Laughter all the way

Blog post 2 of the 30 day blog challenge run by Sarah Arrow – so far so good!

Laughter all the way? Indeed – I was just deciding what to write for todays blog post and thought I might write about the good things from 2015. I was looking back through the periscopes I had done for some ideas and I came across this one! That was it – I had to blog about the Giggly Grannies and in particular the last three Christmases.

it bought tears to my eyes and I hope is gives you a little amusement too.

For those of you who don’t know, Julie and I met at Ryde Methodist church about three and a half years ago and we just clicked from day one. I don’t know what it is but we just giggle a lot when we are together and soon earned the name of The Giggly Grannies There is always laughter when we are together -it just happens and Julie’s motto is leave ‘em laughing

We put our skills together and started fundraising first for the Open Arms project for feeding the hungry and homeless of Ryde and then for other things including Macmillan nurses and local Ryde charities.

Julie likes everything pink as you might pick up from the videos and I like all things purple.

In December 2013 – Julie set her heart on heart shaped crumpets – pardon the pun. Now many of you will think what a simple present for Christmas – easy peasy no problem there then as Asda were promoting them well on TV which is how Julie knew about them.

Ah easy peasy for those of you living on the big north Isle (as we call the mainland) but for those of us living on the Isle of Wight – not so easy as we don’t have an Asda. She tried to get folks to get her some but it was all to no avail. There was little laughter on this occasion.  How could I let Christmas pass without my friend enjoying the one thing she had set her heart on? It was 23rd December – I had put a few feelers out but had to be careful as Julie uses facebook but she is not a twitter fan – I got as near as someone going across the pond on Boxing day which seemed to be the best I might manage. I rang my daughter who was coming down to the Island over Christmas and her husband had just left Asda and there was no way he was going back!!!! I left a message on my brother’s phone – he was coming on Christmas eve – but hey ho he only picked the message up once he was on the Island. I left my sister a message as she was coming over from Bournemouth and I knew there was an Asda there. Finally it looked like I was in luck. As she doesn’t have a car but was willing to go on Christmas eve before coming to us – I suggested she call the store – great idea as they didn’t have many but she reserved some. She almost left them behind at her house but phewie she just remembered. I then had to sort of divert Julie to my mum’s house before she went to her sons house for Christmas.

After much cloak and dagger stuff – I managed to get Julie to agree to pop in for mums houses for tea – she then spent at least five minutes telling us how good she had been all year and all she wanted were crumpets but she was sad as it wasn’t go to happen.

 

Christmas 2014 also provided a lot of laughter as you will see.

I hope I have made you laugh a little or even a lot – Julie is amazing – she lives with an illness that would make most people cry but she loves to make people laugh – Leave them laughing is her motto.

 

We have even been told off for laughing but hey ho – do you think we are going to stop anytime soon?

 

 

 

The Ryde Slide

The Ryde Slide

Wayne Whittle, deputy chair of Ryde Business Association , introduced the idea of a Ryde Slide a long time ago having been told about the Bristol Screamer. When he saw pictures of the Screamer, he realised it looked just like Union Street in Ryde and so why shouldn’t he arrange a giant water slide to raise money for charity. The idea was born and gathered momentum until finally on July 12th 2015 the day arrived. The roads were closed, the Ryde slide was set up and much fun was had by all. Julie and I (aka the Giggly Grannies) had no intention of riding – that was for others not for us – it would be too fast and scare the living daylights out of us. However, it appeared, on the day,  that The Ryde Slide was not as fast as we feared so we set off , raised about £60 in sponsorship for the Ryde Slide Trust  there and then and took to the slide. I hadn’t bought any spare clothes – good job I was offered a lift home :) Would we do it again? You bet!

Ryde slide

 

Giggly Grannies do world book day

Some of you will know I wear many hats. Today, it is World Book day

 

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and I will be wearing my Giggly Granny hat – well actually more like a tiara. My wonderful friend Julie Jordan and I are known as the Giggly Grannies. We put the FUN into FUNDraising and get up to all sorts of mischief in the community. At Christmas, Rhiannon, the manager of Costa Coffee in Ryde, asked if we would do some story telling in the store to children.

 

costa coffee and ohoto frame We both have a background in child care so for us this was not a problem. So today – we are working on a pirates and princess theme and will be entertaining the troops after school. I’ll let you know how we get on. Now shiver me timbers it’s time for me to get going or I’ll be late. world book day 2015Why not follow us on twitter too @gigglygrannies and see how the Giggly Grannies do World Book day.

 

 

 

 

It’s been a long time

What a long time since my last blog post!! I must rectify this. It doesn’t mean I haven’t done anything. What it means is I have had a very busy time. I have been extremely busy with Julie as the Giggly Grannies doing much charity work. We have been raising funds to buy food for the Open Arms – I have been out and about networking for Wightbuzz – my network group I have become a steward and Junior church leader at Ryde Methodist Church For my sins I have also taken on social media for a couple of clients and for my sins I am now runnning the Ryde Business Association Social Media. In between times I promote my Wikaniko and my Phoenix card business and update the wikki and Phoenix facebook pages. Recently Polly, of the Family directory and I have joined forces to bring you the Isle of Green . Last weekend – the Giggly Grannies transported members of Ryde Methodist Church to Hollywood for a fun night. Our motto is to leave them laughing and we did just that!

They loved it so much that they want more so we are planning an evening in an English country garden soon. Watch this space!

That lovely little Nissan Leaf that Staddlestones have loaned us has really been helping a treat. It even has its own facebook page so you can keep up with its adventures.

 

Now I wonder if I can keep the blog up to date!

 

The Giggly Grannies – Part 2

Following on from my previous post, the Giggly grannies (aka Lyn Blackledge thats me- Giggly Granny 1 and Julie Jordan – Giggly Granny 2) continued to giggle together as our friendship grew. There was so much that made us giggle. We went to a Mexican evening complete with Mexican hats and moustaches!!! Sadly I cant find that picture.

We dressed in red white and blue for the jubilee and various celebrations our church held.

 

We had so much fun.   Then in October 2011, my van broke down and required over a thousand pounds worth of work. It was money I didn’t have. What I did have was a bus pass and so I decided to get rid of the van and travel FREE on the buses. I thought it would be fun to write the diary of an eco granny but not long into this new way of travelling, I began to lose the will to live!! So many of my journeys ended up stressing me out  that I started to tweet [email protected] I wasn’t rude but used more of a jokey way to alert them that all was not well – for example @Southernvectis I think the number 9 driver is late for his tea etc. The bus drivers drove too fast, shut doors in my face, drove past me at the stop, didn’t stop when I rang the bell and shouted at me. Not only was I unhappy about this for myself but for others and for our holiday Island! This wouldn’t do much for our tourist industry if families without cars experienced the same as I had. Why on earth would they return? After a short while, my tweets got a response and Matt Kitchin, the general manager of Southern Vectis invited me to come in and have a chat., He was very keen to hear my story and see what could be done. By this time, my Giggly Granny friend (though on some occasions not so giggly granny) had shared some of her scary stories on the bus with me. Well, having been welcomed by Matt and explaining some of the issues, I decided the Giggly Grannies could go on the buses and report back and thus we became officially The Giggly Grannies. I then went to tell Julie as I thought it would be good if she was party to this news!! The idea appealed to her as much as to me and we have been out on several journeys since although I have since been given a car by my son. We havestarted to report back the good and the bad. We are always keen to share the good stories and make sure we always get the drivers name where possible. We carry chocolate smiles with us (available from Thorntons ;) ) For grumpy drivers we give them a smile as they don’t have their own and for smiley drivers we reward them :) Having thus created the Giggly Grannies officially now, we decided that we should use it for more than just reporting back to the general manager of Southern Vectis and so we now use the brand for several purposes. 3 years ago I set up a networking group, Wightbuzz on the Isle of Wight and it has gone from strength to strength.Julie is an honorary member. The Giggly Grannies have been visiting some of them and making mad wacky videos and loaded them to you tube They can be seen on my your tube channel (Lyn Blackledge).This kind of marketing won’t be suitable for everyone but it works for some and gets the word out. In September, when our wacky rev (WE worship at Ryde Methodist Church) was attacked by silly jealous people, we got involved. Rev Marie had been inspired to set up the Open Arms Project and worked with Father Anthony and the Churches together in Ryde to help feed the hungry and homeless. It is staffed entirely by volunteers and funds are raised locally to support it. Whilst we knew the work went on,m we hadn’t actually been to see for ourselves. As the silly petty people who caused the problem are what I call Sunday Christians, ie they like to be seen in church on Sunday but the very idea of people in need coming into our church on a Sunday for a hot meal and some tins and packets of food is quite something else. Their attitude of “not in our back yard” is appalling and quite the opposite of Jesus teachings. The Giggly Grannies were so humbled by the work going on that we chose to use our skills to add to the work that the volunteers had been doing and build on their good work. Social media is one of my skills and gossiping the gospel is one of Julie’s so together we set to to help. The response has been amazing. People we don’t know, have been offering us food and bedding and clothing via social media. Other folks generosity has been incredible. So many of us realise we are only one step from being homeless. There are some really sad stories but together pulling as a team we CAN make a difference. We branded as The Giggly Grannies with a facebook page and a twitter feed and we are about to start podcasting too. One of our wightbuzz members, Adam of Adam’s Dezine Shop has created a logo and another member, Paul Rolfe embroidered tshirts for us that say the Giggly Grannies gossip the gospel.

The local branch of Barclays has allowed us two awareness days and what a difference that has made. Wightbuzz members Bjarne of IOW carpet cleaners and Dave Henderson ,Rely on Andy and Do it all Dave sponsored the leaflets. Susan of Smart in Design, designed the posters and created the flyers. Wightbuzz member Sean, of A1 Garage Doors provided the turkey for the Open Arms Christmas lunch and many others donated items. Vicky Chilcott of Victoria Sponge made the Christmas cakes.Louise of Chessell Pottery, donated cakes to be sold (even after we caused a riot in the pottery when we went to make Christmas decorations!!!!)

People have offered us vouchers to get free items in the supermarkets for which we are so grateful. Others have donated tin openers, razors , soap etc and goodies to make up Christmas gift bags. One lovely couple stopped us in Morrisons when we were using funds raised to convert to tinned food (also using vouchers we had been given) They wanted to know what we were doing as they were shopping to give to others. Julie did such a wonderful presentation in the middle of the store that they donated their trolley load of shopping to the Open arms. Not only that, they helped us load the car in the pouring rain and have also been to open arms last week and donated biscuits and sweets they had left from Christmas. Julie had tears rolling down her cheeks – we were so humbled by their generosity – a far cry from the silly, jealous folk who attacked Rev Marie for introducing the Open Arms project!! The work continues  because of a fantastic team of volunteers. Working together, so much can be and is being achieved.

On Friday 13th December, the Wacky rev and the Giggly Grannies went out for a day together. The wacky rev’s “MUM” said it shouldn’t be allowed!!!! We had such fun. Our first stop was Busy Bees where we went in the snow globe just for fun

We made such an impact whilst having fun that when Rev Marie returned the other day (not wearing her dog collar) they recognised her as being the rev with the giggly grannies! (and they didnt ban  her from the store!!!) We then caught the bus to Brading where we got off with our dolley trolleys and gathered some groceries from Jane.

 

We then caught a bus to Ventnor where we popped into see Abigail of Random remnants, a wightbuzz member. Lots of fun and laughter ensued. We had to collect the Christmas cake and as the distance was too far and the bus didnt go to the right place, we hopped in a taxi which had only just enough time to whizz us there and back before collecting its next fair. We collected the Christmas cakes, popped them into our dolley trolleys and back to town where we were delighted that Lesley of the Ventnorian, donated more food to the cause and we bought super Christmas pressies from her shop.

We finished our mad day at Mrs Jones Tea depot in East Cowes.

A superb end to a rather manic day. What a brilliant reception we got. Mrs Jones saw us coming and greeted us with You must be the Giggly Grannies!! She has now decided to join Wightbuzz and we have just arranged a network meeting in the tea depot the week after next!! Julie has been amazing. She is such a good friend and such a giggler. She is selfless and although terminally ill, she always puts others first. I am so pleased that she came into my life. She is a total inspiration and such fun to be with.

The Birth of the Giggly Grannies

The other day, my Giggly Granny friend, Julie Jordan and I were reminiscing and trying to work out when we met each other. We were introduced by a mutual friend and fellow church goer, Helen WIlks and am I glad she made that introduction. I have shared so many giggles with Julie since and been very proud to be her friend. She is a total inspiration to me and although her health is not the best, she continually puts others first and sticks by her motto of “Leave them laughing”

 

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She certainly leaves me laughing often so much so that sometimes I nearly have to stop the car.

One of those early memories of giggling with Julie was at Ryde Methodist Church when Julie and I attended one of the international evenings put on by Ruth Realey and her team of helpers (all church members) . They always provide a magnificent spread and suitable entertainment. This time it was a night at the Oscars and Julie and I went complete with feather bowers and tiaras. We won the quiz (you would expect nothing else with Julie, the quiz queen as a member of our team) My lovely friend, Paula Pomeroy was over from Kent and was enchanted to meet Julie.

How honoured I am...

How honoured I am…

Julie made an brilliant Oscar winning speech. She really stepped up to the part and from then on we have giggled all the way!

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We have dressed up and probably dressed down., We have supported each other through some tough times but most of all we have giggled. We now have a facebook page and a twitter feed (@gigglygrannies)  and we have many giggly granny you tube clips. (found on the Lyn Blackledge Channel) Unfortunately the camera froze as Julie was making her acceptance speech but she has made up for it since.

This is part one of our story – there is much more to tell but this is just the beginning so watch this space…………..part two is coming tomorrow.

 

How Time Flies

Wow what a lot of time has passed since my last blog. Hmmmm not good Mrs B so now to put that right. A lot of things have happened since I posted about Wightbuzz “doing” Cowes week! Such a lot of water under the bridge. I have welcomed a lot of new members into Wightbuzz.I have helped these Isle of Wight business owners to network their businesses and to find more business.  I have carried on promoting my other businesses. I have a new trader and more customers in my Phoenix cards business, growing it at my own pace and I have continued to spread the eco-friendly word about Wikaniko.

All of a sudden we are into a new year and as I have not been very good at keeping up this blog, I have decided to take the Ultimate Blog Challenge once again. There is a lot of support and plenty of ideas so the ideas should never dry up.

 

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Since my last blog. I have also set up The Giggly Grannies website as well as a facebook page and a twitter account – you can find us @gigglygrannies. My Giggly Granny friend, Julie Jordan, and I have been out and about in the community raising awareness for some of the Wightbuzz businesses, as well as for The Open Arms project which helps to feed and clothe the homeless.This is supported by many volunteers from the churches together in Ryde and was inspired by The Wacky Rev who initiated the project after a conversation with Father Anthony (but was criticised and treated very badly for her work by some who should have known much better!)

It has been very humbling and we have been thrilled with how much awareness has been raised. We have been delighted with how people have donated food, Morrisons vouchers to exchange for food, supported our fundraisers and awareness days that Barclays allowed us to hold in their Ryde Branch.

So although the blog has been fairly static, I have been very busy and in the coming days, Ill update you with much of what I have been doing over the last six months as well as new things going forward. I hope you enjoy visiting my blog and hope that your support will keep me on track to finish 31 blogs in 31 days.