To Be or Not To Be - That was the Question

Anthea Hartley  |  Published: Jan 24th 2018

As I opened the bedroom curtains on Sunday 10th December I was confronted with four inches of pristine snow for as far as I could see across the fields of our farm.  It looked beautiful of course, and it was still snowing heavily at 9.00 a.m.    I inwardly groaned  -  this was to be the day of our Contact the Elderly Christmas party.   The catering was all organised, each volunteer bringing a contribution towards the special tea: sandwiches, sausage rolls, mince pies and cakes of all descriptions.  The tables and chairs had been collected from the village hall and delivered to our barn at the farm where the party was to take place. The Christmas tree was decorated and the holly wreaths hung on the door to welcome our guests.   The choir was due to come and entertain us with carols, friends and neighbours had practiced their seasonal readings and poems and our team of volunteers were ready to transport our Guests to the party at 3.00pm  -  it was all systems “GO”! 

Or was it?

By mid-day the snow was still falling and a decision had to be made: to be or not to be  -  that was the question.    Clearly we had no choice  -  it was NOT to be.   The roads were blocked with fallen trees, stranded cars littered the hills and lanes and our tractor was the only means of getting out of the farm driveway  -  certainly not an option for transporting our older guests.    It was with huge disappointment that the phones calls began to contacted the Guests and our team of volunteers to give them the bad news.    In one sense it was fortunate that this had not been a difficult decision to make   -   it was quite clear that it would have been highly dangerous for our Guests to venture out in such extreme conditions and it would have been unreasonable to ask our volunteers to attempt to drive on the impassable roads.

As a consequence of the extreme weather conditions, my freezer was now groaning under the weight of the cakes and sausage rolls that had been put on “hold” until they could be defrosted and enjoyed at the January “Contact the Elderly” tea party.   The Christmas cards and gifts for our Guests were delivered by hand a few days later and the tractor was parked back in the hay barn once our driveway and lanes had thawed.    It was the first time we had ever had to cancel a tea party in five years  -  it was a great shame indeed.  

If you know of an older person, over the age of 75 years, who lives on their own within the Wendover or The Lee area and has difficulty getting out and about  -  perhaps they would like to join our Contact the Elderly group.    For full details please either phone me on

01494 837372 or e-mail me on   Similarly, if you would like to offer to become a volunteer we’d be most grateful to hear from you.  For full details of Contact the Elderly please visit their website



Group coordinator for The Lee and Wendover CtE Group

group photo 2015, courtesy Contact the Elderly
group photo2 2015, courtesy Contact the Elderly
Photos courtesy Contact the Elderly
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