East Coast Bays Library
East Coast Bays Library

Sadly, it’s the last day of my three week holiday. Although it was a low key affair, I have enjoyed every minute of it.

Today we had arranged to meet friends for coffee in Browns Bay. As it was threatening rain, I suggested that the car might be the way to go. The man very firmly told me that the weather would hold and we couldn’t pike out on our commitment to slow living at the first hint of inclement weather. Suitably chastised, I agreed to walk it. I even left the rain jacket behind to demonstrate my wild side.

On the way, we spotted a seemingly abandoned mobility scooter. I commented to the man that the owner of this machine was probably Fran* who would be delivering pamphlets, and I was right. The last time I had seen her was about eight months before when she and her partner had come to the library for books on cats as theirs was sick.

Remembering this, I asked how the cat was. The answer was that she had passed away, but they had a new kitten to love who had been a stray. We commiserated with Fran over the death and congratulated her on the new cat. As we parted company, I mentioned I would be back doing the book club at the home where she lives in the next month or two and would pop in to see her new moggy.

For Fran and her partner, home is a residential care facility for adults who have a disability such as spina bifida, Parkinson’s or head injuries. For some, this will be their home for a short time, whereas others will live here for most of their adult life.

Every month the library ladies, as we are called, run a book club for the residents**. It is one of the highlights of my calendar and, hopefully, theirs too. Over the time we have been visiting, the relationship has changed from librarians and customers to one of friends.

Our more able bodied friends will now pop into the library for books and/or just to say hi to us as they are passing by. On occasion, the library ladies have been known to morph into the taxi ladies who drive them home – it is after all an easy walk down to the bay, but the return journey is hard when tired.

Living life with a disability is without doubt a challenge. In spite of this, our friends at the home live their lives with good humour, dignity and grace. ***

On the way home from our coffee with friends, it was raining slightly. I didn’t whinge.

*Nom de plume used

**It is totally irrelevant if any books are taken or not

** *Hats off to the staff who work there. They are an amazing bunch of people who work hard to ensure the residents  have the best quality of life possible. Sadly, the workers in this industry are undervalued and poorly paid.