We went to our local area. First we met Sid who was outside the Baptist church. He had laid all his clothes out and was transferring them from his suitcase into a lovely rucksack he had been given. Sid took a ‘To Kill a Mockingbird book’ and some socks. Later he asked for some food for his dog. We bought a can. We also gave him some water.
We then met Mark who also had a dog. Mark’s eyes literally lit up when we gave him the Easter egg. He said that he hadn’t had one for years. He didn’t want a book, as he already had one.
We then drove to look for more people. We met Steve in a doorway who we also saw at New Year. He now has a tent but people have found out where this is, so he is going to move. He said he had tried to volunteer in a charity shop but when he told them his address was care of the local Job Centre, they weren’t interested. He took an Easter egg and a calendar showing beautiful pictures of England and said this brought back memories. He also accepted a wind up radio and some poems. He said he still had the card I gave him. He said someone had stolen medication from him.
It was encouraging that there were only three men this time. I went to look in another town, but couldn’t find anyone there.
All three men accepted a prayer of blessing. The message from the streets is that people don’t just want a sandwich, or money thrown at them. They have a physical and spiritual hunger and long for more than their current circumstances.
‘So hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them and believing in our own abilities, Hope is Plan B ‘ Brenee Brown Daring Greatly p. 240
In 2017 I set up a website called Hope 2017, a Facebook page, via a friend’s website, specifically to help offer hope to people who may be feeling hopeless and encourage people to consider how to help those, especially men, at risk of suicide.
Posts On Hope 2017
February 18th 2017
Egg of Hope 2017
There are sadly many people who for one reason or another have ended up on the street. Many are men and considering the male suicide rate is the biggest killer of men aged between 20-49 years old this is very concerning, because these men are highly vulnerable.
It is likely that many of these men may have lost hope. One suggestion is to consider buying an Easter egg for a homeless person. It doesn’t cost much and may just brighten their day.
February 21st 2017
The film ‘Saving Mr Banks’ was the inspiration for my decision that in 2017 I would exchange my personal disappointment for hope. It is worth watching. It is not worth sentencing oneself to a life sentence of disappointment, however painful the past.
“At the same time, there was a big anti-stigma campaign, an effort to get the simple message out there that suicide prevention is everyone’s business and that talking about it is a good thing. There is this perception among people that goes: ‘if I ask somebody if they are suicidal, that will plant the idea in their head.’ There is no evidence for that at all. It does quite the opposite.”
Stories from the streets giving a voice to the voiceless. Details have been changed to protect people’s identity.
New Year 2016
The aim was to go to the streets and offer some hope for those who would feel the least hopeful. Mum and I went to the seafront. We took some doughnuts. We started off meeting Steve, who had aspirations for a job. He wanted to work with a local agency supporting the pavement dwellers. He wasn’t in the Winter shelter. He suffered from depression and had left a domestic abuse relationship and come miles away from his family.
I had felt to take postcards out with me. Steve took a beautiful picture of the Dolomites for the wall of hi shop home. When we returned he had put it on the back of his shopping trolley. Rubbish is not rubbish to someone who has nothing.
We met one man just passing who took a luminous jacket my dad had donated.
We also met Jason who took a ‘Word For Today’ magazine. He has a faith and attends a local church. Every single one of the seven people we saw received a prayer of blessing.
We then met Siobhan and her son Timothy. Siobhan was terrified of being raped. Timothy was searching for cardboard for his mum. Siobhan said it is so hard for women and she had been propositioned the previous evening to sell sex. She was so anxious and frightened.
Sheree and Sean were also in this group, near the benches. Sheree looked very attractive; Sean took some gloves and some poems.
One day a new fairy arrived in District Lullaby. He was very strong and could boast of many teeth he had collected over many years. Jay made all the fairies laugh so much that their wings would shake and spray iridescent dust until the flowers shone extra brightly.
Felicity found Jay funny too. But there was something that bothered her – something that she didn’t understand.Felicity noticed that whenever Jay came into the fairy work room, all the fairies would gather round him and the atmosphere would be much more fun, however after a little while Felicity found that she was quite left out. Although she tried to join in, the other fairies would not seem interested in what she had to say.
Felicity felt saddened by this. She always made an effort to include the other fairies and noticed if anyone was excluded in any way.
As the weeks went by, the team seemed to gather around Jay more and more and one day Felicity noticed no one really even spoke to her anymore. This really upset her. And then she came into the Fairy Office and her sparkle chair had been moved.
Felicity decided to take action. She went to speak to Fairy Godmother. Fairy godmother listened carefully and attentively to her.
At the end, she asked Felicity what she wanted to happen. Felicity thought long and hard about all the recent events.
Finally, she said-“Fairy godmother, I think I have been in District Lullaby long time. I think maybe the mean behaviour I have seen recently means two things-one-I have been bullied and two- it is time for this to stop”.
“Well done, dear Felicity, said Fairy godmother. I have been watching how you have been dealing with all the bullying. It simply isn’t acceptable. I wanted you to learn to speak out though because no one else can do it for you”.
“I think dear Fairy Godmother, I want to go to another tooth team, said Felicity after much reflection”.
“I was thinking the same thing, said Fairy Godmother. I will arrange this. And dear Felicity, because you have done so many good ideas; I’m promoting you. You will be in charge of the team in District Sweet dreams. It will be a lovely fresh start for you. “Thank you said Felicity”, brimming with excitement, thank you. “That’s okay”, said Fairy Godmother.
Now I am sure you are all wondering what happened to Jay. Well, the most popular fairies aren’t always the best. One day, the Fairy Monitor came to check on Jay’s team. The team had been well below their tooth collection quota for the previous two weeks.
When Jay walked into the Tooth Collection Room, he faced the tooth monitor with his usual cheeky smile. However he was greeted with a stern face.
“So Jay, how are you?,” said the Fairy Monitor. “Great thank you”, replied Jay. “How are you?”
The Tooth Monitor told Jay that he had been disrupting the other fairies and children had been waiting days, sometimes even a week, until their teeth were collected.
“You are very popular Jay,” said the Tooth Monitor, but it comes at a high price. You have upset some of the fairies and also many teeth have not been collected”.
Jay looked down. “You find it fun to disrupt the fairies, Jay. But, at the end of the day, team work is about including everyone, not pushing people to the outside. I need to teach you a lesson Jay. I have promoted Felicity and you are going to work in her team. She is fair and will show you how to be a kind fairy.
Jay snapped “I don’t like Felicity”. She is too serious and hardworking.
“Exactly Jay”, said Fairy Godmother. “You have lost your fairy values. You need to re-train and you will join Felicity’s team. You will start next week”.
So Jay went to learn his lesson and Felicity taught him well.
Felicity was looking forward to starting her new role. She was now a fully qualified tooth fairy.
‘Reporting for duty’ said Felicity in an enthusiastic tone.
Fairy Godmother smiled. ‘I am really looking forward to having you on team sparkle.
‘Thank you’ said Felicity.
‘Now I will just explain the weekly rota’ said Fairy Godmother. ‘We aim to collect teeth the night they are put under the pillow or at least the following night’. We track this and compete against the other two teams in District Lullaby. We need to ensure children are not disappointed, so we must aim for this. As you are aware Felicity, this is a statutory duty for a tooth fairy,
Felicity was so excited about her new job. She had her golden coins in her apron, she had a map of the area and she had her photo id so that she could enter the tooth room where her teeth would be counted and recorded before being turned into fairy dust which gave fairyland its beautiful iridescent air. The airsmelt like roses, which are of course, a fairies favourite flower.
‘All the best Felicity’ said Fairy Godmother. Felicity was given her schedule by her team leader George and then she flew to the first house in Lullaby District, She flew under the crack in the window and then went straight to the bed, she felt under the pillow and there was a gleaming white tooth. She picked it up and put it in her apron pocket and placed a golden coin under the pillow in its place.
Felicity felt proud and pleased. She left the house and looked at her map. ‘Fourteen to go’, she said to herself, and off she flew.
The next house was about ten minutes away. There was a welcoming full moon, so Felicity’s flight path was clearly lit. Felicity went to the next house and again flew under the crack. When she got to the bed the girl turned over and her hand brushed against Felicity, causing her to go into a spin. However she collected the tooth and then went on her way.
The evening flew by. Felicity’s apron was bulging as she collected her final tooth. She felt a wonderful sense of achievement. Felicity looked at her map and then out of the corner of her eye she spotted a house at the end of her allocated road, which was not on her list. She saw the tooth collection sign shining over the roof, which meant there was a tooth waiting. She thought that she had seen that house on the other team, Pearly’s list.
I would so impress Fairy Godmother if I could get one extra tooth Felicity though. So she decided to show some initiative and in she flew.
She was panting by this point and tugged the tooth from under the pillow and popped it in her brimming apron. At that moment, she heard a strange noise like a rustling and then a rattling. She looked down and her apron had burst open with all the weight in it.
Felicity gasped as the teeth tumbled down like pieces of sharp thistledown. ‘Oh dear, oh dear, I knew I wasn’t good enough like Jodie Fairy, she’s perfect’.
Felicity started to cry and as she did so Elaine sat up. Elaine’s tousled hair fell around her beautiful face. Her hazel green eyes twinkled. She smiled a smile vast as her dreams. ‘I see you and now I believe’ she said.
Felicity flew back to the tooth building in trepidation. Her apron was ripped, her hair was bedraggled and her eyes were red from crying. She felt so ashamed.
When she entered the tooth collection office, the first person she met was Jodie, who looked even neater and smarter than usual.
‘Felicity Fairy wants to see you in her office now’ said Jodie. Felicity imagined the worst and felt that she was in terrible trouble. After today I won’t be a tooth fairy anymore she thought.
Felicity knocked on Fairy Godmother’s door. There was no answer. She had knocked as lightly as a feather falling and no one could have heard this. She knocked a little louder:
‘Come in’ said Fairy Godmother.
Felicity crept in with her head down. Immediately she started to tremble and sob. Fairy Godmother came towards her and embraced her, stroking her hair.
‘There there dear, it’s okay. I know what happened’
‘I am so sorry,’ sobbed Felicity. I know that I failed and it was only my first collection visit.
‘Far from it’ smiled Fairy Godmother with a twinke in her eye. You made Elaine see that tooth fairies are real and now she believes again. And so my dear Felicity I want to give you this.
Fairy Godmother took put a bright shining golden medal. This is for doing something outstanding/ She pinned it to Felicity’s somewhat bedraggled dress. Felicity you did a good job today. It doesn’t matter about what happened with the teeth. The other fairies helped to collect them so they are all safe.
Felicity was overjoyed. She felt so pleased and had learnt a big lesson today that sometimes things turn out very differently from how we think or imagine.
This is a tribute to Snuffy, otherwise known as Snufflebun.
I thought perhaps the best tribute to Snuffy who I would describe, was to tell her story from the beginning. So I have written it as a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then let us begin at the beginning.
Once upon a time in November 2009 a beautiful rabbit princess was born in the springtime. Her mummy called her Snuffy. Snuffy Wells enjoyed her young life. When she began to grow, her parents announced to her that it was time to begin her journey on the Golden Path. At the end of the path, she was told, is the land of the Rabbits, but her parents let her know that her journey on the path would be filled with excitement and growth.
And so on one very special morning Snuffy set off on the Golden Path. Although Snuffy was afraid to leave her parents, she learned that she would receive love and care from an adoptive human family.
So Snuffy went to live with a lovely family in January 2010. She became Snuffy Peters at this time. PICTURE OF FAMILY WITH CHILDREN
There Snuffy met a very special lady called Kate, who was to become her forever mummy later on. As a young bunny Snuffy was so happy when she lived at Sandra’s and she used to bound up the stairs and would race Kate to her bedroom and made sure she always won. She would spring on to Kate’s bed ready for cuddles, when Kate let her out after getting home from work.
She also developed a great talent at this time. She learnt how to clear her puppy pen in one jump. She also learnt that you got a better view of life by sitting on high surfaces to she always sought these out.
Snuffy learned all the things rabbits need for life. She learned how to read and write and how to do all the appropriate things that rabbits must learn. The first book she read was by AA Milne and was called ‘The House at Pooh Corner. She particularly liked rabbit, who became one of her role models, because Rabbit was clever and so was Snuffy. Her favourite quote from this story was this one:
“Owl,” said Rabbit shortly, “you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest–and when I say thinking I mean thinking–you and I must do it.”
Sadly in late 2010 Snuffy developed something which is called E. Cuniculi, which is an evil parasite that affected her eye. She learnt her first lesson on the Golden Path, to be brave and face pain and she was treated for 1 1/2 yrs.
Snuffy’s favourite book was the velveteen rabbit. She loved this quote especially as it helped her through her very tough times:
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nanna came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
Snuffy was a very clever rabbit indeed and decided to train Kate to call ‘Snuffy come’ and would bound towards her when Kate said ‘Snuffy come’ and patted the floor
In April 2011 until Jan 2013, Snuffy learned the excitement of going on holiday. Kate moved into a beautiful flat in Cardigan and Snuffy often came to visit (when Sandra was away). By this point Snuffy and Kate had a lovely bond. Snuffy had learnt how to communicate with humans and she would tell Kate how happy she was by her sudden sprints and frisks around the room.
humans and animals want someone to offer them special love, which makes them feel happy to be alive and in February 2013 Kate met someone called Chris who was to give her this special love, although she didn’t know this yet, because they had only just met.
Snuffy learnt another big lesson her golden path at this time. She was very jealous of Chris and completely shunned Chris when he started dating Kate. This was because she loved Kate so much and wanted her to be really happy. She didn’t know Chris and had learnt as a young bunny to safeguard herself until she knew Chris was a good human. However Chris was kind and patient with her and slowly won her affections. Kate would suddenly lose sight of Chris and then find him lying flat out on the floor stroking Snuffy. Snuffy had developed a taste for music by this time and really enjoyed the songs Chris sung about her. She wasn’t able to sing out loud but sometimes wished she could. Instead she twitched her whiskers to the beat.
In March 2013 Snuffy was officially adopted by her mummy Kate. Her foster mother Sandra knew this was a perfect match. Snuffy was so thrilled to be Snuffy Wells . She now had the forever family she had always dreamed of since being a baby rabbit. Snuffy felt a sense of belonging, not just fitting in. Snuffy loved Kate and really enjoyed cuddles in bed with her while watching a film or reading a book.
She also sometimes enjoyed naughty pleasures, such as overeating which included vast amounts of cardboard and on one occasion bubble wrap! Despite her beautiful face and character, Snuffy had some vices and another naughty and very expensive pleasure was chomping on Apple cables. She chewed up four in her time and countless ordinary ones including the TV and internet. She tried but at the end of the day she knew she was a cable addict and owned it. She never attended Cable Addicts anonymous, but she was aware of its existence, because Melody told Kate and Chris about it. Snuffy didn’t really want to kick this habit and in the end Kate and Chris just had to hide the cables.
By this time Snuffy another had developed a talent called empathy, which is knowing when others are upset. This comes when rabbits have suffered a lot of pain so they can understand how others feel. Snuffy always knew when Kate was upset and she always wanted to make Kate feel better.
Sadly in the spring of 2015 Snuffy was diagnosed with a bad ear infection. A few months later this was temporarily cured by having her ears put up in a head band Kate cleverly invented made from tights! Snuffy was given her first award which was a blue peter badge from Mark the Vet.
From July until August 2015 Snuffy enjoyed a special holiday with Kate’s mum & Dad at Rose Cottage when Chris and Kate got married and had their honeymoon. Snuffy had a new surname again, Miss Snuffy Snow. She enjoyed practising her new signature. Snuffy now had a wider family with special grandparents and of course a dad. Snuffy loved how Chris made her feel she was beautiful of
Snuffy learnt another big lesson at this time. She was a bit scared eating Kate’s fingers when she gave her greens and herbs because sometimes she got too excited. Snuffy learnt to manage her excitement because she never wanted to hurt Kate. This was really tough, but she tried her best.
In September 2015 Snuffy faced a very hard emotional challenge as her family moved to Scotland..Snuffy cheekily thought one day:
Everything in the house belongs to the bunny. Humans included. This then led to some very naughty behaviour and she insisted on living upstairs and ate 3 holes in 3 separate new carpets)! However despite behaving badly, Snuffy saw she was loved and valued. She was sorry she had upset her family and learnt one of the major life lessons on the Golden Path, that even when you behave as a bad rabbit this doesn’t mean you are bad.
Snuffy felt quite down at this time, so she tried some mindfulness exercises along with reading some beautiful things about rabbits to help her. She read this:
“Put your hand inside the hat, search with your fingers. He is the light wrapped inside the darkness. That’s the wonder of Rabbit. We think he’s not in the hat. But he is.”
Mark Andrew Poe and it raised her spirits because she liked the idea of popping out of a hat and hoped she might do that one day.
Snuffy learnt that sometimes in life you just have to get over changes and adapt. She also found that life had some great new experiences to offer her, with two loving parents. She looked forward to being in the middle of Kate and Chris sometimes, but couldn’t bear Chris’s loud snoring. Kate told her that she snored but Snuffy knew this couldn’t possibly be true.
Snuffy loved travelling. She also quite enjoyed being a bunny celebrity at times, when she noticed the general public got excited that a human was sitting in the car at a service station with a bunny on her lap. Snuffy used to do her best, cutest poses at these times. She also knew how to work it in front of the camera when she modelled for photo shots for Chris and Kate.
In December 2015 Snuffy was diagnosed with an abscess in her tummy and bravely came through an operation to remove it with the local vets.
In June 2016 Snuffy started seeing Lance, who was a superhero in the rabbit community because he made rabbits better who had very serious illnesses. Snuffy underwent another operation to sort out her bad ear and remove the infection that had returned there. By this time, Snuffy’s godmother Melody had nicknamed her as a ‘miracle in the fur’.
In October 2016 Snuffywas diagnosed with bladder cancer. Kate and Chris made a wise but extremely hard decision not to put her through any more painful operation but to give her the best care and comfort for the rest of her life.
Snuffy was reading ‘The Mill On The Floss’ at this point and Maggie Tulliver was her favourite human heroine, because she reminded her of Kate. This in her view was just like Kate:
Maggie, moreover, had rather tenderness for deformed things; she preferred the wry-necked lambs, because it seemed to her that the lambs which were quite strong and well made wouldn’t mind so much about being petted; and she was especially fond of petting objects that would think it very delightful to be petted by her.
Snuffy wanted to show Kate that she knew she was caring for her in an amazing way and so she tried her best to show this by being brave, gentle and trusting when it came to Kate treating her, even when it hurt.
One night Snuffy had a dream. She saw the Golden Path and it led to a beautiful land where there was sunshine and meadows. She felt the soft sun on her fur and everywhere she looked there were lovely things, lush grass to play in and other rabbits and also plentiful supplies of basil and parsley. She also saw a lovely man with the kindest eyes she had ever seen. He smiled and said ‘hello Snuffy, my name is Jesus’. She jumped onto his lap and he stroked her gently and lovingly. Snuffy felt so happy when she woke up.
In January 2017, Snuffy’s godmother went to visit her. Snuffy knew that she was nearing the end of the Golden Path, so she went up to Melody and nuzzled her with her nose and allowed Melody to stroke her. This was Snuffy’s way of thanking Melody for loving her and believing that she was one of the bravest rabbits on the Golden Path.
By this time she was an old rabbit and Snuffy knew in her heart that she was nearing the end of her Golden Path. She had learnt many lessons now and was getting quite tired. One of the most important lessons for her was that suffering helps you understand how other humans and rabbits feel pain and makes you a better and kinder rabbit. She had lost some of her youthful energy and started coming to sit by me under my bed until I would pick her up and bring her up on the bed for a cuddle
One day Snuffy heard a sermon and the person speaking said:
‘The question should not be will you see your pets in heaven, but rather, will they see you’. Snuffy knew she would see Kate and Chris again because they were on their Golden Path towards the human Land of the Rabbits, which humans call Heaven. This was such a relief to her, as she loved Kate and Chris so very much.
On the 29th March 2017 Snuffy reached the end of the Golden Path. She closed her eyes and then she saw a new landscape, It was just like the beautiful dream she had had. Suddenly a rabbit appeared next to her. ‘Hi Snuffy’ said the rabbit, welcome to the Land of the Rabbits. My name is Bonny. Then another rabbit appeared. ‘I’m Biscuit. And I’m Whiskey said another. Welcome Snuffy ‘I’m Shandy’ said another voice and ‘I’m Nibbles said another rabbit. Then a rabbit that looked just like Snuffy appeared. ‘I’m Willow’. I used to be in Melody’s family and this is my sister Velvet. She pointed to a beautiful grey rabbit. All the rabbits played together and then they were joined by some other animals, including some very handsome dogs. One of the dogs said ‘hello Snuffy’, I used to live with a lady called Barbara who is friends with Kate.
Suddenly Snuffy saw a pair of golden sandals. She looked up and then saw the beautiful eyes from the dream. Jesus had appeared. ‘Hello Snuffy’ he said, I’ve so been looking forward to seeing you in the Land of The Rabbits. Snuffy leapt into his arms. You were such a brave girl while you were on the Golden Path and you brought such joy to Kate and Chris, well done, said Jesus.
Snuffy felt so happy. She knew this was her forever home and she would never feel pain again. Snuffy snuggled back into the arms of Jesus and closed her eyes and smiled to herself that she had finally reached her rabbit rest.