way. Young girl!

Finally, at the parkrun yesterday the atmosphere was fantastic. Everyone was so friendly and encouraging, cheering me on, telling me “well done”. I’ve completed my marathon but I am very tempted to continue going to the parkrun! Who would have thought it?!

The most poignant point for me was an older man who was running much faster than me (he beat my time by a lot). I heard him say how he had lost his wife a few days earlier and there he was, running, in his 70s and faster than 30-something me. Wow!

So there you have it: RAK 38 completed and so far £78 raised for the British Heart Foundation.

Now it’s time for a little rest and some celebratory drinks with a couple of friends who were also  doing it. Oh and to cheer on LoveJoinMe2 who is completing her Marathon too!

If you think you won’t be able to run, don’t believe it. This girl can and so can you! Set yourself goals. Being stubborn helps too!

*Whilst running in the parkrun I chatted to people. A lady called Emma was running beside me and we chatted about a small boy completing the race. I commented on how my small boy would be asking for a piggy back and she told me that I didn’t look old enough to have a four year old. She said I looked 19! Ha! When I told her my actual age (let’s just say early 30s) her actual words were too explicit to write here! Running keeps you young!

#37 an ASDA RAK

A late evening trip to Asda was the next opportunity for a Random Act of Kindness. The spur of the moment took me and, alongside my teabags and toilet roll, I put a gift card on the coveyer belt.

In the meantime, two ladies arrived having done what looked like a weekly shop. One of the ladies was disabled and I inwardly panicked that it would be seen as an act of pity rather than a Random Act of Kindess. However, my decision was made and the gift card was already on the belt.

When The cashier was scanning through my shopping she thought that I was paying for my shopping with the giftcard and took the display card from the back of it. Realising her mistake she asked if it was a gift and I replied how it wasn’t a problem.  I put £5 on the card and packed my shopping in my bag.  I was shaking a little (these sorts of RAK make me nervous) and was texting messages like “proper nervous” to LJM2.

Once I’d packed and paid I gave the cashier the gift card back and asked her to take it off the shopping of the people behind. “What, theirs?” she replied, confused. I told her it was a Random Act of Kindess and turned and walked away (rather briskly I should add !).

This was a truly random act and no matter who had come up behind me in the checkout queue the outcome would have been the same. I hope it was well received.

Forget-me-not #36

The (very quickly written) poem reads:

In here you will find some seeds,

They are for you, a good deed,

For we also know of grief,

And that time is all too brief.

The heartache felt of a death, 

Feeling a very last breath,

Take these, it will mean a lot,

Your loved one, Forget-Them-Not.
This RAK is to offer some comfort to the grieving. Accompanying the poem are little envelopes, each with some forget-me-not seeds in, instructions and with a different quotation on the front.

Some of the quotations are meaningful to us, particularly  Sonnet 18 which I read as part of her eulogy as it was one of her favourites.

I took the envelopes to the cemetery in my home town but choosing where to place it was difficult given the rain and wind. In the end I settled on resting it next to the old chapel on the main path through the cemetery.

Little LJM1 & 2 and I spent some time wandering around the graves. The children were care-free: falling over, picking daisies and meandering as they do. In their innocence, death means nothing to them. They didn’t understand the graves, what they were, that they are someone’s sorrow and someone’s comfort. One day they will understand. But I don’t think that they’ll understand or grasp her absence in their lives, no matter how much I tell them. For what you’ve never known you never miss.

One day a little while ago Little LJM1 asked “mummy, do you miss her?”. “Yes,” I replied, “every day.”

Lucky pennies

Both halves of Love Join Me spent a rare day together today so we decided it would be nice to complete  a RAK together. Out came the penny stash as we planned and prepared.

We made 26 lucky penny cards and set off on a walk to the local park. Little Love Join Me 1 placed them on benches and posts in the park and surrounding areas & had lots of fun in the process.

If you picked up a lucky penny card, we hope it brings you good fortune!

Love Join Me

Let’s go for a JungleJog… RAK #34

As someone who has lost a parent to a dreadful disease, it always pulls on my heart strings when I hear about someone who has gone through similar.

I won’t say where I heard about @junglejog as it might reveal my identity, but this person is raising money by completing an ultra marathon through the jungle in Peru for Huntington’s Disease.  Huntington’s is a degenerative genetic disorder and @junglejog has a 50% chance of having it. He has already has lost a parent and siblings to this disease. Losing a parent is bad enough; I can’t  imagine losing other family members as well as having the threat of the disease myself.

I am in awe of anyone who can run a marathon let alone an ultra marathon! It makes my British Heart Foundation marathon in a month look like a stroll down the drive!

I will be following @junglejog for updates & wish him the best of luck!

You can donate here and view information about Huntington’s here.

Bus Fare for #33

Today I was wandering around town in the glorious sunshine thinking about my next RAK and what it could be – I’d just bought a new notebook and wanted to create a list so I wouldn’t forget any good ideas that I’d had.

One hundred metres or so down the road a middle-aged woman approached me with a smile. She said she was very embarrassed but that she had lost her house keys and needed some extra money for bus fare to go and get the spare set from her mother’s house as it was further away. I asked how much she needed and she said about £2. I gave her the money and she was really grateful and told me how she’d asked an older man but he swore at her and was horrible to her.

A year ago I probably would have said I couldn’t help her (I wouldn’t have been rude though) but since beginning my RAK journey I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I have begun to notice many more people in need than I have in the past; I think about people’s life stories and where they’ve come from. I hope that the £2 I gave her didn’t just get her where she needed to go, but that it restored some of her faith in humanity in this ever cynical world.