It has been a little while since our last blog post but we’ve been working hard to get everything tied up and ready before the festive period gets into full swing. Behind on my prezzie shopping and I haven’t even written a single Christmas card yet. But… our tree is finally up, although slightly wonky and much wider than we’d expected. My fault! I chose the tree this year but in my defence, it really wasn’t that tall so I didn’t think it’d be so incredibly wide! We even had to move a few bits of furniture to make sure we could fit the tree in and still get out onto the balcony. But the festive spirit is in the air and it’s wonderful to see positive stories spreading throughout social media and the press.
This week, I read an article about Shish Turkish restaurant in Sidcup, Kent – No one eats alone – Independent online. It struck a cord with me because it is not everyday that a restaurant opens it’s doors and offers free meals for the homeless and elderly. It hit home even more because I know the restaurant; it is down the end of the road where I used to live, and where my parents still live. This is an incredible act of kindness and in the post-EU referendum madness with hate crime on the rise (as well as the declining sterling hitting everyone’s pockets) this Muslim-owned restaurant is stepping out and speaking up that it shouldn’t be about race or religion – “No one eats alone on Christmas. We are here to sit with you.”
Someone to chat with, a plate of food and a warm place to sit for a while can much such a difference. I walked past a homeless man at London Bridge station this morning. I find it hard not to stop and offer money but I know that for some homeless people this is not always the best thing to do. Having cash on them whilst living on the street can be dangerous; getting robbed (or even beaten and robbed) for even the smallest change is a harsh reality for most, but also cash can be easily spent on such things as alcohol and drugs. Whether these vices are the reason they are street homeless or that they have turned to them since, maybe as a means of coping, this lifestyle is an awful situation for many, including our veterans and injured personnel.
Hidden Wounds, run by H4H, offers free and confidential support for veterans, their families and the families of those currently serving, with an array of different things, including depression, anxiety, anger, and alcohol. I recently got hit by a car whilst cycling to work. Although physically, i’m fine (I walked away with a couple of small bruises), the anxiety I felt when I first got back on a bike was surprisingly strong. I can only imagine what it must be like to return to a ‘normal’ lifestyle after serving in the armed forces. And the stress on loved ones! Needless to say, my mum is not best pleased i’m back on my bike cycling to work.
In the run up to Christmas, it’s always tough to find a bit of spare change for charity, but it is this time of year, more than any other, that the charities need your help. Lets keep the momentum going!
P.s I couldn’t walk past the homeless man at London Bridge without getting him some breakfast, so a Starbucks visit later and he was all set with a warm sausage sarnie, blueberry muffin and a hot cup of coffee 🙂
Have a wonderful festive time,