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If I don't go shopping every day, I don't get to speak to anyone for days on end.

I found this piece below ' on line' and wanted to share it with you. But before that :-

It reminded me - long ago - asking my then 80 year old Mother why she went shopping every single day and why didn't she do a weekly shop with me in the car - and her answer surprised me '

'If I don't go out - even for a loaf or some milk, I don't get to speak to anyone for days on end so go out even if just to make small talk with strangers in the shops.'

This saddened me at the time as I had never thought of this. She lived alone in a Warden Assisted flat but didn't particularly get on with other women very well, and as it was mostly all women, and she kept to herself. We were - as most people are, busy with our lives and saw her weekly - but the rest of the time she was alone and - looking back, we always wish we could have / should have done more - and with much reflection and regret, it is too late now.

Recently a friend of mine had his parents visit from 400 miles drive away and he barked at his Mother - gently - for not bringing down the things he had asked as she had got is all wrong and brought the wrong things down. I pointed out how hurtful this was as she was elderly and did her best - and as an old lady - she may not have many years left and to be kind to her, and he got the point and later apologised to his Mum and things were fine. Sometimes we say and do things because our elderly parents irritate or piss us off in silly innocent ways and we - being busy and rushed with life - often do not have enough understanding or comprehension of what it is like for them.

My Father decades ago would park his car near my brothers house and sit in it and not come in. Chances were, he was lonely as well but didn't want to be a bother, thinking he was ' in the way' and so would drive off an hour later. My bro would see him out of the window and expect him to come knocking, and then forgot and got on with his day and didn't remember until much later - and even at the time he was irritated with Father for not coming to the door but with hindsight and decades later, the realization he didn't want to be a pest - a bother - a nuisance left him lonely when all the while he would have been welcomed at any time.

I see it here. Lonely older man come and book in for a few days and tell us how they live alone and do not have any social life or friends - as being elderly - how do you meet people ? Here at Hamilton Hall they share a laugh and some joy and then return home alone and - lonely.

I also received a wonderful letter 3 weeks ago announcing the death of a dear customer - Bernard the magician - announcing that by the time you get this letter I will be ' gone.' and it was so sweet that he thought of me. He stated that there had been a few people in his life that had made a difference and that I was one of them, and tears welled. He had visited a half dozen times or more and the last time we spoke was about 6 months ago when he called for a chat - and I told him that the home made Christmas decorations he had made for me years ago, were still in use and still admired and he was tickled pink, assuming I would use them once and throw away but NO - I use them every year and he was thrilled and giggled. His letter was so sweet and so full of laughter - not doom and gloom at his death, but a celebration of his life and as a magician, he was a comic and would entertain with magic tricks and jokes and always had a smile, and always left us with a smile. I suppose now, he is showing magic tricks to God - who will probably say the same as I did -' How the Devil did you do that ??? '

Bless you Bernard. Bless you.

John Bellamy


“Today at work this elderly lady asked me if I could have someone help walk her to her car.

I told her I would help her.

She instantly grabbed hold of my arm. She could not walk fast and after every few steps, -

she had to take a little break. She made conversation with me and was talking about music.

I mentioned to her that I went to school for music and she started talking about Tschaikovsky and other composers with me. Our whole walk took about 10 minutes in total. She told me she doesn’t get to talk to people much and it was nice to be able to have a conversation with someone.

She was so excited and her face lit up with joy. When we reached her car she thanked me so much and said she wishes she could take me home to continue our conversation. You never know how such a small gesture as simple as talking can make someone’s day. Thank you Darcy Mirowski for capturing this picture!”


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