Week 22: Knit and Natter

Week 22, I was invited to Cheneys Lodge in Seaford, for a Knit and Natter session. Cheneys lodge is block of properties, ran by Sussex Housing and Care to help support senior residents.

The purpose of the session is to help the older residents make friends and interact, so they don’t feel lonely in their later life. I was invited by Rebecca who organises the sessions, and was told the lovely people would teach me to knit. She wasn’t wrong.

Needless to say, I have no knitting experience on my CV. I still require my mother to sew on the spare buttons on my shirts, yet alone knit a scarf. I can natter to be fair, so if in doubt I’ll talk my way out of trouble.

At this week’s session we had Diana, Rita, Sue, Ann, Pete, Rebecca and myself. Nice numbers, as it meant I could at least remember everyone’s name. Diana would be my teacher, a genuinely lovely lady. Armed with my orange wool and two needles I was ready to go. Though I had no idea what to do.

Diana would ‘cast on’ for me, and then proceed to show me what to do. “Through the hole, around, back through, off, repeat”. She showed me a good ten times, and it was one of those moments when I went “yeah, got you” then as soon as she gave me the needles it was like I hadn’t been watching her for the past five minutes. Fortunately, she was very patient (she needed to be) and kept talking me through it. “Through the hole, around, back through, off.”

Slow start
Slow start

Despite these simple instructions, I managed to mess it up a lot. Diana would repair the damage in seconds everytime. I did slowly get the hang of it, only with intense concentration however. I looked around the room, and the others were knitting all sorts of shapes with such ease. I can’t even begin to work out how you knit shapes a line was tough enough.

The nattering part was also fun, Diana asked why I had to do a challenge every week. I explained I didn’t have too (didn’t want her thinking I was on community service or anything like that) but that it was my new years resolution and explained some of the things I had done. She told me some of the things she had done… Sky dives, white water rafting, mountain expeditions, bungee jumping, she actually had done loads of cool things that I’d love to do.

So after an hour, what did I knit? A slug’s scarf. Big enough to keep any slug warm in the winter. Yeah I was terrible, but it’s harder than it looks. They told me I was good (being nice of course).. Fair play to all you knitters out there, this requires a bit of skill and patience, neither of which I’m blessed with!

My Slug Scarf
My Slug Scarf

Week 20: ‘Disability Day’

Week 20 of my comfort zone challenge – The Sussex Cricket in the Community Disability Day. A day designed get disabled groups, whether it be mentally, physically or emotionally, active and having fun, through the use of cricket. Disabled groups are invited from all over Sussex, to the home of Sussex Cricket, the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground, to partake in many activities from throwing, batting, bowling, table cricket, deaf cricket and much more.

I volunteered to help out at the disability day, having shamefully, never done anything like this before. My role was to run one of the stations of activities. I was given the inflatable target throw… They simply throw the ball through the target, making it harder each time.

Disability Day

One of the full time coaches, before the event had started, gave me the advice “Just make sure you are enthusiastic” which turned out to be pretty good advice. Groups aged from young school children about 8 to 80 year olds. The reactions as I ran my station from each and every person varied, all making me smile in a different way, but three people in particular are worth mentioning:

Chaz – A young 11 year old child, in an electric wheel chair. Chaz instantly asked my name, and wanted to keep a tally of everyone’s score to see if they would beat his score of 5. Rather than wanting to win though, he was encouraging all the others in his group to beat him. Which I thought was really refreshing in what seems to be an ultra competitive world we live in! Chaz became my mate over the day, he supports Arsenal and his favourite player was Theo Walcott, he even taught me a new handshake/fist pump combination. To say goodbye, he said “If I don’t see you before, have a great half term”. What a nice kid.

Disability Day 3

Andrew – After being the best in his group at my target throw, he wanted to go even further back to see how far he would go. This sparked a competition with him and one of our coaches from across the other side of the hall. After a few attempts, Andrew managed to win this competition, and as it went into the hole, he ran at my full pace and gave me the biggest of high ten’s as we both celebrated like he had won the world cup. He could hardly contain his excitement as he kept walking around with a smile on his face, and occasionally high five-ing me again!

Chloe – Chloe, was a women with Downs Syndrome, who managed to throw it in the target from the hardest cone, despite her saying she’d never do it. After she did it, I gave her a big high five and told her that was brilliant. She then proceeded to blush and told me I was gorgeous. To my dismay, I found out later in the day, she had already asked out one of the coaches on a date three times!

Disability Day 2

There were plenty more stories, and plenty more characters. All the cliches came through, this really did remind me of how lucky I am and it really was rewarding. Selfishly, making these guys days was making my own. Furthermore, the bonds some of these people had with their carers was really heart warming, and did restore a lot of my faith in humanity. I felt extremely glad I had helped out in this event, and despite rain scares, it was a brilliantly organised event. I just felt bad that I hadn’t ever helped out in anything like this before! I’d strongly recommend this if you haven’t done anything like this before.

Disability Day 4

It just highlights some worlds that I’ve barely even considered over the years, and there are plenty of ways to help people on a small scale, this being an example of one. I’ll finish this post from a good quote from Winston Churchill “We making a living in life by what we get. We make a life by what we give”. A good one to live by I recon.

P.S If you want to see a high ten fail.. watch the Meridian news piece 28 seconds in! http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/update/2015-05-18/cricket-club-opens-its-practice-nets-to-the-disabled/ 

52 weeks, 52 tasks.

New Year’s Resolution – Stepping outside my comfort zone.

According to Forbes’ Magazine, just 8% of people achieve their New Years Resolution. Fortunately, for the last two years I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of that 8%. In 2013, I gave up hangovers with success; and in 2014 I stopped trying to act like I was Dan Blizerian, thinking I’m some sort of millionaire, after getting a full time job. So I’m good at this New Year Resolution stuff. So here’s the deal, 2015 I want to challenge myself!

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch.

I love this quote, mainly because it enforces the message if you’re willing to change, your life will change also. For years, I’ve been brandishing the quote to friends and colleagues suggesting they need to step out of their comfort zone, like I am some kind of motivational guru that can tell. It was only after a disastrous ‘date’ at the end of November, I realised, I’m living in my comfort zone… and well within it.

The Plan of Action

– 52 tasks outside my usual day to day activities
– 1 per week
– Documented each week

Ground Rules

Thought I’d set some ground rules originally to stop this getting out of hand:

– Nothing involved with this should effect my professional work life
– Spending all my money, doesn’t constitute stepping out of my comfort zone.
– Nothing that effects my personal appearance (linked to the first rule)
– Any thing too risky, particularly with my life, will be binned.

Ideas

Ideas are very welcome… Would you believe, I haven’t filled up all 52 weeks yet!

Week 1 and 2

So I’m covering week one by starting up this blog to document all the progress… Yes it counts, I’ve never done this before.

Week 2, I’ll be giving blood…

ONE DOWN, FIFTY ONE TO GO