By Janellen Redington
Kinship carer and future celebrity
The weekend was lost in a whirlwind of cleaning, washing, ironing and baking. We were preparing for the onslaught of numerous visitors on Monday for our monthly support group coffee morning, which we had delayed as Alex and Josh from the BBC were coming to film us as part of the Grandparents Plus Lifeline appeal.
After putting a post on our Facebook Group inviting our members, we opened it up to the other groups. Our good friends from West Sussex decided to send a posse to join us and so we hosted our first ever cross county support group exchange!
I roped my husband and my daughter in, I was going to need all the help I could get as the number of attendees started to grow – who else was going to do the washing up? We had invited Kristopher the Travelling Ted as honorary guest because I know how much he loves my lemon drizzle cake.
The morning started as all mornings in this household do, in chaos. Children running about, tripping over each other and us, the dash for the bathroom and general haste to get us all up and breakfasted before 9am (OK it was 9.15 today). Then another rush to vacuum again – I don’t actually have OCD, but I do have two cats and a dog who moult as if I had a hundred lazing about on the carpets and rugs.
A quick run upstairs to reapply my lipstick and throw my head upside down in the vain hope my hair would gain a bit of ooommph, only left me breathless and dizzy. Despite being tantalising for some, is not a look I would recommend when opening the door to people you haven’t met before. I hadn’t frightened too many people off and soon the house was buzzing. Alex and Josh had arrived and were setting up in the front room. “It’s OK, today will be less intense than last Friday” Alex assured me “today is more like wildlife filming.” Yes Alex was planning on filming us grazing around the watering hole, more usually known as my dining room table.
Sam and Alana had brought more cakes, biscuits and lots of Grandparents Plus materials and Kristopher was dressed in his best Grandparents Plus T-shirt. Our situations are serious and so our conversation turned serious, we discussed a lot about what we would like to see happen, and how we could help to promote Grandparents Plus.
Alex and Josh had been filming us all this time, ‘can you please pass that cake over again?’, ‘and again?’, ‘and maybe again?’ – yes even cake passing is an art that needs to be performed exactly. Poor Linda had to wait for her carrot cake, mouth drooling, as it was waved in front of her and retrieved three times. At one point I looked up and saw the camera being pointed at me through the back window, Alex and Josh had escaped the house and gained entry to the back garden.
The morning quickly moved into the afternoon. Vicki reminisced how our dear departed friend Laura would have loved today, the people, the cause, and most especially the cameras! Our guests began to depart, Josh and Alex first having managed to get all the shots that they needed – I am sure my derriere got in there again somewhere. Then everyone else felt it was okay to beat a hasty retreat from the chaos. I love them all, they made the morning a huge success. Vicki, her daughter and granddaughters stayed for a while afterwards to deconstruct the morning.
Would you do it again? I asked myself. Well yes, despite the shiny face, posterior shots, breathlessness and dizziness, I can say that without a doubt, I would do it again. I have met some truly wonderful people, I had an experience I will never forget, with stories to tell the grandchildren for years to come, and, I fervently hope, I have helped a cause close to my heart. Go Grandparents Plus, Go!
You can watch the Grandparents Plus BBC Lifeline Appeal here
You can keep up to date with the Appeal here.