Sunday, 23 March 2014

Just generous

While I'm on the subject of kindness, I must tell you about Michelle.

Michelle is a Kiwi. She lives in Edinburgh but weekly commutes to London.  She (doesn't look old enough but nonetheless) has a 27 year old son who is still in New Zealand, who she hasn't seen in six years when he came over here for his twenty-first birthday.

She had the misfortune to be on a flight from Gatwick to Edinburgh about four weeks ago.

We were there.  We were tired.  We had been going, at this point, for about twenty two hours.  The end of a wonderful holiday but with the inevitable delays, missed connections and more delays.   No one was crying, but quite a lot of us felt like it.

Michelle started talking to the girls as we waited by the gate.  They told her all about their holiday and their school and their family. She kept an eye on them while I nipped to the loo. (B was wrangling M, who was a little, shall we say, crotchety).

We said goodbye at the door of the plane (actually I ran back to say thank you, as they shoved us and our unruly children on first) and thought never to see her again.

As we waited for our bags at Edinburgh, tired, and by this stage pukey children slumped into the uncomfy chairs by the carousel, I heard someone calling my name.

It was Michelle, and a large carrier bag. 

I bought these for the children, she said.  They're not from New Zealand, but we'll pretend they are.

Four teddy bears.  One each.  For no reason other than that she was kind.

I did cry then.  And hugged her.  And we really will now never see her again.

But two of the bears are called Michelle, and one is Michael.  The last is Thomas, but you can't have everything.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Gherkin goes viral

Watch this (hopefully it's there now - sorry for anyone who clicked when it wasn't).

And sponsor the gherkin to run the London Marathon (probably in under 3 1/2 hours).  He's going to be the fastest building you'll ever see.

And if you can't sponsor, please share, whether by blogging, facebooking, tweeting or just telling your friends (or corporate donors).  A viral gherkin's got to be worth supporting.

It's for the Cure Parkinson's Trust, and if you want to know why this matters to me, read this.

Go Gherkin!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Generous to a fault?

We were on holiday with my in-laws recently. 

I know, lucky us.  No really.  It was Antigua.  Lucky us.

Anyway, my mother in law bought the children all a little token present.  A souvenir sort of thing.  S's was a necklace, made of shell, with a little dolphin pendant on it.  It wasn't expensive, but it was rather lovely: pretty and delicate, and significantly more tasteful than the ones either A or L chose.

Back in Blighty, Primary 1 are still working through their sounds, and this week's is ph.

Dolphin's got a ph in it.  said S, proudly, to me on Tuesday. That's why I took my dolphin necklace to school.
 It has, said I, encouragingly.  But where's your necklace now, S?
I gave it to my friend Molly.  She liked it so I said she could have it.

So I rang Molly's mother.  Who found it and promised to give it back.

We had Molly to play today, and I remembered the dolphin necklace when her mother came to pick her up. 

She'd given it back, apparently.  Or at least she'd given it to Molly to give back at school.

S, what did you do with your necklace?
I gave it to Annie.  Everyone really liked it and so I said Molly could have it first and then Annie.  Zoe's next.

So I texted Annie's mother.  Who rang back;  Annie is very distressed.  She has broken the necklace, and the dolphin has disappeared.

It doesn't matter really, it's not valuable, and I'm much more worried that Annie doesn't get into trouble for it, but what to say to S?

Because my immediate reaction was to tell her off for taking precious things into school and giving them away.  She can't do that, surely? 

But the more I think about it, the more proud I am of her.  She has something she loves but when someone else loves it, what is her reaction? She gives it to them.   That's more generous and less materialistic than I suspect I would be.

Actually, forget "suspect".  Than I know I would be.  Because although I have told S it was very kind of her to give it to both Molly and Annie, I've also told her that she's not to do it with anything else.

But I have a horrid feeling that was the wrong thing to say...