Alton is currently furloughed as are many other people. However, he’s managed to fill his time productively and also exercise a little kindness.
As with many people I’ve added a new word to my vocabulary this year, ‘furlough’. At Rambutan we quickly realised that to protect the business we would need to all play our parts. For me, this meant some time away from work. At first, I wondered what I would do. Lying in bed drinking gin and watching Netflix sounded appealing, but the novelty soon wore off. So, I’ve completed a few things to keep my spirits up and be productive.
Firstly, I set myself a few projects. I’ve been meaning to decorate my landing and hallway for quite a while. Furlough was the perfect excuse, or at least it removed the perfect excuse of being too busy. So, armed with rollers, plaster, paint and paintbrushes I’ve finally redecorated and also repaired the skirting boards my darling dogs decided to chew when they were puppies! I found painting quite relaxing and it gave me the chance to reflect as well as complete a job I’d been putting off.
Another project is my garden. It too has been neglected. I’ve sorted my pond, which to my surprise is full of endangered newts, who I’m very protective over! I’ve also power-washed everything within sight and stained my decking. Judging by the noises in my street, we’ll all have lovely gardens by the end of lockdown!
Those projects benefited me but what about others? One of our principles at Rambutan during this time is to be kind. Well, actually, we’re always kind but we really wanted to emphasise this. I’ve put kindness into action in a number of ways. I live quite a distance from my parents, but thanks to Marks & Spencer I arranged for them to receive a luxury food hamper. They really appreciated this as they’re in their eighties and becoming a bit down with having to isolate. I’ve also helped my housemate who is an agency school teacher. Furloughing wasn’t so easy for him as he works for four different agencies. I helped him understand the rules (thanks to advice from experts on Twitter) and he’s been furloughed by all the agencies. This has really reduced his anxiety levels. While he awaits his furloughed wages I’ve also cancelled his rent for a couple of months. My other recent act of kindness was to help a friend who I’ve been supporting for a while. I met this friend through my ex-partner. He’s had a troubled life including a few stints at Her Majesty’s pleasure. He’s finally getting his life back on track by securing a job and joining a gym. That was until Covid-19 struck. He was missing the gym and beginning to see all his steps forward eroded. I simply gave him some weights I had lying around so he can keep up his fitness regime.
I’m now several weeks into my furlough. It’s great that I’ve completed these jobs around the house, or at least some of them. But, what I’ve really enjoyed is offering kindness to others. It really is food for the soul. What acts of kindness have you carried out? What else could you do?