What do YOU do? Meet Nigel…

What do YOU do? Meet Nigel…

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
Wednesday’s blog is when we look at things through another lens, 
and today I thought we could take a look 
at what people do with their lives.
I mean, I know what I do with my time personally, 
and you probably know what you do with yours too!
But when you step away from the plate,
take your foot off the accelerator for a moment and just think about the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of activities and jobs we humans have conjured up to pass the time – it really is extraordinary. 
No wonder we can’t sit still unless we are watching 
a film, or the news, or sport!
When we were in Jersey a few weeks ago with my parents, 
Dave and I went over to Elisabeth Castle.
We could see it from our hotel room, 
and the weather was glorious, so off we trundled.
You can walk across if the tide is out,
or take the amphibious boat-bus,
We took the bus out, because we wanted to see what it was like!
Great fun. The crew were very funny.
That’s what they do all day. Back and forth.
The perfect way to learn about the castle 
was to sign up for a tour, which we duly did.
The castle is steeped in history.
Not only beautiful, but fascinating too.
It was a pretty windy day, quite bracing.
What ?? Nobody in the square except us ??
We found the other tourists huddled in the gun room, 
waiting for the talk to commence.
Enter a gentleman all dressed for the occasion….
Allow me to introduce Nigel.
Today’s blog is about Nigel.
He was well into his 80’s but oh so fit!
(not in the Poldark sense, you understand)
After telling us the history of Elisabeth Castle,
which was fascinating – he certainly knew how to hold your attention – he put all the men through their paces,
spot Dave…

what a hoot! 

and walked us all down to fire a cannon out to sea.
He went through the process slowly and carefully,
and in so doing, transported us all back in time…

Used real gunpowder, showed us how it lights – the works.
He recruited some helpers,
and blimey was it loud when it went off!
A real ear opener!
Nigel was a veritable mine of information.
For 2 hours he educated us, 
entertained us,
had us belly laughing…
He was brilliant. 
He told us so much!
About the officers versus the soldiers.
You definitely wanted to be an officer!
What a raw deal those other poor souls got!
And the wives ?!?!? Yikes. 
I listened with interest to Nigel’s account of the 
glass bottomed beer tankards. 
If a recruiting officer slipped a coin into your beer and you drank it, then you were obliged to join the forces. 
Apparently, the glass bottom was developed as a way of refusing the King’s Shilling, i.e conscription into the British army or navy. The drinker could see the coin in the bottom of the glass 
and refuse to drink.
My guess is that the press gangs weren’t too fussed 
whether you drank the beer or not! 
If they wanted you, they got you. 
But I digress….
My point is this.
There is an elderly gentleman on Elisabeth Castle who 
several times a week, dresses up in an old uniform, 
and blasts a cannon out to sea. 

He is a local man.
He knows a great deal about the Channel islands.
And he shares it happily with those who want to know more.
check out the pipe in his hat…
The point of this blog is that there are many thousands of Nigels;
elderly, often educated people who keep active by volunteering their time and knowledge for the greater good. 
He was terrific with the kids too. 

So today, let’s stop and think about those people 
who do for their community, like Nigel.
I for one want to consider what I will do when I stop having to work for a living.
Nothing like a bit of forward planning!

Love & hugs,

72 thoughts on “What do YOU do? Meet Nigel…

  1. What a fantastic blog Barb. Really made me laugh out loud, especially your comment about ' Poldark', so funny. What a privilege for you and Dave to have met such a charming gentleman. Makes me want to go. Lovely photos too, you look really happy and relaxed in the last one. Watching Maria at the mo – lovely girl. She makes everything seem possible, always clear and precise with her demos. Enjoy the rest of your day xxx

  2. Plenty of food for thought today, Barbara. Nigel sounds a real inspiration to us all. I am glad that he is valued for everything he still has to offer. Sadly, that is not always the case as we get older. Too often, we are considered as past it, and all suffering from serious deafness and dementia. When you get to a certain age, too often people start shouting at us, assuming me are all stone deaf. I have loved reading about your Jersey break and looking at the pictures as they take me back to a lovely family holiday there several years ago, when we actually met the lovely John Nettles (Bergerac),, and fell in love with the beauty of the island. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts with us. xxx Maggie

  3. How interesting love listening to old folk and there stories of life and what they have done would be nice to think people would like listening to our life stories. Love hugs xx

  4. Once I retired I joined the local wi, am a Saturday steward at our local museum, volunteer with our village 'in bloom' team, planting and maintaining tubs and green areas throughout the village, am a trustee for our local village hall – we just raised £250k to build a new small hall annex – and am working with others on our village Neighbourhood plan. Oh, and organise 25 volunteer litter pickers to keep the village tidy now that the district concil has cut back on non essential work! The more you do the more you can – and it's a great way to stay in touch with everyone!! Others do far more than me but if everyone did even a little we could achieve loads!! Sadly most people say 'someone should do something about…. (So long as it's not me!!). Or 'I pay my rates so I am entitled to….. '. They miss out on so much!!!

    1. Hi Gillingham, just know what you mean.
      As we get older people think we just sit in the chair and watch TV, ho how wrong can they be.
      You are an inspiration to us all.
      Lynn xx

    1. Hi Alice! Many many thank you'/ !! They arrived yesterday, all the way from China! We all love themZ, it is too warm to wear just now, , but it will not be much longer. Many thanks Alice, you are too kind xxx

  5. Brilliant blog Barbara. Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts. I think it is important to have a purpose in life, whatever your age or circumstances, good for mental and physical wellbeing. And what better way than to give your time, as a volunteer. If everyone did who could think of the caring, love and positive experiences would be created in the world. Wonder if the kids of today will have the same ethics and willingness when it's there turn…

    I never got my chance to do the voluntary bit I was thinking of doing. And sadly, now I'm in need of volunteers, much in need. But I still try to do my bit, with words instead. Whatever volunteering you decide on Barbara, the recipients will most definitely have their life enhanced by having you in it even if it is one off things. Hope you have a lovely evening, love Brenda xx

  6. Oi….less of the 'elderly'.
    I thought I would do loads of things when I retired – I trained to be a York City and a York Minster guide, passed both tests with flying colours and took many people around York (not the Minster though, that's a bit scary – and I don't mean ghosts, although I could tell you some tales about York ghosts!). Anyway, all those plans came to nought when me back went! Can't stand for too long now so I've had to give up the guiding. Took up crafting instead. Hello Claritystamps, my saviours.
    Maggie (qualified Yorkite!)

  7. Love these knowledgeable people we go to national trust places and their volunteers always are very informative and interesting,something I would consider doing when I retire in 10 years health permitting…

  8. Hi Barbara, your blog today brought many memories of Jersey, we to did the walk across to the castle a wonderful place.
    I love my voluntary work started when I got made redundant twice so the husband said forget it, don't bother just do not go back to work.
    Have never been so busy but just love it .keeps the old grey cells going .
    thank you for giving us lovley memories.
    Just love my crafting as all of us do , don't worry what others say we will always love you and you are such a talented lady.
    Lots of lovley thoughts for you.
    Lynn xx

  9. I'm married to a type of Nigel . Not as old 71 and twice a week he volunteers as a docent at the battleship in Norfolk ( Virginia ) the USS Wisconsin , and he loves telling the tourists all about the ship and especially the engine room since he is a retired naval,engineer . This was a great story and I'm sharing it with my Nigel ( Larry)!

  10. That is an inspiring blog today. Volunteering is in bred in me. My Mum received an OBE for her services to voluntarily organisations including Victim support Scotland a few years ago where once she retired from managing volunteers in Citizens Advice she became Vice chairwoman. Even though she has loads of health issues she still volunteers once a week. Dad has been a volunteer in scouts for nearly 60years now and volunteers as the museum of rural life in East Kilbride. He also is involved in many other community groups locally and many other things through Ritery
    I too volunteer at Scouts and love most of it! Sometimes at three in the morning at camp when Cubs are not sleeping and the weather is wet and cold and my sock are wet enjoyment is not the word I would use, but the joy I get from sharing my skills with young people is amazing.
    I think it is important for everyone to consider volunteering in some way, whether it is online support or in person. There are many organisations that are looking for volunteers. You get so much back and it enriches your life and your community.

  11. We have been lucky enough to meet Nigel (2015) The Nigels of the world offer such knowledge and it always enriches a visit. Our favourite part of Jersey was St Brelaides Bay …a little piece of heaven.

  12. My mum, now aged 91, volunteered well into her 80s. Latterly, she gave lifts to the elderly so they could get to church and related events. The elderly she gave lifts to were all younger than her!!
    I suppose I better decide how I will volunteer some of my time now I've retired 😉 Mxx

  13. The elder gents and ladies of our country are a mine of wonderful information. We met a female Chelsea pensioner when we went to Chelsea flower show, she was lovely and chatted to us for ages. We did the guided tour of Hampton Court Place as well and a brilliant lady who lived in the grace and favour apartments was our guide. She had so much knowledge. Nigel looked great in his uniform and glad you enjoyed your day. There will be plenty to do when you stop working Barbara, I don't know where the days go. You can take yourself off in your caravan all over the country

  14. Wonderful story today – very inspiring. When I was young my nan used to volunteer giving out the meals to the old people – she did it until she died aged 84. I've done various voluntary jobs from when I was at school, and currently work as a befriender for people who are socially isolated – I think I get as much from it as my friend. I'd love to do more when I retire, and hope I'll be able to.

  15. Thank you for today's wonderful and inspiring story of Nigel! What an amazing man! How wonderful to be so fit at his age – no doubt doing what he does, has helped him enormously! Not to mention other people too! Hugs Gilly x

    1. Neill and I have met some amazing volunteers over the past few months – at the Sunrise (Oncology) Centre at The Royal Cornwall Hospital. They serve refreshments to people in the waiting area, whilst they are waiting to go and have their treatment – also the loved ones who accompany them. They are very caring people and it's wonderful to see just how much they help so many people. A McMillan Cancer Centre has now opened next door and they also have got volunteers to help run that too. We went into there today after Neill's follow-up appointment with his Oncologist, to have a celebratory cup of tea and a cake! Neill has been discharged today, after his test result came back – the Radiation Therapy has been successful!! We both are over the moon! Thank you all for your wonderful support here on this blog – over the last year! Love and hugs to you all, Gilly xxx

    2. Good news indeed! I haven't followed Barbara's blog recently as much as I did in the past – but whenever I pop back in I see uplifting posts like yours! How lovely for you both to get such good news. One of my dear friends is expecting to get somewhat different news today – I hope I can provide the right support, albeit from as distance. Maybe a card to say I'm thinking of her!!

  16. Hi Barbara
    What a fabulous place and a wonderful man to tell you all about it. He certainly doesn't look 80. It's brilliant when you find someone with tales to tell and lots of knowledge, it brings the place to life. I quite fancy volunteering in a national trust place when we retire. My cousin is great at volunteering me for things, I ended up in a large tent in the pouring rain this summer teaching girl guides to knit. Had a wonderful day, came home tired and cold but it felt good to see the girls faces when they all walked away with a flower they had knitted. I think you might be returning to jersey, you both look really relaxed there.
    Love Diane xxx

    1. Hello lovely blog friends. I'm just about to cut out a gingerbread house, my first attemp. I enjoyed watching Maria today, my sister and I have a little text conversation going. I like the idea of the sparkle spray, must dust mine off. Sending hugs xxx

  17. What an interesting blog Barb. A couple of years ago, We joined a local U3A (University of the Third Age) with its aim of sharing knowledge and experience with others. We have lots of interest groups in the club and I am now involved with groups such as Bus Pass group (we travel around Essex on our bus passes and explore other towns and villages), a gardening group visiting our gardens as well as bigger gardens like Kew. I also help run a cardmaking group too where I try to share my limited skills, as well as a FLower Arranging group which I run. Somehow, I got the job of being Speakers Secretary and book monthly speakers and entertainment. No wonder I am having difficulty finding time to make my 100 Christmas cards this year!!!!!

  18. As a rider to my message about U3A – while we were at Kew Gardens, and the Chelsea Hospital for Chelsea Pensioners, we met some interesting "Nigel's" who showed us around the Various historic residences.

  19. There are so many people like Nigel who take tourists round our cities and places of interest and take on lots of other voluntary work. You can see he obviously enjoys every minute of it too. Hubby and I are members of a League of Friends group at our local hospital and he is the Treasurer and I help on the committee and we raise money to help fund those extra things which help make a stay in hospital more bearable, and we also have a rota to take a trolley round once a week with sweets, crisps, drinks etc, and we were one of a few local groups to receive an award from our local council for our efforts It's not a lot but it is good to put a little back sometimes. We don't find it that easy to get volunteers as we are only a small group and all of a certain age and it would be nice to find a few more slightly younger people willing to help a bit, so maybe when the time is right Barbara you may enjoy getting involved with something similar. We are both also involved in choirs which do help through the concerts to raise money in our locality, so how about a bit of singing maybe? It is lovely to see the great photos you took and glad you, Dave and your Mum and Dad had a wonderful few days there. x

  20. I love meeting the "Nigels" of the world. I would love to do something like that but the old bones won't let me now! Having said that I have been involved with Guiding since the age of 7 and have a few long service and other awards. I also used to help out at the local junior school teaching craft and cookery when the children were small.
    These days my "helping out" is more sedentary in the form of helping others with family history!

    However, I do like to chat to people like "Nigel" and as my Dad would have said "count a day lost you don't learn something new". My family despair of me sometimes when out with me, when I will stop to chat to a guide or similar, or even a complete stranger – lol!

  21. What a lovely blog today. Despite living on Jersey for two years and seeing the castle most days I am ashamed to say that I never went across to see it.

    Today I met a lovely lady for lunch – one of our blog friends, Susan White. Despite only living 15 miles way from each other this is the first time we have met but it felt like we have know each other for years. We were also pondering our futures! Thank you Susan for a lovely time and thank you Barbara for the blog without which I would never have met Susan.

  22. Nigel sounds (and looks!) brilliant! What a character! Lousy back means no more active volunteering for me but I used to work with mentally handicapped youngsters via Barnados. One 20 year old girl was fantastically outrageous fun – large and always laughing and, in Macdonalds/on a bus or train, bellowing out such gems as "Frankie's screwing Chris on top of the bus – NOW". A weekly highlight to watch heads nearly swivel off necks when I was out with her. No wonder I was asked at the 'interview' if I was easily embarrassed! (apologies for lowering the tone of this delightful blog!) xx

  23. Was reminded of something on the news a couple of days ago re very high percentage of older people who, in a large survey, expressed how very lonely they are. I just wish they could find a group like this to do with whatever they're interested in. It gives a real sense of belonging to a like-minded community, and, for those who can't get out to support others, provides a way of contributing. Here ends my thought for the day! Thanks to all of you – you're enriching my already very fortunate life xx

  24. Hi Barb,
    Nigel sounds such a character – thank you for telling us about him. The blog today was lovely, it was very uplifting to hear about this fabulous man who gives up so much of his time. I'm sure when the time does come for you to give up working, you'll find lots to do. I know it's a cliche but you will wonder how you found time to work! Love and hugs Alison xxx

    1. Hi bloggy friends,
      Hope everyone is as well as possible. Dave and I went for a lovely walk from Low Force to High Force today, there was so much water in the river and the falls were spectacular. The only downer of the day is that my knee is killing me! Never mind, tomorrow is another day. Love and hugs to all, Alison xxx

  25. What a fabulous gentleman. I only hope I have half as much energy and joi de vivre ( probably haven't spelt that correctly, but I'm sure you get the gist) if I manage to reach his ripe old age. Xx

  26. Hello Barb,
    Nigel is my kind of guy – although let me add that I have been happily married for 2 years (and unhappily for 48 ha ha – the old ones are the best!!).
    I volunteered in my Granddaughters school three days a week for quite a few years, helping on trips away, listening to readers and marking papers, things like that, but sometimes I take the classes for craft (using clarity stamps, naturally) and they love it. A particularly difficult boy said to me one day while using embossing powder and a heat gun "Mrs Killen, you are awesome", it was quite an achievement to get through to him and made me so happy. Because of my cataract ops I've had to pull back for quite a few months, but hope to start again after Christmas. It keeps me young!!
    Maureen xx

    1. Hi Maureen, well done I know what you mean.
      I volunteer down at one of our hospitals one a week we all have to fdo at least two hour's a week, I go in at 9.00 and leave at 2.00pm have a great time with all the staff and there is nothing better than putting something back when you have retried from work. Just love it
      you are an inspiration to us all.
      Lynn xx

  27. Hi Barb, well I hope when I reach Nigel's age, that I am as active. Yes forward planning, something we should all do really. Thank you for sharing this inspiring story. Bx

  28. Love sharing a visit with someone with great enthusiasm for their subject, I am sue that Nigel certainly enlivens the experience for all visitors. I am enjoying crafting in my retirement but guess that's a bit like coals to Newcastle for you. Our auntie, who lived to be 102, was doing meals at church for the "old" people well into her eighties ( that's what she called it, some of the old people where ten years younger than she was at the time)

  29. Hello Barbara, what a great post. Keeping busy is the essence of a happy retirement. I'm involved with a charity that helps to Integrate young disabled people into the community, also do a voluntary cardmaking class at an Autistic Unit in a local college. I can recommend doing voluntary stuff to everyone. It's certainly has two way benefits. Hugs xxx

  30. Hi Morag, I know what you mean it is good as you say and the benefits are to fold.
    hope you are keeping well and on the mend now.
    Getting on with my Groovi cards have just completed a few and I feel really good about them I am starting to get them to look quite good now . can only get better just love the new plates from yesterday.
    Keep warm and safe.
    Lots of hugs
    Lynn xx 💖

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