Good News Snippets in Everyday Life

Covid-19 is an accelerating threat. Many of us are in majorly reduced face-to-face social contact. Kids are off school abruptly without the opportunity to say goodbye to school friends. Not able to play football with friends in the park. 

Despite this – and in many ways because of this – some good things happen unexpectedly. Here are two connected to my family BUT you too may have some. PLEASE do send to Graham or to 

Event 1:  A person I have worked with relatively closely telephoned (twice) to ask whether my wife and I were OK and whether we needed anything brought to us. I don’t feel my age but others are more honest than I am in recognising that I (and Joan) fit the “at higher risk” profile.

We chatted and assured that all was well with us. WHAT REALLY STRUCK Joan and I was the thoughtfulness and kindness of this person. It shocked me into appreciation. 

I’m sure this is a story that is being repeated all over Whitby towards our community neighbours. Compassion.

Event 2:  My UK son is a secondary school teacher. Today the school closed, at least as a “normal” school. The students had little time to celebrate  as they might do in June or July. A girl moving on this year thanked my son for not only his teaching of maths but for the way she had been inspired to believe in herself. She wished him well. How’s that for impact on both parties!

A lad said a few words of appreciation and handed over a card. My son opened the card a few minutes later and inside was a gift voucher. Teachers can have a profound impact on those they teach (usually over several years) and students like these can have a profound effect on teachers.

Event 3: It is inspiring to see the ingenuity of people, small local businesses, local GP practices, the NHS, large organisations like the supermarkets and small voluntary groups like the food banks. The Councils are also trying to map what is going on to see where there may be service gaps. There is a sense of us being all in this together though we do need to heed the advice to properly keep our distance.

ALL these elements of advice and the organisations are essential to our well being physically. Then there are the mental and spiritual dimensions. MIND and Samaritans are important mental health leaders and we know the good that the voluntary sector – like our Sheds – have done in the area of support but no more EXCEPT we are keeping in touch as much as we can. Shedders, join in Zoom.

Where it always was, though no buildings now! 

I am very pleased to know that churches are also breaking the mold in picking up e-church in creative ways. I went to Sandsend’s Grill a Bishop event two weeks ago and met some inspiring people there. Now they have a simple Verse-a-Day email group going and I’m part of that:-). They are encouraging short replies too copied to all so that conversation is encouraged. I know Whitby Christian Fellowship has a WhatsApp group and today there is a service being transmitted in 7 consecutive WhatsApp messages (with a lot of surrounding banter I notice). It’s a bit Shed-like!

The same in Australia at my son’s church of 500 – not live but an edited compilation of  pre-recorded contributions that fooled my son into believing it was live:-).

May the spirit of common sense and ingenuity thrive in and around Whitby on this Mothers’ Day!

Event 4: Australian granddaughter busy doing creative stuff.  Using a stencil too. Son and daughter-in-law creating different themed spaces in different rooms – including (I hope) a classroom! We would have been flying out to see her and her big brother this Wednesday.

It’s presently 11 hours time difference so an early morning call (before 8am) to see the family before the youngest heads for bed. Soon it will be a more relaxed 9 hours time difference.

This is when I appreciate Skype and WhatsApp and the opportunity to drop into their lives for a few minutes and them ours. That’s precious.

Shedders, you can get Graham on 07763656627 anytime he’s awake (which is reducing:-).

Event 5: The picture from a post on Stronger Together Whitby District during COVID-19. A helpful reminder why I need to keep washing my hands. not touching my face and avoiding surfaces regularly touched by others (therefore in public places). 

Lots of good read material online via the Library service. 

Event 6: Having erected the gazebo at the local surgery and securely bolted it to the surgery wall (we’ll repair the holes in the future!) we have now been approached to possibly help with washing lines. Ask no more! Maybe it’s a smalls matter.

The Velux wooden frame is in place

Roof windows provide light and ventilation


It’s good to help and as an indirect  result we secured two large Velux roof windows (1.2m square) for the roof of the shed/wood store extension at Staithes. At less than 10% of retail cost. They fit our roof frame perfectly which is itself amazing:-)

Event 7: Janet Fraser of Sleights does beautiful glass art work. Saw her advertising seagulls for sale! Glass ones. Mrs. G loved them and her husband agreed. We bought a robin also to go bob, bob, bobbing along.

Cheekily cheerful, Both of them.

Event 8: The masked stranger. Been giving masks from the Sheds to Shedders and partners for them to use on trips to shops etc. Very difficult for Graham to talk with a mask on so there are benefits.

Event 9: Rex is a friend of a Whitby Shedder, Tony. Rex is a potter and we passed on about 12 large tubs of clay and a wheel to him. A wheel was novel to him because he specialises in plaque pottery.  He said he’d make some “The Shed” signs as a gift to each of,  our Sheds. 

Tonight, a surprise message and photos. 

One success of four! As you can see, explosion in the kiln broke three plaques.
What do you think about design? 8in. High & 10in. Wide.
Regards, Rex.
P.S. Perhaps I will have better luck next time.

Event 10: Lockdown at home declared tonight. I’ve been using newly found time to get on with a few jobs at home and in the garden. Plus some reading and writing.

When taking Shedder Maggie to Staithes Shed we always listened to Classic FM and found it wonderfully relaxing – particularly with the backdrop of the sea at Sandsend as we descended from the heights of Dunsley. What a view. I’m an avid Radio 4 listener but I’m finding I need some respite from the newsround – I’ll continue refreshing with Classic FM.

Event 11: Shed Happens – Even when you’re in lockdown

The UK Men’s Shed Association wants to ensure that where Shedders are following NHS Guidelines on Coronavirus and have to self-isolate, that they have a ‘Virtual Shed’ they can listen to and interact with online. The UKMSA wants to keep Shedders connected.  

Our Frome friend Patrick Abrahams is producing a weekly radio show called “Shed Happens” that will broadcast live (with some recorded interviews) every Wednesday from 10am to 12:00 noon on Frome FM, which can be listened to online nationwide. or Frome 96.6FM

Event 12: Staithes roof on and closed against any bad weather that comes along!


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