Endings and a fresh start

It’s been hanging in the balance for a few years, and last Friday I received a letter confirming that WRVS Meals on Wheels would finish altogether in Norfolk.  I’ve told all the helpers (I’m the village co-ordinator) and today I told our customers that their last delivery will be on Thursday.  I asked if they need help, if they can manage, and that the local cottage hospital does a similar service, but daily instead of twice weekly – unfortunately, at about double the cost, but it’s extremely good.

I’ve delivered MoW for much of my life.  As a child, I used to help my mother and once I learned to drive I did her deliveries when she was laid low by three-day migraines.  I took a few years off once Al was born – you can manage with one baby but not with two – and have delivered them in this village for the last 25 years.

Al and Dilly have been house-hunting and, a few weeks ago, put in an offer on a house in a village just this side of the Norwich/Ipswich road which was accepted.  They’ve been waiting to hear and today were told that the completion date is, as they hoped, this side of Christmas (sorry, BW, but I’m using it in the sense of a deadline).  The Sage and I will really rattle around in the house once it’s all turned back into one (the bungalow was originally a granny annexe).  The children will move schools, it’ll all be quite a change.

There’s a covenant on the bungalow to say it is an annexe to this house and can only be lived in long-term by a relative, so letting it out isn’t an option at this stage.  We’re in no hurry to do anything yet, we’ll think about it for a while.  There’s no reason why we can’t have guests to stay, of course, so we may (if we buy more beds) be able to have more of you to stay over at the next blog party.

This evening, I’ve spent quite a lot of time updating governor information, because we’ve had two newcomers and some changes on committees and so on.  We’re in the process of having a parent governor election at present, at the end of which there will be a full governing body, and I do always hold that as one of my aims (we held two places free to offer to governors of the middle schools when they closed), as long as everyone is really good and committed to helping the school.  And they’re very good.  We’ve got a wonderful set of governors, everyone works hard and supports the school but isn’t afraid to ask awkward questions.

Al and family are doing the right thing and I’m very pleased for them, but of course we’ll miss them.  It’s been great having them living next door all this time and a privilege to see so much of the children during their earliest years.  They’re not going far though and we will spend quite as much time together in future, the main difference being that we’ll have to plan it rather more than we do now.

6 comments on “Endings and a fresh start

  1. Blue Witch

    Essex is now using a private contractor to do MoW. Does Suffolk have similar plans?

    I’d have thought that MoW were an essential part of keeping people independent and in their own homes. Well done for all your years of service. Do you get a blood-donor type medal?

    Hope the move goes well for Al and Dilly.

    You’ve probably thought of this, but… in the present climate, you may/should be able to get the covenant revoked so that you can rent the empty annexe (maybe even as a holiday let) – as with agricultural dwellings, such covenents were/are used to prevent people making a fast buck our of development. As the annexe has been lived in by family for so long, it’s more than served its purpose. I know of several farmers who have recently had long-time covenants waived so they can sell or rent properies to non-agricultural workers.

  2. Z

    I’m not sure what Suffolk does, but I do know that all the meals are prepared for the area in Beccles and sent out. I think they’re delivered chilled or frozen, enough for the week.

    Norfolk still had the old way, twice a week, prepared at a local cafe or school, delivered hot by volunteers. It’s not enough for people who really need support, though it’s been fine if they can mostly manage or if they have a daughter or neighbour who cooks for them and appreciates a couple of days off.

    You get badges and certificates and things and they get shoved in a drawer. It always seems a bit pointless, I don’t volunteer for rewards or recognition.

    I expect we could, we’ve kept the terms for 27 years and have now run out of family. But we’re in no hurry. I’d be pushed to manage the extra work of holiday lets, and there are so many regulations, apart from having to furnish it from scratch, and having someone live so close is another matter again.

  3. PixieMum

    Probably not an original thought but would the moves of Al (and of Ro); the covenant on the bungalow and the end of the Meals on Wheels era lead you and the Sage down the road of a house move too? Sort of strike whilst the iron is hot, maybe consider a slightly newer building so life is easier for you both, or you have more time for fun than for chores.

    Having enjoyed the delights of the ground floor of your home, also knowing the years that the Sage’s family has owned the building, I can fully understand can recognise the enormity of my suggestion.

  4. Z

    Pixiemum, I broached the subject myself earlier this year. The Sage immediately agreed with me, which I recognised meant that it wasn’t up for discussion. And he’s since, when I tackled him, made it quite clear that he intends to be carried out feet first.

    I’d find it hard myself to live in a regular sort of house. But we can’t cope with the grounds, it’s quite a worry to me.

  5. Blue Witch

    I meant MoW in Norfolk, of course. I used to live right on a county border too, so I shouldn’t find it as hard as I do to remember…

    Have you considered getting the covenant revoked now? Any dwelling is worth more without, and when it’s done it’s one less thing to think about.

  6. Z

    Norfolk is finishing MoW altogether, though they have plans for other services as alternatives.

    To start with, we’ll apply to have it counted as one house again as it was when used as a granny annexe, to save on Council Tax. When we’ve decided what to do, we can apply to get the covenant revoked if we need to.


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