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Thursday 3 July 2014


I was honoured recently when I was asked to drive a party of elderly residents and staff from a Residential Care Home in Keynsham to Bristol Zoo for the day.  It was their annual outing and we were all so pleased the weather stayed fair and that a good time was had by all.  Apparently one of the residents was so 'happy' she actually cried, seen here with a very kind and lovely staff member.

I count myself so fortunate belonging to an organisation which provides that level of service to the community, as indeed are the management and staff of Keynsham Dial-a-Ride.

I am a volunteer driver for Keynsham Dial-a-Ride and I took the party of elderly ladies in this bus, nicknamed Ivy, plus seven staff, who helped by pushing the seven residents in their wheelchairs.  Another vehicle took the wheelchairs and some staff members.

St Philip and St James Residential Care Home in Keynsham was formed over 25 years ago by Mrs Pat Clarke, who is a very good friend of mine.  I am so pleased she was able to share this delightful day with us. Not long ago she had a painful replacement knee operation and it is remarkable she was able to push a wheelchair.  Mind you with that lady nothing is as remarkable as it seems - she truly has a direct line to Heaven and she does incredible, almost impossible things.

Pat is a well loved and highly respected 'angel' in the community and she has helped so many people she really should be a saint.  My dear wife, Maria, worked for her and Pat treated her just like a daughter.  Pat and I are like brother and sister.

The day started at 10.30 and it took a while to transfer all the residents into the 12 seater bus, with another vehicle following. Fortunately Ivy is equipped with rear wheelchair access and a lifting mechanism and we were able to get them all abroad, transferred into seats and safely strapped in.

We arrived at the zoo and the wheelchair pushers, including me, were admitted free of charge: 

I took a few photos - some would say of my distant ancestors.

This one seemed to be hanging around for ages:

I was pushing the lady in the foreground, although the lady in the mid ground seemed more in tune with my jokes and you can see Pat laughing in the background:

There was not much doing in the lion's quarters - the two male brothers were out of sight from their main enclosure, sleeping which was disappointing.  So we headed for the penguin enclosure:

. . . . taking care to keep hold of my bits, of course:

I did not take too many photos of the animals . . . since I was pushing a wheelchair and it was sometimes difficult to break off . . . . but this chap seemed interesting:

We took a packed lunch with us and of course I was looked after as far as food and drink was concerned:

The time went by very quickly and we arrived at the restaurant and all assembled for a cup of tea and an ice cream . . . . here is the lovely Laura, waving my ice cream:

. . . "Only one dear!"  

Then someone else thrust another ice cream into my other hand and the day was so hot the ice cream was dripping all down the cone.  

"Help!! . . . I said as Ella arrived with a very self indulgent scone laced with raspberries and a huge dollop of Cornish Cream, insisting I should have some there and then!  

We were all in hysterics:

There was universal amusement with my inability to eat two ice creams at once without the contents running down my arm:

 "And don't forget your scone, Eddie!"

Then it was time for some more photos:

The two Polish girls, Sandra and Ali were amused with my feeble attempts to speak Polish - my wife, Maria spoke it fluently, but I managed to say a few things correctly, like "Sto Lat" meaning cheers or one hundred years, and "Dziękuję bardzo" meaning thank you very much.

The lady in mauve was a former user of Dial-a-Ride and I knew her very well.

Nice to see people enjoying themselves:

Just time for another walk around the grounds:

Ali and Peggy are waiting patiently:

Laura looks refreshed after her ice cream and so does the lady.

"Did I say something funny?"

One lady next to Sandra insisted on walking . . . didn't she do well?

Hey what about me?  

Who's taking a piccie of me?

Sandra obliged, thank you:

. . . almost ready for another look see at the zoo:

What a load of posers we are!

One more for the road.

A great day!

So glad it went well for them
Hopefully we can do another one soon


  1. haha...some funny speech bubbles came to mind as I looked at the pictures! :)

    Looks like a real fun time! I'm sure they were thrilled with their annual outing. Your little bus looks very similar to the one my boys ride. It has a wheel chair lift in the back, too!

    And how nice of them all to feed you! haha. Sounds like you had your fill of sugar. Now..bits? We just don't say that. Our signs would say Do Not Feed The Animals. or maybe our version of your sign would be Keep Hold Of Your Belongings.

    1. Look at me,
      in first place, you see!
      I'll take my crown
      with no one else around! ha.

    2. I can just imagine what you might say in the speech bubbles . . . . lol

      Yes it was a fun day and several of the residents were still talking about it when I popped round tonight to show them the photos . . . . I shall get some prints done for them.

      Yes I can imagine the bus is similar to the one your boys ride in . . . . except mine has the steering wheel on the correct side . . . LOL

      Yes they all know I am much better when I am fed and watered,

      Regarding 'bits' . . . usually we are like you with those signs . . . so some comedian must have put that one up and that is why I shot it . . . . most unusual! :)

    3. Congratulations on being first - you deserve a prize :)

  2. Aww, you all look so very happy!!!! It is people like you that really make a difference to peoples lives Eddie, well, and Ivy the bus too of course! I am sure that your work is so appreciated and enjoyed by everyone, especially with your happy smile thrown into the mix as well, what could be a better for a day out. Glad that you got to enjoy yourself as well as looking after everyone else. I will remember not to get into a two ice creams at once situation ever myself, it just sounds too tricky!!!

    1. Awww! Thanks Amy . . . you are very kind . . . and you can buy me two ice creams if you want to - I shall figure out the logistics as I go . . . lol

  3. And the zoo let you all out again - bonus! LOL :-)

    1. Yes they ley me out . . . good job I didn't take a banana in and eat it sideways like a monkey . . . ROFL

  4. This post really touched me. I used to volunteer on trips with the ladies and gents of my late mother-in-law's church and daycare centres. She suffered a stroke and both our lives turned about hugely. I became her main carer. On day's away, I always volunteered to help out. I was in awe at these elderly groups, some of their life stories were heartbreaking.

    Since my mum-in-law passed away I only ever entertain, mostly at Xmas, taking my voice and guitar along......well they do look after my brandy glass for me!

    1. Thanks Helena . . . you sound a very caring person.. The old folk always appreciate a bit of kindness and affection and who are we to deny them that?

      I'd love to hear your voice and guitar . . . well deserving of a glass of brandy! . . . My you sound popular . . . I get a cup of tea!! . . . lol

  5. They all look very happy and relaxed. I can see it was a nice day out.

    You took a terrible risk going to a zoo, even Jinksy was surprised the let you out !

    Yes, I can comment again, so watch out !

    1. Hi Keith. I am so pleased you can comment again . . . or am I ? . . . . ROFL
      Yes, I am glad they were looking elsewhere when I made my escape from the zoo!

  6. You mentioned Keynsham on this post twice, so now I know where to contact you if I come your way again, Just keep looking over your shoulder.

    1. Is that a threat or a promise . . . . ROFL
      Email me and we can have a chat and a coffee next time you are 'in these 'ere parts' as they say here :)

  7. Great pictures. My wife manages our local police department's volunteer program of about 90 volunteers and we both have experienced the rewards of volunteering. Take care.

    1. Thanks Stephen and interesting work your wife and you do as volunteers. :)

  8. Eddie, it looks like a wonderful outing for everyone. So nice to see that these ladies were able to get out and about for the day. My grandmother lives in an elder care facility and outings/activities are so very important. Glad to see they fed you well :)

    1. Hi Michelle - you a good time was had by all.
      Hope your grandmother is looked after as well - these staff are wonderful.
      Yes they did feed me well . . . . lol :

  9. You and your team are true angels, doing what you do, I hope you know that. Can't say I know of anything like this going on around here...

    1. Thank you V . . . . you are too kind. We do it because we like it and it gives a big buzz making people happy and trying to give them a purpose in life :)

  10. What a great post. I was hoping that you'd pop into at least some the photos and there you were in the fourth one. ;) It is nice to see all of the happy faces. Enjoying the outing. Enjoying your humour. Enjoying their ice cream. You're a good soul, Eddie.

  11. nice....what a cool trip to the zoo...i love seeing all the animals...and to get to share that...and make someones day..all the better....def angels among us eh? smiles. ha nice pic of you in there with them...

  12. Hi Eddie...
    Good job!
    Noticed there were no men....other than this outing!
    Just the way you like it,eh? Surrounded by lots of ladies....and a few young ones too! Hahaha! is so nice to see people out and about....
    You're a good one Eddie....
    Linda :o)

    1. Hi Linda . . . . yes I had all the ladies to myself . . . . even the young ones . . . . lol
      My magnetic personality and charm you see . . . . they just cannot keep away!! . . . lol
      Yes, I do enjoy seeing people enjoy themselves too . . . and you are quite right, I am a good one!" . . . .ROFL

      Thanks Linda and cheers! ~ Eddie :o)

  13. What a great outing!

    The idea of holding your bits made me laugh out loud.

    1. Hi and thanks SAW . . . . .yes a great day . . . .and that sign 'tickled' my chuckle muscle too - that's why I snapped it . . . . lol

  14. Replies
    1. Hi Gloria, yes great fun and pleased to say the Care Home wants me to take them on outings more frequently, asy every two months :)

  15. Where's a photo of you dripping in ice cream? :-)
    Good thing you left your banana outfit at home... no telling what could have befallen you!

    1. Yes, great shame that did not happen - my camera was in my pocket and I could not get it out with all the ice cream squidging around!!
      Yes a banana outfit might have been just too much for the monkeys - they might have tried to eat me!!!! . . . lol

  16. Sounds really fun Eddie!
    (Im sure I let a comment early)

    1. You did!
      . . . and thank you again . . . . Eddie :)

  17. First time visitor - what a wonderful day and how nice of you to accompany the ladies round the zoo. I see all the smiles and think it was a wonderful day for all. I have browsed through some of your posts and shall be back to browse again. Have a wonderful day - SaucyKod in Canada :)


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