My Frugal Birthday Experience Idea

People are spending far too much money on gifts, and so much time hunting for them. Also birthday gifts can create even more ‘clutter’ in your house.

We are in the era of families not meeting ‘properly’ and ‘talking’. People can be very isolated now. I find when people meet at birthday dinners people don’t ‘really talk’, and some of them, don’t find birthday dinners fun, perhaps they hate mingling. Some of us feel ‘forced to go’ if relatives are more distant. Also, there is not much to do, and introverts like me, find them uncomfortable. Birthday meals can be very pricey for everyone.

I thought that instead of having a ‘proper’ birthday gift or dinner. I would have an experience, and I am not just talking about an experience that is just for me, ie those Red Letter Days type of experience, which also can be expensive but something everyone will generally enjoy.

I wanted a more frugal and Scandinavian ‘hygge’ experience. So what I thought was for me and a few of my friends and relatives to visit a wildlife rescue centre – that way it would be interesting and educational and it would make a difference to the animals there. It maybe a bit ‘sad’, but I think the fact that all of us will being doing something to help, will really make a ‘mark’ on everyone.

They could make a donation too, and even a small donation, can make a big difference with several people going. There maybe a ‘shop’ there or they could bring in food and bedding for the animals. People with children can also go along, so it would be good for them too. They will also see how much damage cars can cause with our wildlife, that will be an eye opener too. You never know, the trip may mean that the charity will get more donations in the long run, and even new volunteers. The trip could inspire people to do good things. Birthdays can also be ‘serious too’ but I think it is important to have some light bits in it, to balance things out.

Afterwards, we would have an informal picnic somewhere, and people would bring their own things to share. People will be able to talk more ‘normally’ than in a formal, restaurant setting. I am a huge fan of picnics. They remind me of my childhood and I don’t see why we can’t have more ‘picnic birthdays’. My birthday is in July so I’m quite lucky in having reasonably good weather, though we will need a ‘back up’ if it rains, of course!

I was lucky to discover that there is a good dog show nearby as well, and suggested we go there afterwards, if they wanted to. That would give them a bit of flexibility too so they didn’t have to stay if the couldn’t. Most people in my family are animal lovers and I think animals and birthdays are a ‘great frugal mix’. There is something to do too, not just talk.

I already I have had people saying they want to ‘swipe my idea’ which is great. I am not celebrating it until in two week’s time, but if you want to have a ‘frugal birthday’, and one where you can ‘make a difference’, you don’t have to celebrate it on your day, as there may be things that are fun that are around on a different day, perhaps in your own area. My experience can be great for ‘keeping things local’ and reducing air miles, if your friends and relatives are local.

I really like this the animal charity birthday idea as this will make a difference to the animals too, and I hope my relatives and relatives will talking about this ‘birthday experience’ for years to come. Maybe they will do something similar too?

Just for your info, I will be going to Folly Wildlife Rescue, in Tunbridge Wells http://www.follywildliferescue.org.uk/ and keep you posted.

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London: Street pastors pay a visit to the #Bermondseycarnival

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The Street Pastors are a group of Christian men and women who go out in Southwark at night-time and speak to vulnerable people and try and help and signpost them. They say it is really important to talk and to listen to vulnerable people found alone on the street of London.

At the Bermondsey Carnival in Southwark Park this afternoon, they were out during the day, handing out lollipops to the public.

They commit to volunteering at least once a month, but sometimes they do more than this. They tend to go out late at night and finish about 4am in the morning. Southwark can be dangerous at night but they feel that it is their duty that they must go out and help people.

They help talk to people on London Bridge who want to commit suicide and who feel that life is not worth living and try and give them ‘some meaning’ in life.

The Pastors also go out and help Clubbers who are intoxicated. Sometimes they take them home to ensure they get home safely, rather than letting them get attacked at night. Other times they give women flip flops as some women clubbers cannot walk in their shoes or have lost their shoes in their vulnerable state.

PHOTO: Below – Street Pastor’s flip flops:

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They seem to be a great team, full of character, and some of them have been on the team for over five years.

To find out more about the Street Pastors in London see http://www.streetpastors.org

England: “Because it’s Tradition”, we do weird & stupid things.

LONDON:

I always find that State Opening of Parliament fills me with nausea. We have this cringeworthy spectacle for an unelected woman to make a speech in Parliament, a supposed democratic institution. (hello?) Is it just me to thinks this is weird?. The mass media never talk about this. It is like the elephant in the room.

Then I also get annoyed that the soldiers in their bearskin hats are outside Parliament in a 32C heatwave, and are not being allowed to take them off ‘because of tradition’. It is just ‘not good form’ to do that. So soldiers are expected to faint instead. What kind of culture are we in? The class system is plain stupid. What kind of army leaders do we have? What, a ‘real soldier’ doesn’t take his bearskin off? The Queen didn’t seem bothered at all that they were very uncomfortable. Well, she is of a different generation. After all these years, they still make soldiers keep them on. Why don’t soldiers stand up to this nonsense – they are probably court martialled if they do, or bullied.

Even 91-year-olds like the Queen should not be out in a heatwave, on the ‘hottest day of the year’ and the NHS encourages us all to ‘check on their neighbours’ and to keep out of the sun from 11-3pm. Haven’t we forgotten that we are human? In countries like Spain, they have siestas for times like this, but no, we English go ‘out in the Midday Sun’ as the song says. And a lot of the time, we don’t even wear hats either to protect us from the high UV levels, which again, the Government warns us out. Some Brits have second degree burns because they don’t even use any sun protection, unlike people in other hot countries.

What about the emergency services who are inundated with people ignoring Government public health heatwave advice? Why don’t public health warnings apply supposed old people like the Queen? Why couldn’t the Queen just get Prince Charles do her job, at least she wouldn’t be out in the heat getting roasted? No, the Queen has to be out in a heatwave at 91 years old, ‘because it is tradition’, and even then, she’s stubborn enough to be out there during this time because ‘she wants to’.

I understand that the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, has been taken to hospital yet the Queen would appear to be at the State Opening of Parliament, instead of being with him during the day. And, after that, she even went to Ascot in the heatwave. All because she cannot upset ‘tradition’.

Horses should not be racing on the hottest day of the year either, and she is supposed to be a horsewoman. Horse.com advise “Know your horse and signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke can happen anytime your horse is exposed to excessive heat that his body cannot handle. Heatstroke can happen if exercising in hot conditions, but be aware that it can also happen if standing in a hot stall or trailer.” I am at a stables, we keep our horses cool, and none of them have even been out riding in the heat today. The racing industry can be appalling and greedy. The Queen should not be encouraging racing in this weather too. Why not have race times only in the cooler part of the day, or would that ‘not be tradition’? I would rather ‘blow tradition’ than have a sick horse to attend to. I don’t hear anything from the vets at Ascot, maybe they are gagged or are ‘enablers’ of the greedy racing industry in a heatwave, after all, they get a free day out at Ascot.

There comes a point in life that doing the ‘right thing’ is taking the time off work for family reasons, health reasons and animal welfare, this is more important than ‘being on show’. Some traditions are plain stupid, and even more so, in a heatwave. Being a younger generation than most of the old fogies who carry on making these stupid rules, I make my own stamp, by standing up to it and questioning it.

Some people who do ‘challenge things’, actually comes from kids. Recently a academy school banned kids from wearing shorts during a heatweave, so the boys wore skirts as a form of protest and got lots of media coverage. Why can’t boiling soldiers all together, in a band of brothers’. and make a stand, why can’t horse grooms make a stand for their horses? Even the journalists are made to wear suits in a heatwave, ‘for show’, which is ridiculous too. Sometimes were Brits are a bunch of wimps and won’t say boo to a goose!

We have to question our culture, but adults never seem to learn, and that’s a tradition too!

++ Note I am typing this in a library, keeping cool with fans.