It was an incredibly windy day yesterday. The Isle of Wight recorded winds of up to 96 miles per hour in the middle of the day. I had been quite oblivious to this fact, not having listened to the radio with its warnings not to go out unless you must. We had run out of milk, so I jumped in the car (as it was a bit windy) to drive down to the seafront post office at Barton to buy some.
As I got out of the car, a wind unlike any other I’d experienced at Barton whipped along the coastline and rocked the car violently. I ran into the sanctuary of the shop for a few minutes, purchased said milk and ventured out again. It was almost impossible to walk along the pavement back to the car. And as I gingerly opened the car door and got in, a huge gust came along and fought with me to keep the door open. So there I was, half in and half out, holding on to the door for dear life when the very kind but windswept owner of the Bijou Cafe appeared and helped me to close the door so I could drive away. Without his help, I am not too sure how long I or the door would have been there!
But the tale doesn’t end there. As I drove away, opposite me I saw a Barton resident with a walking stick really struggling to make it to the WC block. I thought about driving on, the person would probably be OK… but what if they weren’t and got blown over? So I stopped, got out, offered an arm and helped them to and from the WCs back to their car against that violent wind and got on my way, arriving home drenched to the skin and hair like a wet mop. A nice cup of tea at home was never more welcome.
Why have I mentioned all this? Well, it occurred to me that we all need a helping hand from time to time, and sometimes very unexpectedly. Sometimes there may be someone there to help us and sometimes not. Many people struggle along on their own in a difficult situation because they don’t like to ask for help or feel they can’t ask. They may be too proud to ask, or perhaps they don’t like to be a burden on others. But we should always be prepared to ask for – and accept – help if we need it. It may be from neighbours, friends or family, or even from a stranger from time to time. But there will always be times when we should ask for help or advice. And in return, if asked, we should try to give or get help, because it’s the right thing to do and it may be us needing it next time.
Your local councils are there, not only to fix potholes and roads, but also to provide help to residents. Many people don’t even know council help is available until something becomes a crisis. Hampshire County Council has a terrific network of support and help for Hampshire residents who need it, both from the council directly and from external agencies such as Citizens Advice. Do have a look at the County Council’s Connect To Support web pages here: connecttosupporthampshire.org.uk A book is also available if you can’t use the internet – phone for a copy on 0370 779 3084. Connect To Support is not just about helping those caring for a relative, although there is a lot of advice of that kind for those who need it. It is about finding support in whatever difficult situation you may find yourself in, whoever you are, whatever age you may be. And, of course, your local councillors can also point you in the right direction to get any specific help you may need. That is what we are there for.
PS: Thank you, Bijou Café owner, Keith! Very grateful. Residents, please go in and support them. They do such great coffee too!Cllr Fran Carpenter