loch venachar

12days to go till we open Ripple Retreat

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Ian and I were up at the site today to water the newly planted plants and Millie’s trees – we have had a dry spell for a few days and we can’t have them drying out.

 

There was no one else there today of course so it was very peaceful. Ian was busy sorting the tree ties and I decided to sit at the pier and look down the loch and had some moments to think.

And this is what I was thinking…..

Three and a bit years ago when we first met David and Jean we had not expected them to give us such a beautiful piece of their land. We had not expected it to be so peaceful, stunning and have views like it has. We had not expected to be given a piece of land in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

Our next concern was – would the planners let us build here? We could but ask. They (the planners at the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park) said if we were to have any chance of building here we were going to have to produce a design that was ‘exceptional’ and fitted in to its surroundings.

A tall ask.

Incredibly around the same time we were introduced to Tony Kettle. Tony had designed the Falkirk Wheel among many other buildings of note. He was interested in helping. Give me a few weeks he said and we did. Not in a million years did I think we would like the very first (and only) design he would show us.

But he’s good. He is really really good.

The design was both exceptional and fitted in to its surroundings.

We loved it. Fortunately so did the planners!

And so today, the last day of April 2017, I sat there and pinched myself – listen, I am not going to kid you and say the past three years has been easy – this project threw up all sorts of obstacles and hurdles – the design team have all worked together to work through them though and let’s not forget that for almost a year I was getting chemo and radiotherapy – not easy for either me or Ian but working on this project helped us both a lot.

In particular this year has been tough – unavoidable delays here and there are frustrating to say the least and differing views on style has meant compromises too by all parties.

Plus it is hard working on this to the extent we have this year, plus continuing to fundraise for it, organise events, and run the charity!

All that by way of saying, I think, that I had been getting blasé about the Retreat, taking it for granted and yet today as I sat at peace, loch side, it hit me.

Tony Kettle is an absolute marvel, David and Jean are awesome and our contractors quite remarkable – everyone else involved is pretty cool too. Our Patrons, Trustees, Ambassadors, Young Ambassadors and volunteers are some of the finest people on the planet.

And our Ripple Retreat is truly truly stunning. Breathtaking. It took my breath away today, brought tears to my eyes as I realised we are less than two weeks away from opening it. (well those tears might have been tears of terror at the thought of just 2 weeks to go and quite a lot to do in that time.) (kidding – they were tears of wonder, of joy, of immense gratitude).

What an amazing collective achievement.

Now, I must go, there are a fair few tasks to do before Lorraine Kelly cuts that ribbon!!

 

It’s Good 2 Give Ripple Retreat site visit 14 February 2017

Posted by | A Day in the Life of this Fundraiser, The Retreat, Uncategorized | One Comment

Me and my Valentine spent the day doing a site visit and visiting two local supporters.

What a great day it was.

We started off by having an early lunch (1115am!) at Blair Drummond Smiddy – then we went just along the road to Doune to meet for the first time a great supporter – Cheryl Sievewright who owns Woodlane of Doune – a fashion boutique. Cheryl held a fashion show raising £1000 for us which was tremendous.  It was so good to finally meet her and she loves the Ripple Retreat and will continue to support us.  I can see myself popping in to Woodlane from time to time. (I saw several items I would have liked to look at more ).

From there we drove along to Callander and stopped to say hello to another local supporter, Ishbel owns the Crown Hotel. It was super busy as we arrived at 1pm so we just said hello and had a very brief chat then agreed to pop back at a quieter time!  We had a bit of time before we needed to be at the Retreat so we took a wander up and down Callander High Street, finding a lovely wee lane to wander down – it took us to a bridge over the river and an ancient graveyard which mentions Burke and Hare.

It was such a lovely February wintery sunny day  and the light was lovely as we approached our Ripple Retreat.  Parking was difficult as the site was so busy with contractors!  (Which was wonderful) – so we parked at our neighbour’s house (with permission I might add).  We had a VIP supporter visiting with her 3 sons so I had bought 3 child size safety hats and hi viz vests for them.  Kirsten runs KDMedia who have supported us through the Scottish Property Awards, Scottish Legal Awards and Scottish Home Awards raising over £60,000 for us in past three years. In addition to the funds, we have met several other supporters through those awards dinners.  I was a wee bit nervous as wanted her to love our Ripple Retreat as much as I do!   It was unnecessary worry – she loved it as did the boys.  On site today was a digger doing work on the road to the new Pier and the boys loved watching it.

Before heading home we met up with our neigbour, another VIP supporter and friend, David and had a cuppa and chat discussing the garden and other landscaping plans.

To top off a cracking day – daylight stayed with us till almost 6pm – a wonderful sign of approaching spring.

Must do better………

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Oops. Missed a few days again. It is harder than I thought doing a blog post a day.  Will try to do better!

Past few days have been same old same old but on speed.   We have been working on a project plan for the opening and the open days following the opening.  There are A LOT of people we would like to invite to come see the Retreat before it goes ‘into service’.

As part of our own food shopping, I am popping in packs of biscuits that are on offer wherever I am – so far, this month has yielded offers on kitkats and oreos.  the biscuits must be individually wrapped so I am keen to take up offers when they appear. The amazing folks at Tunnocks are donating 700 biscuits and along with my 150 so far I am getting there.  I need about another 300 I reckon. So far, no cost to the charity.

I would love love love to tell you my desk is tidier but sadly, I can’t.  Mini fail there. I have a few personal appointments this week and so have kept my diary light (one of them is my annual mammogram – 2 years since I started chemo, and it makes me a bit nervous beforehand).  I may try to do a bit of work on the old desk! Don’t hold your breath though.

Trustee and friend Susie Bradley has been busy on our behalf too – she has been speaking at Inverkeithing Scouts telling them about us and our Ripple Retreat.  The Scouts are fundraising for us which is terrific and Susie has also been invited to be interviewed about her role and that of her Wee Broon Dug’s role as an Ambassador for it’s good 2 give.

Perfect Sunday for a spot of office work

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It has been a very grey January Sunday  so after our lovely 50min early morning swim I decided to settle down in the office and get on with projects.   I feel very very pleased that I was able to sort a computer app issue.  We have a lovely guy who helps us but is also super busy – he wasn’t able to come for a few days and I was really fed up with the problem (Outlook wouldn’t load at all) so I sat down and researched the issue on Google.  There were several solutions and at first I wasn’t sure which one to try – I ended up trying the one that sounded most plausible.  It took hours to do but after three hours I got my Outlook to load and all my emails came back – I was so pleased!  Then, of course, I had to sort the emails – there were 250 to go through and I have managed to reply or file 175 of them today!

I had a nice break from all of that when Trustee Susie B visited – she is busy with a new job but also has recruited 21 trekkers to do a climb up Ben Nevis in May.  We talked about her plans and her fundraising ideas and she tried out the Egg chair we have for the family room at Ripple Retreat.  Her verdict?  Very comfy and great for reading a book.  Which is exactly the plan for it!

So, it has been a day of paperwork – well, virtual paperwork!  Surveys, To Do Lists, emails, fundraising plans, e-vites (starting the plans for the Official Opening event), a newsletter to our corporate supporters, starting the plans for a Family Day at the Retreat.

And here I am writing this blog.  About to stop though and sit for a couple of hours reading my book.  (Maggie O’Farrell – This must be the Place – in case you are interested!)

I promised myself I would try to read and relax more this year even though we are super busy – so we have given up some TV watching and taken up book reading (well OH has continued with newspaper reading).   And I am enjoying it!

Thanks for reading – it’s so nice to hear from some of you and to know that someone is reading my blog!!

Ripley the Bear – perfect for Valentine’s Day

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Snuggly bears aren’t just for kids!  This one is almost an investment – Made by Merrythought Bears in England this quality bear is a collectible as well as cuddly bear and we have  called him  Ripley! This teddy bear is non-jointed and is 8″ sitting.  He is also wearing a specially designed It’s Good 2 Give t shirt.  All profits from this bear go towards  our Ripple Retreat.

I think he would look perfect for a Valentine’s gift and if you are thinking of popping the question he’d look cute as holding the jewellers box.

Best bit – as well as giving your loved one a Valentine gift you are also helping a small charity fundraise.   Win, win.

He is £50 and we get half of that.  Post and packing at cost or collect from Edinburgh location.

Patron Grant takes a break from radio

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I was all geared up to tell you about my lovely day and I will, just not today!

Because….

I want to wish our first and longest serving Patron, Grant Stott, all the best as he hangs up his headphones for a while – after 27 years at Radio Forth he is taking a break to pursue some different opportunities.

He is a cracking Patron and friend and we all hope 2017 is all he wants it to be.

Here is a link to the official statement!

http://www.forth1.com/pages/granttakesabreak/

All the Best, Grant

Love, Bunty and the entire IG2G team.

Grant hosting Blingo

Grant hosting Blingo

A bit of a frenetic Monday

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The day started off so well.

Och and it hasn’t ended badly – it just got lots of extra things added to it and I felt as though it needed extra hours added to deal with them all!

It really is quite hard to keep up at the moment.

Monday mornings are for my parents – I take them over to the Gyle, they do their shopping, I do a meeting, we then meet up for a coffee and I take them home.

Today was an opportunity to meet up with fellow Trustee Susan for a chat and share ideas.

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On the way home I got a call that meant I needed to go into city centre for an urgent meeting to discuss a potential problem with an event, then return home and consider options.  I also needed to prepare for an all day interviewing session tomorrow, learn how to set up Skype (yeah yeah it was easy in the end), pay for more Ripple Retreat furniture and fix up its delivery date to coincide as far as possible with the delivery dates of other items of furniture. Those two sentences don’t really convey the feeling that this day didn’t have enough hours in it.

Well, I knew this year would be challenging time wise – before you know it, it will be time to open the Retreat.  I actually relish the challenge but I still wish the days were a wee bit longer.

I enjoyed a good chat with our London Marathon runner tonight on Skype – she has lots of plans to promote her participation and support of our charity and we shall both be sharing those next week.  Long time supporter Aileen popped by today with gifts for the Retreat and also to let me know she is walking the West Highland Way for us this summer.  Keeping her feet firmly on Scottish soil this year but perhaps we can tempt her with information about our Bhutan trek in 2018!

And apparently it is 7 years this week since we set up It’s Good 2 Give – we didn’t get our charity registration till April 10th but we started the process, applying for registration, setting up a website, admin etc this very week 7 years ago. What a long way we have come.

Right, guys, I still have papers to read for tomorrow so I bid you good night.

It’s Good 2 Give Ripple Retreat

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Two lovely visuals to share with you.

First up is our architect’s impression of the Retreat and its pier.

retreat and pier

 

 

 

 

Looks amazing – a great spot to sit and enjoy the view or do a spot of fishing perhaps!

Also on Sunday our architect and friend, Tony Kettle, visited our Retreat site to see progress and try out his new drone.  The result is stunning – an aerial view of the whole site and Tony’s gorgeous design – my favourite bit?  The roof.  It truly blows me away – I have seen the guys working on it and am so impressed at their skills and now totally understand why it has taken time to install.  I bet that isn’t the right word for putting on the roof but you know what I mean!

If you click here, you can see it on our Youtube channel.

LM

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A birthday card a day please!

Posted by | Donations, gratitude, Uncategorized | No Comments

IMG_0618 mugsI started fundraising 11 years ago this month just before my 49th birthday.

And here I am just a few days short of my 60th birthday – hard to believe really. The time has flown by.

I decided to set several challenges – two I can tell you about!

the first was to get 60 gifts for the Ripple Retreat from our John Lewis and Amazon gift lists – that worked wonderfully well!  Far in excess of 60 gifts have been bought by our wonderful supporters.

The second challenge I started just yesterday – to get a birthday card each day until my birthday – real or virtual- and to have a gift with it – not for me, you understand, but for It’s Good 2 Give

It could be the pledge of a prize – auction or raffle- for 2017 (I need 20 auction items and 250 raffle gifts), it could be that you come to an event in 2017, or take us on as Charity of the Year, or give us something for the Ripple Retreat, become a Regular Giver, pledge to be one of the celebs (or ask a celeb) for our cooking event early spring (no cooking experience required), a pack of 2nd class stamps, or a wee gift card for a supermarket or JL or Ikea or Molton Brown.

I wasn’t 100% sure this one would work but once again, our supporters are rallying round – I got a new Regular Giver, a bike to auction, two pledges of raffle prizes, one of the new plastic £5 notes and the offer of a young classical musical quartet to play at an event.

Today I had a visit from Ingrid from Bon Papillon art gallery and cafe (in Howe Street, Edinburgh) – she brought me a fabulous gift – 36 mugs for the Ripple Retreat.

Thank you Ingrid, Susie and Darlene and all the others who have donated already.  I have so much appreciation of your support.

ps my birthday is on 4 December.