Extra Curricular Activities

Here are some reports on activities beyond the walls of the Sheds.

First Graham – now living in regions beyond – and his new garden. It was a blank canvass that Graham is painting his ideas on and turning some into reality!

Summer house up and roof shingles (not shown) going on to make watertight. There’ll be guttering to collect water for plants. OSB3 board  coming for raised floor.

The context of the summer house. To the left is the excavation for a patio and in the foreground is the marked out circle for a circular stone slab.

Tuin do larger log buildings too. Easy, fast build.  Looked at these before for a Shed (capital S!).

Looking across the stone circle area (base to be excavated this week) towards the patio already dug.

The patio excavation showing that it is at least level, according to the bubble.

From Despair to Hope – one Shedder’s title for his journey of the past 18 months. 

Colin (top left) with Charlotte Gal our People’s Health Trust project officer. Zooming.

In 2019 Colin Easterby was an active, retired resident of Hinderwell, near Staithes. He was restricted in his mobility, needing crutches or a wheelchair but with a car adapted with hand controls he had freedom to roam! He enjoyed singing with the Dalesmen Singers and had signed up to Ryedale Caring Together, Whitby U3A, Whitby 50+ group, Revival North Yorkshire’s Memory Lane lunches and latterly in 2019 Staithes Area Men’s Shed. He enjoyed rich friendships and good conversation. Life was stable and interesting. Then . . . .

In December 2019 Colin was taken to James Cook Hospital for emergency treatment which occupied Christmas and into 2020. Going home for recovery was problematic since his physical instability meant it would not be possible for his partner Barbara to deal with a fall, say. Colin was transferred  eventually to Whitby Hospital as a staging post to a more sustainable solution. After family consultation, a solution came in the form of entering a care home in Whitby. He moved in just 10 days before the first Covid-19 lockdown. 

He had to self-isolate for two weeks (in his room) which was then extended by a further 3 months because because he was required to shield. So began a new regime of continuous room isolation as the ongoing lockdowns added to his “sentence”. Meals in his room,  restrictions on visitors (none becoming first “window” visits and ultimately half hour booked visits etc.), no social interaction with other care home residents.

Life seemed to be closing down –  was the way Colin felt. His mood at times was very low. Entry to a care home was something for consideration in the future and facing facts was not easy. 

It was in May 2020 that Colin’s son arranged a Zoom call. This was a new experience for Colin. It fed the thought that if Colin was to meet with people again he needed to master the technology of virtual communication.  Colin chatted with Graham on Messenger. With no Sheds happening in prospect, the idea of keeping in contact on Zoom was proposed – especially for those shut in. Age UK provided the Sheds with some mobile internet hubs and Colin received one. 

Colin persevered. He had a goal and would not be beaten. He persevered and conquered and became one of the founding members of Whitby Sheds’ “Talking Sheds at the Kitchen Table”. Twice a week Zoom drop ins. Shedders from different Sheds met and made new friendships virtually. Getting on for 80, Colin met Phil from Littlebeck and Brian from Staithes of similar vintage.  All had discovered their need to master the technology to be in touch with friends and family.

The Zoom sessions were a lifesaver for not only Colin and others but for the Sheds themselves. Colin calls them his Zoom Family.

Colin is so grateful for people’s support. He says it has been incredible and went a very long way to helping him  survive mentally the challenges of the past two years. 

Truly, it was a case of despair progressively turning into hope – Colin never gave up. Recent months have seen Colin managing to enjoy widened horizons with visits to Mulgrave Gardens, Danby Moors’ Centre, a trip to Ravenscar, attending a Diamond Wedding celebration and looking forward to attending the Dalesmen’s 50th anniversary celebration.  Plus meals with others in the care home dining room, chatting and games like Scrabble.

Colin has been helped considerably by Mike Rhodes, a volunteer driver with Ryedale Caring Together serving Danby. Mike and Colin struck up a friendship as part of the Farmer’s Breakfast events and that has continued with the trips out. All pieces of the jigsaw that have helped Colin change his outlook. 

AND there are ripples of good coming from Colin’s decision to be an overcomer in the technology stakes. A fellow care home  resident had lost her father when she was 6 years old. He was a pilot officer crew member on a plane that went down in 1942. With the little information she had, Colin used his keyboard skills to research matters and now the resident is to apply for medals and badges to which she is entitled. Fabulous.

If you would like to say what a Shed has done for you, please do put finger to keyboard. What are you thankful for?

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