Day 22 of 100 Days

Sarah Swaysland

Friday, 22nd January, 2021

I met Lady T my telephone friendfor the first time today! I’m so pleased because we’ve been talking weekly since Covid began, and it was amazing to put a face to a voice. We missed our call this Tuesday just gone, but it was better to talk in person, and I also got to meet her dog too.

What: Banking a cheque
Organisation: Age UK

I'm so happy that I got to meet my telephone friend, Lady T, today. She had a cheque that needed banking, but she’s been unable to get out to the bank herself due to being vulnerable and having to shield. She had no one close by that she trusted enough to bank it for her, so when we were chatting last week, I offered to go round and take it in for her. She lives about half an hour walk away (or a 27 minute bus journey), so I took my shopping trolley for a stroll so I could pick stuff up on the way home. When I got there, I was greeted by her and her dog, a beautiful stocky Staffordshire bull terrier who is just about the soppiest dog I’ve ever met. Lady T had a big bag of sweeties and a ‘quadrocopter’ toy that she wanted to give to my son which was a complete surprise and really kind. I also feel quite flattered that she trusts me enough to take her cheque to the bank. I’ve had all the DBS checks and I know that I’m trustworthy, but it means a lot that she also wants to meet me and I’m not just that person from Age UK who gabbles down the phone at her once a week. That being said, we have known each other for almost a year now so it felt kind of natural that we would meet eventually, although I thought it would be at one of the AgeUK craft events.

I’m truly in awe of how Lady T (and indeed anyone who is vulnerable, including my parents) has been able to cope with not being able to get out, as she’s been isolated and not been able to see anyone for almost a year. She has her dog to keep her company, but it’s not the same as having face-to-face contact with a person. I’m really hoping that we can meet up for a walk at some point in the summer. I’d love to take my son, as he would adore the dog (and his sweetie benefactor), and she lives close to Morden Park which is a lovely walk. She’s so nice and I really wanted to give her a hug, but alas, Covid kept us a fair way apart and we had her dog as an intermediary.

Lady T is keeping herself busy with watching The Handmaid’s Tale, which I can’t bring myself to watch. I did read the book, and worked my way through to the end, but I found it a tough read. Margaret Atwood is a superb writer, which is probably why I was able to keep going, but I found the subject matter quite harrowing, which is why I’m not really a fan of dystopian novels in general. Dystopian novels tend to pick up the worst in human nature and err towards the negative which is against my natural way of thinking - I believe that most people are better than that. If you have a decent writer and good characters, dystopian novels can be gripping to read (I actually quite enjoyed the Hunger games trilogy when I read them), but they invoke negative feelings in me and, as someone who's naturally quite positive, I don't like to put myself through that.

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