well hello, how are you bigmoose blog reader?
(i actually typed bogmoose just then, but you'll never know, as luckily i noticed and corrected it)
well, where do i start?
my week has been a real rollercoaster this week, but as always with me, the highs have been mighty high, and the lows have been polar opposite. some might ask why i have to live my life this way, and even suggest that i could take my foot off the gas a little, and be a bit more normal.
ha ha ha ha ha, as if that's ever gonna happen.
the influence one mr cloonan, aka moose has had on me is to push the envelope, stand up and be counted, take the risk, and watch how it all pans out, and hopefully the net worth in the end is positive.
last night i went to our feed the homeless night, and bore witness to the beauty and the horror of the world that we live in, all within an hour, and by the time i returned home to my sanctuary i felt like i had been in a washing machine on fast spin, and then pushed through a ringer to squeeze every last drop of emotion onto the floor, i was spent.
my week started with a visit to rumney police station, and no i hadn't stepped across the line into the wrong camp, i was there to see jim dyson, namesake of the guy who designs pretty coloured vaccuums and handdriers in service station toilets.
james dyson bears no physical resemblance to chief inspector jim, who is a 5'10" lithe looking policeman, mid forties, with a road bike on a turbo trainer in his office, which told me this man trained hard, and dear reader i will guiltily admit impressed me, sorry, people that train hard impress me, guilty as charged your honour.
anyhoo, the reason i was visiting jim was that i had recently met with peter vaughan, the chief constable of south wales police after a recent cardiff business club dinner, thanks liz for sitting me next to peter btw, funny how these things transpire, and peter had listened to my bigmoose story, and my dream of getting 300 spin bikes and travelling the length and breadth of this land, extolling the virtues of charity, raising a shedload of wonga, (does anybody ever say wonga nowadays, asks the uncool guy?) by holding amazing sponsored events, a simple premise i'm sure you'll agree.
the bit i love is that peter believed in me, and enough to introduce me to jim, and if i didn't have one tiny bit of cool about me i may have fistpumped, but i didn't, as i'm sure nobody fistpumps at times of success do they??
as jim led me to his office a shout rained down on me from an office above, and i heard 'smiffy what've you done wrong this time' from an old ice hockey playing colleague who is now a special response officer, who carries a taser, guns, and drives from cardiff to swansea to respond to a 'shout' in less time than it takes me to shower.
i nervously laughed, and shouted back some amazingly witty response like 'alright nath' as jim gazed at me trying to draw out every bad thing i had ever done in my life like one of james's vaccuums.
i explained how i knew nathan to jim, and he smiled, i think.
as we walked up the cold stone steps and through the glass door at the top, i came face to face with james, a 6'3" fully armed in black firearm outfit police officer, 'alright jeff, what are you doing here?'
is this a windup, are ant and dec gonna pop out in some ridiculous disguise in a moment, i doubted it, but i only know two armed response policemen, and i run into both of them within the space of three minutes whilst trying to navigate to jim's office.
james is a friend of bigmoose, having taken part in our transporter bridge abseil, as well as our black tie event elevation, so it was a good meeting, but still a tad unnerving i must admit.
we made the next twenty metres to jim's office, without interruption, and as i sat down i breathed a silent sigh.
we nattered for in excess of an hour, and i liked jim, who struck me as a very strong, determined guy, who gets things done, and as we talked about bigmoose, i really wanted jim on our team, the spark was definitely there.
the upshot of our meeting was that we are going to look at a way that the police force can get involved in getting spin bikes, and hopefully helping bigmoose achieve it's lofty goals, and as i walked out of jim's office i felt proud that i had communicated this dream to a man who i felt doesn't tolerate fools gladly, and this made me smile, so although we have no plan at this moment, and it is early days, watch this space, my gut tells me stuff is gonna happen :)
shoot, this blog is gonna be a longun, i'm just going to pour my second coffee, wait there for a minute.
i'm back, now buckle up, it could get bumpy!
so, later this week after my police meeting, i had another meeting with simon, top man in m & s cardiff, and i am really, really pleased that marksies are going be supporting a number of future events we are planning, and are going to be implementing our monthly moose idea for the next year within the cardiff store's 350 staff, how cool is that, so i need some big ideas to present to them by may 13th, so we have a great canvas to paint on, it's time to get creative, but pretty cool though huh?
as well as my bigmoose meetings i have also been superbusy working, yes i do work, and before i knew it our feed the homeless evening was upon us.
now i hold my hands up i have been so busy i have neglected rallying our troops to gather to come along to the evening, and hadn't pushed getting any fruit or other good stuff to distribute to the homeless of cardiff, but i needn't have worried, my network of friends turned up to volunteer armed with boxes and boxes of bananas, apples and oranges, as well as a load of toothpaste and toothbrushes to give out, and without being cheesy, hearts full of love.
as we arrived at the place everybody meets i witnessed something that is very rare at this event, violence.
a young girl was fighting a guy in the road, and there was a lot of shouting and swearing going on as people pulled them apart, and as i got out of our car carrying a box full of bananas i felt kind of stupid if i'm honest, but managed to greet the fellow volunteers i recognised with a weird kind of 'hello', as angry girl finished her tirade.
we set up our tables, and the throng of homeless folk crowded around to look at the donated clothes, and the fruit that we had collected, filling their bags, in an excited way, but always polite, and never greedy, it never fails to amaze me how polite, and willing to share these guys are, and as i distributed some bags of crisps, a really tall unshaven guy that had been given some chicken ones handed them calmly to a young girl who had specifically requested chicken, and waited until i passed another packet to him, no greed, no fuss, he just listened and acted, a skill that so few possess.
our awesome hairdressers aaron and ian arrived, and set about preparing to cut hair, and listen to their clients stories.
i walked around saying hello to some of the people that i now recognised, and smiled warmly at them, as we added some vitamins into their diets with fresh fruit that they would eat long after we had left, and i wondered what they thought of as the sweet tastes of goodness fuelled them, as they continued their lives.
my eye caught a guy that i have written about here before, joao, the portuguese chap that i set about trying to help get a job.
now this is a long complicated story, which is not mine to tell, however, i was extremely pleased when joao approached me with a brightness in his eyes i hadn't seen for months, and a noticeable difference in his posture, his shoulders were more upright, and he seemed to stand taller 'i have got a job' he exclaimed.
'awesome' where, and what are you doing?
he spoke more in the next two minutes than he had in the last three months, and he was alive, he had meaning, he had purpose, he had an opportunity, and he was taking it, i smiled, on the outside, and very much on the inside.
every month at this gig i learn stuff about humans, and seeing joao so happy made me learn another lesson.
the hour we spend at this evening goes so fast, and i find myself absorbed with giving out food, encouraging people to have haircuts free of charge, and making sure everybody is safe, i get very paternal.
by the end of the evening i found myself with our hairdressers, and was entranced by jody who was sitting in ian's chair ready for her haircut.
i asked jody if she would like a before and after picture, and if so would she mind me sharing them with the world.
she was cool, so here she is.
these guys work so hard to make their clients feel special, and without any washing, drying, products, etc, but the smiles they put on peoples faces are amazing.
jody's story was one of the most moving i had ever heard, and whilst not wanting to share all of it here, she has a psychology degree, is a heroine addict, shoplifts, and is in and out prison regularly.
however, she is on methadone and is trying to get off the heroine, and most of all she loves to bake.
so next week i am going to try to facilitate her baking a cake, and helping in some really small way to move forward, so fingers crossed, and let's see if we can't help another human.
jody's story really blew me away, and she left us saying thank you, and how we had really helped her, i know that i wasn't the only one to be really moved by this experience.
we packed up and all said goodbye to each other, and i got into my car.
i sat there, kinda numb, and took my phone out of my pocket, and looked at my messages that had arrived during the evening, and one in particular made me smile, and finished my night off in a way i was extremely pleased with.
"Hi! I just wanted to let you know that my daughter and myself did our monthly moose tonight, we collected items from friends and family and donated items ourselves for the homeless. We met some of your bigmoose team in Cardiff and handed them over! My daughters name is Matilda and she is only 9 and was so happy she could help and put a smile on some faces! X"
well matilda and nicola, thank you for making me personally very happy, and for helping others less fortunate, you guys are officially rockstars!
now if you have read that and looked at that great picture, and if you haven't already done your monthly moose, maybe you can copy matilda by putting a smile on someone else's face, and if you do, be sure to let us know, as we all work towards making this world better than we found it.
so until next week, have a fantastic week, i'll be seeing ya,