14th October 2022

As some of you know, I have recently taken on a new role at work, which I can best describe as spinning plates with my right hand, while playing a lively game of whack-a-mole with my left. Add in the stressful national and global picture, and it’s fair to say that life feels rather fraught at present.

One day last week, thankfully while working at home, the frustration grew to the point where I had to down tools (well, close my laptop!) mid-afternoon: an unheard-of occurrence. Effi and I set off for a brisk walk to our local café for a restorative cream cake and cup of tea, after which I returned to my desk, and somehow the work had got easier.

This little strategy has a long history. When I was a student, my mum and I discovered a very fine bakery a short walk from my college which remained a favourite with us both throughout my studies. When my mum knew that I was having a tough time at college, an envelope would appear in my pigeonhole, containing a crisp five-pound note with a post-it attached. And the post-it read: ‘To be spent exclusively at the Maison Blanc xx’.

It’s twenty-five years next month since I lost my mum, and my student days are longer ago still. But those simple acts of love and practical care are still remembered with a smile and sometimes even emulated (the neighbours got takeaway cake last week). Let’s remember today that we never know just what long-term impact those acts of kindness can have, and let’s look for opportunities to do them.

Debbie Pinfold