A Lincolnshire Christmas Together
A Lincolnshire Christmas Together
We may not be able to physically spend a Lincolnshire Christmas together but I’m sure we’ll do our best to to make it festive and fun.
If the Covid-19 virus restrictions allow I hope there’ll be some form of limited travel allowed. On a personal note I think I prefer to spend my time with my family at home. Yes, it’s going to be different and difficult but ‘hopefully’ it’ll be a restriction for just this year. I’ve no doubt it’s going to be lonely for many people but with a little lateral thinking and our community spirit I’m sure we’ll find a way to reach out.
Christmas Is Coming Early
Obviously Christmas Day won’t be changing – December 25th will still be the day to celebrate with presents. FaceTime/Zoom/Teamer etc will help with an element of ‘cyber togetherness’ even if we can’t celebrate with physical togetherness. What will you be doing? You can make time for others less fortunate of course. I’ve made contact with a few agencies in the County and will post a few links later for those of you who are willing to have a look.
I’ve heard back from Cath who runs the Grimsby Food Kitchen and she told me that the traditional Chinese/Indian buffet will be held on 13 December for the homeless thanks to a generous £500.00 donation y Micky Dalton. Meat has been paid for by generous public donations and the outstanding support of Gary’s Meat in Freeman Street, Grimsby. As always though they need donations so please make a donation of £2.00 if you can. You’ll find more info on their Facebook page.
A Lincolnshire Christmas Together – Click on the picture to go to the Grimsby Food Kitchen Facebook page
Christmas Decorations In November…
Is that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ for you? Many people don’t want to think about Christmas before December but we’re in uncharted territory this year! I’ve been talking about Christmas since 7 September and trying to get people enthused. Why? Because it’s been a bad year for most traders and general public alike. If I can encourage people to plan their online shops early perhaps we can salvage some of the poor sales. In addition, if more people shop early for Christmas and, most importantly, shop locally, we’ll have a better survival rate for local businesses into 2021. ‘A Lincolnshire Christmas together’ really is our key to success. It’s not just about spending the day with family and friends (or not as the case may be) but making sure we stick together by shopping locally.
Black Friday is an American tradition so why it’s popular over here I have no idea! In Britain it used to be the ‘end of season sale’ or ‘the winter sale’ followed by the ‘January sales’ and ‘Boxing Day sales’. It would be nice to get back to our own traditions wouldn’t it? At a time of financial uncertainties how useful is a big sale before the biggest spending season of the year? Looking at Black Friday with my cynical head on, it’s just a way of trying to get us to part with our hard earned money in the big stores.
How would you feel about having a ‘free to use’ local discount scheme?
A Lincolnshire Christmas Together
A window, till or website sticker advertising local discounts will be appealing to shoppers. A screenshot of the discount logo presented at the till when making a local purchase will be easy to use. Terms & Conditions being open to shop and service owners for individual discount as appropriate will be easy to manage. Each provider setting a specific discount or offer rather than having a set figure imposed will make the scheme more workable too. Creating a special discount on ‘end of range’ items, ‘buy one, get one half price’, 10% off selected range or donations made to charity etc will give the provider the flexibility needed to make the scheme workable.
Tailored to fit your own requirements, a dedicated App will be the obvious next step. By working together we can create our own County wide scheme that will benefit everyone. I’ve mentioned it on twitter and it certainly generated some interest so do let me know if you’d like to join in. I’ll be interested to hear from traders and customers so please feel free to email me with your thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mandarin Therapies provides bespoke complementary therapies from the comfort of your own home. Gift vouchers are available now and are valid for 12 months. Click on the picture to go to the Facebook page or click on this link @MandarinMothers to follow on twitter.
A Lincolnshire Musical Christmas
If you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll know that I like to support everything ‘local’ and that includes music too. The @LincsConnect twitter account has a weekly featured artist, band or choir so that’s definitely worth popping over to see. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a song by a group of youngsters who’re surely destined for greater things. You’ll find them on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube so please look them up. These youngsters hail from Cleethorpes and their average age is 15. Yes, that’s ‘FIFTEEN’ – unbelievable!
Have a listen to the latest recording by Revivalry by clicking on this picture. Link to YouTube
Lincolnshire Shopping Lists
Do you make a shopping list? Santa likes a list so when you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas visit the #LincsConnectChristmas hashtag on twitter and Facebook. There are lots of lovely gift ideas so have a look at the posts by our local traders. After all, every penny spent there will be helping someone local and keeping the local economy going.
A Lincolnshire Christmas Together – Click on the picture to go straight to the #LincsConnectChristmas hashtag
If you like arts, crafts and hand made jewellery etc visit the #LincsArtCraftHour hashtag for local inspiration. We’re really lucky to have such talented people in our County so please do support them.
Click on the picture to visit the hashtag but better still, please do join us on Twitter if you get the chance
That’s All For Now…
That’s it for the blog at the moment but I do intend to update this one and post several more blogs too. Get in touch with any requests by emailing me at email@example.com
15 Years And Going Strong
There have been some lovely stories emerging about the organisations that have sprung up recently who’re providing food for those in need during the Covid-19 pandemic but we mustn’t forget the organisations that have been providing food and support for the homeless and vulnerable all year round. I can think of several and during this lockdown period I have had time to contemplate and decide what I value and what I am truly grateful for. As I look around and see more and more people doing wonderful things for the community I realise that I could and should (and will) be doing more.
I find a lot of my contacts through Twitter and several people really stand out for their kindness, selflessness and community spirit. Some of the things they do without the need for praise or recognition is truly humbling and it’s worth remembering that they don’t have to do what they do. They could have an easy life and leave the volunteering to someone else. That said, if all the volunteers stopped what they were doing to leave the help for others to do, nothing would get done and the country would really be in dire straights! Society owes the volunteers a great debt and with that in mind, I hope to write about some or all of them in my blogs to let their stories be known.
One such group is the Grimsby Food Kitchen which is run Cath and Ken with help from some of their lovely volunteers. In normal circumstances (outside of the Covid-19 restrictions) Cath and Ken provide emotional support to the homeless and vulnerable people in the area with hugs and smiles flowing freely. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be homeless and without human contact but I can imagine that the Grimsby Food Kitchen is much more than just a place to visit for Sunday lunch.
Grimsby Food Kitchen – The GFK provide so much more than just Sunday lunch. The smiles and kind eyes say so much more… Click on the picture for a link to the Facebook page
Sometimes, when you’re faced with the worry of having to move premises the answer is right on your doorstep. A very generous donation by Pete and Tricia saw the GFK move into new premises rent free for as long as they need it. Along with a donation of £4000 from the Lincolnshire Community Foundation @LincolnshireCF as well as generous donations from the Rotary International, Humberston Lions and many others including the general public of course plus outstanding support from the local press who regularly contribute on their twitter feed @GrimsbyLive and through their website GrimsbyTelegraph.co.uk Cath and Ken are able to make bulk food purchases from the cash and carry in order to cook the Sunday lunches and Wednesday hot dogs. Support is always helpful of course but when you’re volunteers providing a no cost service I’m sure you’ll agree that the support is pretty vital.
GFK Ready for service on Sunday and Wednesday lunch times
Alas, it’s not just a case of ‘turn up for work, cook, serve and leave’! There isn’t a kitchen in the centre so Cath cooks everything at home then transports it to 18 Clethorpes Road, Grimsby where she, Ken and their volunteers prepare for service from 11.30am through until around 1.30pm. The additional voluntary help is essential if everything is to run smoothly. Cath and Ken are always on hand to ‘dish out’ the smiles, hugs and support to those who need it and guide people to other agencies for additional support when required. I can imagine that the room is normally full of chatter and laughter but, with the Covid-19 outbreak they have had to adapt to a take-away service and social distancing. That must be difficult on many levels I’m sure.
I had a lovely chat with Cath yesterday and she explained how everything works. Although it’s very generous of people to turn up with a food parcel you can imagine the storage needed for small items of perishable foods – it just isn’t practical. The new Wednesday Hot Dog lunch sessions alone will need around 150 sausages each week so bulk buying is really the only practical way forward for this project.
Having chatted with Cath I can tell you now that she just isn’t the sort of person who will ask for glory, praise, recognition…… or cash! So, on her behalf, I’ll ask for her. If you can spare ‘any’ cash please get in touch via Facebook Grimsby Food Kitchen or Twitter @CathHomewood to make your own arrangements. Let’s also keep in mind that the GFK isn’t the only charity in the County that needs your financial help so if you would like to make a donation to a charity in your local area perhaps this short blog will have helped to jog your memory.
I would also like to say a special thanks to @GrimsbyLive for the use of their pictures for this blog.
“Never Betray Anyone’s Trust”
When dealing with people it’s important to be approachable and trustworthy. That applies every day of course but when you’re talking to vulnerable people it’s important that they are able to trust you. Cath told me that she won’t tolerate ‘he said, she said’ conversations where people are talking about others. It’s probably fair to say that the people who are turning up for food are like an extended family so when they need help or advice they need to know that the person they are talking to will be there for them. In Caths’ own words “never betray anyone’s trust” seems doubly important.
Bless you Cath and Ken, you’re doing a fantastic job. Keep smiling and keep cooking.
Did Someone Say Food?
This year the Louth Pie Day (#LouthPieDay) had a bit of a setback. Just about to celebrate it’s second year….. and then we had the lockdown for Covid-19. Not to be disheartened Justine and Kiat made a subtle change to the hashtag and called it #VirtualLouthPieDay. What a brilliant idea! The idea of Louth Pie Day is to encourage visitors to visit the various shops in Louth to sample and buy a variety of pies and if there is any competition going on I certainly wouldn’t like to have to select an overall winner from the many entries. What’s your idea of a pie? Is it a pork pie? What about a steak and ale pie? Vegetarian pie or vegan pie? Oh yes, and then there’s the fruit pie of course…
Click on this picture to go straight to the Facebook page
Unfortunately the shops were closed for customers this year so there were no pies to be bought. However, the #VirtualLouthPieDay was conceived and facebook and twitter followers were invited to make their own pies and share pictures of their creations on the Facebook and Twitter @LouthPieDay pages. If you would like to see what happened just type in #VirtualLouthPieDay to your search bar on twitter or Facebook to see all the pictures and comments. You might also like to follow the pages to make sure you don’t forget to enjoy the fun next year.
The #LincsConnectJobs hashtag is still live so if you have any jobs to advertise Just add in the hashtag to your advert and tweet it or post it on Facebook.
To follow @LtsaSCITT on twitter just click on this picture to go straight to their profile, click the follow button and search their tweets for more information.
If you’re considering a carer in teaching, recruitment is still going ahead for 2020 via Zoom. If you are interested email firstname.lastname@example.org today for a Zoom link and an appointment. Don’t let Covid-19 deter you. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Are You A Reader?
Author Lynette Creswell from Immingham
Author Lynette Creswell has several books to her name already and has now produced a book of short stories which is due to be released very soon. Being dyslexic I much prefer to read short stories so this book will be perfect for me. Do you have a preferred genre or do you just pick up a book that takes your fancy at the time? I know some people can read a whole book in a weekend (or even faster) but I’m afraid a ‘normal’ sized paperback can take me up to a year to read. It’s odd that I can enjoy writing so much and can plan a blog like this one in my head in seconds and take around half a day to research it, put it together and post it but when it comes to reading….. Well, a year to read a paperback kind of tells you what I’m like at reading!
There’s an empty space where a book should be!
I’ve been invite to the ‘Cover Reveal’ for the new book of short stories titled ‘Cat Thief’ and I’m pleased to be able to extent that invitation to you too. Don’t worry, it’s all online so we’ll all be safe and secure; Hopefully I’ll see you (virtually) there on Saturday 2 May from 11.00am to 12.30pm
Click on the picture to book your virtual place….
I’m certainly looking forward to getting back to some sort of normality and I’m sure everyone else is too. With that in mind, I’ll leave you with a gift voucher idea that’ll give you something to look forward to. You can buy your voucher now and look forward to enjoying a bespoke massage from the comfort of your own home later in the year. What’s not to like? If you would like to order your e-voucher just email email@example.com
Click on the picture to go to the Mandarin Therapies website
Stay Safe everyone
It’s Not Just Lincolnshire…
Just putting the record straight to prevent any ambiguity; There are a whole army of extra volunteers across the country who have stepped up to lend their help during this Covid-19 pandemic. They are working in the community and from home and I’m sure the whole nation supports their selfless actions and deeds. I salute you for your kindness.
Whether you use social media or not you must surely be aware by now that there are some fantastic initiatives across the County of Lincolnshire so by touching on just a few here I hope it highlights the hard work that everyone is putting in. Writing about this single initiative will hopefully help to highlight the many, many other selfless acts of kindness (too numerous to mention) that are happening here daily.
When Charity Really Does Start At Home
Nerves of steel – I wonder how many onions Barry has had to chop in his kitchen?
When the staff of the NHS, police, fire, first responders and many others were asked to step up to the mark and the lockdown was announced a whole army of volunteers sprang into action to lend a hand. Barry is the head chef at The Pyewipe Inn Lincoln but with the lockdown he had no customers and nothing to cook. That is of course until he teamed up with his neighbour Laurance in Bardney to start cooking from home for the frontline services! Apparently you don’t need a kitchen the size of a small village hall to cook a thousand meals as these two have proven. Cooking from home in a domestic kitchen while spending no money and having no ingredients is a pretty tall order. However, the generosity of local businesses and the public knows no bounds. In fact, people have been so generous that Barry and Laurance have managed to prepare and cook over a thousand meals for delivery to the staff at Lincoln County Hospital, Grantham Hospital, Sleaford Fire and police crews, Nettleham police HQ, Metheringham Fire station, ambulance crews….. With over a thousand meals produced there will be far too many to mention here!
The men behind the meals… You can find them on Twitter @BarryLaurance or click on this picture to find them on Facebook
Personally I think I might have caved in after chopping my way through my second or third batch of onions so hats off to these guys. They could see the queues at the local supermarkets and experienced the empty shelves so decided to put their skills to good use to make sure that our frontline services were fed. Having food and ingrediants delivered from The Pyewipe Inn, (Lincoln), The Old Angel Inn (Bardney), Jordans/Ryvita (Bardney) and Moy Park (Sleaford) to name just a few the meals are produced at home then locals collect and deliver the finished products to the front line workers.
Cooked and portioned.
Lids and labels.
Baked with love
Appreciated by all
It’s Not Just About Feeding The Frontline
Taking meals to the workers isn’t just about making sure they are fed and able to do their job. I think it’s much more than that; many of us have struggled to get the ingredients we need for our meals (thankfully that has eased considerably lately) but we have managed to get something. Perhaps putting the situation into perspective and showing a greater understanding and appreciation for the jobs and risks of our key workers is paramount. We all know what a fantastic job all the NHS staff, police, fire crews and paramedics are doing at this difficult time but the key worker list is much bigger than that. I think the farmers in the picture would have been surprised to receive their free lunch but without them we won’t be getting fed in the future. #StayHomeSaveLives is still a very important message for most of us but perhaps we tend to forget just how many key workers there are who still have to go to work to make sure we can be safe at home and have a future to look forward to. It’s not just about the food then, perhaps it’s also about the recognition and gratitude. Being on the receiving end of a gift is always nice but perhaps in these difficult times it means so much more.
Delivering 250 Meals Each Week
You don’t need to be too much of a mathematician to work out that delivering 250 meals a week will soon lead to 1000 delivered. In fact, the 1000 milestone was reached last Monday so it won’t be long before we are looking at 1500. The whole system relies on people delivering the raw ingredients and then others collecting the cooked meals for distribution. Logistically it must’ve been a bit of a headache and I’m sure the pressure has been pretty high since day one. The project would never have taken off without the enthusiasm of Barry and Laurance, the support and more than generous food donations from Sarah Pickles (The owner of The Pyewipe Inn) and help in the kitchen by Julie Ann Clark who also helped to provide some of the fresh veg. You can visit Julies charity shop in Horncastle and visit her on Facebook too Thrifty’s Community Charity Shop. Huge respect to everyone involved but especially to Barry and Laurance who had the vision, skill and foresight to make it all happen.
The Tin Pigeons are a duo from Rutland…
Being a music lover I follow quite a few local bands, orchestras and choirs so I thought you might like to hear what I’ve found. I follow @TheTinPigeons on twitter and this one is from their back catalogue (click on the picture above to hear their song ‘Steel’). If you like what you hear why not nip across to their YouTube channel, give them a follow on twitter or Facebook
Revivalry – A young band from Cleethorpes
Revivalry are a young up and coming band from Cleethorpes who I’ve also been following on Twitter @RevivalryBand and I’m really pleased to be able to post their first studio recording ‘Run’ here today. If you click on the picture above you can have a listen through YouTube. I get the feeling this won’t be their last studio recording and it may well be the beginning of something rather big. You can follow them on Twitter, Facebook or on their YouTube channel. Enjoy
If you would like to hear more Indie bands you could give Dave a follow on Twitter @Laamb4 or better still give his website a visit https://www.laamb.co.uk where you’ll find an update for lots of local music and arts plus regular charts and much more:
“This site is dedicated to promoting Artists and Musicians in Lincolnshire. We aim to combine the marketing of local art and music, with features and sales of material produced within Lincolnshire.”
Click on the picture to go straight to LAAMB
That’s just about it for this edition but let me leave you with one more note. Please keep it in mind and pass it on whenever you feel it’ll be appropriate:
If you know someone who may be affected call 0808 801 0327
When it comes to buying your food do you buy locally produced food wherever possible or do you search for the cheapest available? It’s a tough call sometimes of course but I for one would much rather support a local producer than a foreign import whenever I can. A recent acquisition of mine is honey. Yes, I plead guilty to buying supermarket honey sometimes but that is usually led by convenience and not taste. We all know that there is no such thing as ‘superfoods’ or ‘wonder cures’ but honey seems to consistently crop up when it comes to choosing the nearest thing to a superfood that you can get. Naturally produced local honey from the Artisan Honey Co is really delicious and, containing its own natural preservatives, you’ll be pleased to hear that it doesn’t need any additional ingredients to make it taste nice.
Lincolnshire not only provides the country with a very large proportion of its food but it is also a huge producer of nectar for the bees. Looking at the global eco system and the concern about the decline in the number of bees it’s really heartening to know that Lincolnshire is playing its part when it comes to feeding nature and helping to look after our planet. Managing the hives to ensure future honey production obviously has the benefits of ensuring the safety of our bees too.
This isn’t an ‘eco blog’ by any means but I must admit that I’m very conscious about what we’re doing to our planet and how we could better protect it. With that said, I wonder if you are aware that the UK imports 90-95% of the honey we consume? I’m sure you’ll agree that’s quite a shocking figure. The carbon footprint of our honey must be enormous and the fossil fuels burned to transport it must surely be huge. Until I looked it up I was completely unaware of how much of our honey came from abroad. As I’m typing this I’m beginning to realise even more how important it is to ‘buy local’. I know Si of @ArtisanHoneyCo sources his honey locally. After all, it is his business and he has a duty of care for the bees that provide his income. Without them there would be no Artisan Honey Co and we would be deprived of another source of top quality UK (Lincolnshire to be specific) produce.
With the ever increasing demand for different flavours it makes sense to transport some of the hives out of Caythorpe for the bees to explore new locations. The large expanses of oil seed rape will obviously provide a good source of pollen but we may have relatively small quantities of heather or Lavender so a short ‘hop’ across a County makes sense. Unblended (flavours from a single floral source) allows us to appreciate the subtle differences in flavours rather than having a generic honey taste that the blended varieties produce. let’s face it, that short hop is a much better scenario than a large hop across countries or continents!
How Do You Take Yours?
Producing honey since 2011 – although mine will be lucky to last a few days!
Honey on a plain cracker is going to allow us to pick up the subtle flavours more easily than on a strong tasting bread but I have to admit that I’m rather partial to honey on toast. I asked a question on Twitter at breakfast time “Runny or set honey on my toast”? Needless to say, the results were not conclusive so I had one slice of toast with runny honey and the other with set honey. It seemed like a very good idea. Someone suggested runny honey in the coffee but I like my coffee strong and bitter so I gave that one a miss. However, I can confirm that they are both very nice neat – but don’t tell anyone that I did that!
I opened this as soon as I got it home and I can assure you that it isn’t going to be long before these jars are empty.
The Coronavirus is the reason for this honey journey by the way. If you’ve ever had a bad throat where it felt as though you’re trying to swallow razor blades you’ll know how I felt. Si recommended a honey spray (which I used neat) to sooth the symptoms. The spray contains alcohol and the combination certainly helped to anaesthetise the area. I combined the spray with a small amount of neat runny honey (not both at the same time) which acted as a coating for my throat and certainly made it feel much better. Thankfully I’ve recovered from the virus now so I’m back to relative normality.
Beeswax candles, polish and much more. Click on the picture to find The Artisan Honey Co on Facebook
From honey on your toast to beeswax candles and more. You can click on the picture to chat to Si on Twitter at @ArtisanHoneyCo
With all this talk about honey and my mind wandering around the subject of food it’s only right that I should include this message from the University of Lincoln Chaplaincy. It’s a reminder that there are still people in desperate need of assistance in our County. While many rushed out to panic buy food at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic it has become evident that there was no need to panic as food is still plentiful. It’s a great shame that the refuse services reported a significant rise in food being thrown away by the public after the big rush with much of the food being untouched or even unopened! With most buying restrictions being lifted now perhaps you can afford to buy a few extra tins or packets of food to donate? A little goes a long way when we all work together
If you would like contact the University of Lincoln Chaplaincy click on the picture to find them on twitter
Any donations, no matter how big or small will be gratefully received at any of the sites below. If you’re new to donating be sure to let them know that you saw the post on #LincsConnect
Stay safe everyone and remember, if a journey isn’t essential, ‘don’t do it’