Tag Archives: Care Home

Something you don’t see every day

I know from my own work that people take animals to Care Homes because the residents benefit from having animals around. We’ve even taken ducklings and chickens to visit when we’ve been to Care Homes, though the consequences can be messy, to say the least.

Seeing my father for his 88th birthday yesterday we found something we’d never considered before – a miniature Shetland pony visiting the rooms.  It’s not bad when you can reach 88 and still find something new to do.

The home has been doing well with events recently, and Dad has also been bowling and sailing, two other things he’s never done before.

As a family we’ve had a couple of bad experiences with horses over the years. Dad was cornered by one of his grandfather’s plough horses (an animal well known for nasty temper, as was the grandfather). His father was nearly killed by one of his gun horses whilst serving in the Royal Artillery during the Great War. It panicked whilst under fire and kicked him in the chest. However, I think I’ve mentioned this before so I won’t go on.

I didn’t have my camera with me, and I’d left my phone in the car too, so there is no photograph. However, I did manage to find their website so you can see what they do.

Sorry about the lack of photos again – I’m going to have to up my game. Here’s a cheery picture from the archive to make up for it.


Care Bears on the Farm

General of the Gingerbread Army

Goose Fair arrived in the first week of October, and started a train of thought that led to gingerbread.  From Goose Fair, through Halloween, Bonfire Night and until Christmas we will have gingerbread in a variety of forms. It started off with a look at traditional Grantham Gingerbreads. I’ve never done too well with biscuits that spread out, so I decided to look for another recipe and go back to that one.

It’s still in note form at the moment, but I will get round to writing it down properly soon.

These are more like a ginger biscuit when they are done, being crisp all the way through. My research (which meant eating several a day for three days) shows that they keep well. The residents of the Care Home we visited yesterday, and the Men in Sheds today all confirmed that they were good biscuits and had kept well. As these are people with years of experience in biscuit eating I think we will class this recipe as a success.

We also did apple juice and hoopla at the care Home, and talked of other fairs apart from Goose Fair (it turns out that most of the ladies don’t come from round here so we ended up talking of Shaftesbury, Hull, King’s Lynn and  Barnet). All in all it was an animated session even before Julia unpacked her mobile hoopla kit. Once the lure of prizes set its hook even the card school in the corner stopped to throw a hoop or two.

The only problem was that there were a lot of biscuits – forty medium size, forty small, six round and one odd shape. I tested them until I couldn’t test another one and when I went to bed I could still see them, row after row of gingerbread men…



The other end of the scale

Two days ago we had five-year-olds, yesterday we had ninety-five-tear-olds. There isn’t necessarily a lot of difference between them at times, though the  older age group is easier to handle as they speak more slowly and don’t run about so much.

They also have better stories.

On the minus side, we have to visit them and this month (for a session on harvesting) we had to work in the conservatory, which is hot and airless at the best of times. Fortunately it was overcast, but even so, I felt relieved to finish, particularly as one of the old ladies kept asking where she was (despite us stopping to tell her every couple of minutes) and nobody offered us a cup of tea. That’s right, nobody offered us a cup of tea. The country is going to the dogs. First we lose the Empire, then we lose our manners and the ability to pronounce certain letters (‘t’ and ‘th’ come to mind). Finally, our tea ceremony (though not so formal as some) seems to be extinct.

Fortunately the Empire has come here, and it has brought a vast array of curry houses with it, so not all change is bad. I’m also growing old, so I’m allowed to be bad mannered and I’m becoming too deaf to bother listening to the inane lisping of footballers and teenagers (did they say ‘four’ or ‘Thor’, you ask yourself?) However, you’re never too old to need tea.

That was actually meant to be a serious post about the joys of working with such diverse age groups, but I was thirsty and I’m never more than a few yards from a rant. (A bit like supposedly never being more than six feet from a rat, though with different spelling).

After the talk we passed the biscuits round. They liked the biscuits. I think they liked the biscuits more than the wheatsheaf loaves, the corn dollies and the fresh vegetables.

There must be a moral in the ability of biscuits to bring happiness.

Though, of course, you can’t attain full happiness unless they give you a cup of tea!

A matter of Loaf and Death

It’s hot (29 degrees C according to the weather station) and it’s still (wind between 0 and 2 mph). Fortunately I bought a fan that works from a USB port whilst in Scarborough last week. As a result I am not actually a lot cooler (what do you expect for £2.99?) but I am quite smug.

So, sitting here smug but warmish, what am I going to blog about today?

How about telling you about my plans for the afternoon? As I was in the shop this morning I looked longingly at the cider section, imagining the bottles lightly jewelled with condensation from the fridge. What could be better than an afternoon spent in the shade sipping cold cider?

Imagine that the picture goes wavy now, as my dream disappears and reality takes hold. Instead of sunbeams, dappled shade (even a touch of boskiness) and a cold cider, we are left with reality. That reality is sun pouring in thorough windows in the stuffy communal room at a local care home.

There will be tea afterwards, and though I am quite fond of tea there will be preliminaries. These include making dough, loading it in the car and travelling to work in a strange kitchen, knead dough and turn ovens on to bake bread. Yes, my picture of cool perfection is replaced by one of hell.

Don’t judge me, I do like the ladies in the care home, and I do understand that they need something to keep them occupied. I just don’t want to bake on the hottest day of the year. Actually I don’t want to bake at all in a borrowed kitchen with limited time and resources.

It’s Julia’s idea. You may notice a pattern emerging here – any dull, grinding, boring, hot, virtually impossible, ill-conceived idea that needs putting into action usually comes from her.

Any dull, grinding, boring, hot, virtually impossible, ill-conceived idea that becomes reality is usually as a result of me getting bored, hot, annoyed, homicidal…you get the picture.

Yet she is the one with the reputation for delivering difficult and innovative projects.

She has just told me to man up and get on with it. She says that nobody has ever died from baking bread, with the implication being that fatality is a distinct possibility if I don’t do what I’m told.



End of week report

It’s been a mixed week, featuring activity and idleness in equal parts. Julia and the group provided the activity whilst I did my bit by providing a large helping of idleness. I’m tempted to refer to it as sloth, having been doing some reading about the seven deadly sins, but that just makes me smile at the thought of a sloth.

(As she reads this Julia will be rolling her eyes and repeating the favourite saying of wives all over the world. Yes, it’s true. Men never really grow up.)

Julia and the group have set seeds, planted bedding, moved sheep, assisted in lambing and done various other things. As I write this she is feeding poultry after a day of wrestling with EU forms and speaking to people about their forthcoming visits to the farm.

We also called at a Care Home yesterday and did a session on herbs. It generally went well, because the smell of herbs seems to perk people up, and we are now organising a day out on the farm for the residents. It will be interesting, as a number of them are from farming backgrounds and I’m sure we’ll get some stories out of them.

Me? I’ve typed a bit (though not enough to keep up with the blog routine) and written a grant application. After that I was left with the feeling that I’d been battered round the head with a book of management doublespeak and it has taken two days for my brain to return to normal.

Other than that I have wasted time, procrastinated and searched Wikipedia for a variety of subjects, including pre-war football and the Spanish Civil War. The first was sparked by the purchase of a biography of Herbert Chapman from a discount bookshop and I’m not sure why I started with the second. I think it was because I looked up the origins of detective fiction, which led to books set in Southwold (though I don’t recall how) and thence to George Orwell.

That’s the magic of the internet.

Note: We have just found out how the chickens escaped – the Community Payback team were asked if they could help move the chickens and misinterpreted this as “let them out”. Easy mistake to make if you live in a town and have never kept chickens I suppose.