Blown away by a bouffant budgie

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BACK after a short business trip I picked up the local papers and read with delight about the Fundación Fusionadas set up by Antonio Banderas to help recruit new members and donors for Cudeca Cancer Hospice.

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BACK after a short business trip I picked up the local papers and read with delight about the Fundación Fusionadas set up by Antonio Banderas to help recruit new members and donors for Cudeca Cancer Hospice.

 


 

 

Cudeca was set up in 1992 by Joan Hunt OBE. Like most charities in this economic downturn, however, it now needs the public’s support more than ever for, as Joan observed to me, cancer doesn’t recognize or respect recessions. And that’s why I’m keen to do whatever I can to support its fundraising campaign and the reason I’m donating to it all future profits from sales of my psychological, suspense novel, The De Clerambault Code, also featured in local press articles.

I mention all this since my previous efforts at charity fundraising in the UK had some unexpectedly disastrous results.

In the wake of the Asian tsunami in early 2006, I decided I needed to do something positive to help the fundraising appeal. And the Red Cross was the unfortunate choice of my first-ever, practical volunteering efforts (previous contributions having been solely financial).

This involved door-to-door collections of, I was advised, discarded clothes, toys, that sort of thing. In the event, it involved everything imaginable and unimaginable. Knives (all shapes and sizes). Half a samurai sword. Artificial limbs (none matching). Two sets of false teeth. What looked like a false eye (though possibly an odd-shaped marble). A jar of gallstones. Crutches. A mouse (stay with me here: a computer mouse). A Masonic apron. Two mauve bridesmaids’ dresses. A box of human hair. Assorted sanitary ware – even the discarded Christmas gift of a puppy (dogs not for life in that community then).

And for the next few days, I had this ever-present nightmare of bumping into a toothless, one-legged Polyphemus on his way to the Masonic Hall brandishing half a samurai sword supported by a bald lady in a mauve wedding dress bearing a bidet…

Anyway, I was doing fine in the first street on the list I was given until I got to the house at the end. A dark-haired, middle-aged woman eventually answered the door. Before I had a chance to get in a word, however, she smiled sweetly and lisped: “Sorry, ducky, I’m in the middle of blowdrying the budgie”.

I was so dumbstruck my jaw dropped to the ground and words froze in my mouth as the door slammed shut in my ashen face. I’d got as cheerful a welcome as a Trot at a Tory party conference.

So if, during the run-up to today’s UK General Election, you needed a sure-fire method of ridding yourself of unwanted visitors – canvassers/ politicians or double-glazing salesmen posing as canvassers/ politicians – this lady may just have had the answer…

By Nora Johnson

www.nora-johnson.com

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