Diversion Diary – Little Details And Small Acts of Kindness

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Hannah is alone during lockdown since her partner lives in the USA. Each week, she brings us some ramblings, plus a selection of the internet she’s been using to keep herself company. This week she goes all macro on kindness.

The past week has contrived to highlight the importance of the small things. Often, it’s not the big box with the bow on it, the grand gesture, or the vast view that means the most to us. It’s the home made card, the helping hand or the particular texture of a plant that sticks with us and holds the most meaning.

Lockdown seems to have brought about lots of small gestures. Neighbours helping neighbours, friends checking in on friends. Care packages for no reason beyond ‘I was thinking of you’. Stopping on a walk for a conversation with a stranger just because it’s clear that they’re lonely and want to talk. Many of these things cost us little in effort, we just have to pause long enough to think to do them. Maybe that’s why there’s so much of this sort of thing happening right now. With the pace of life a little slower, so we’re not so in a rush and focussed on achieving our next goal. Instead, we look around us a little more, and see where we could make a difference.

Last week was Mental Health Awareness week, and it had the theme of ‘kindness’. Coming up, World Bicycle Relief is holding a ‘Cycling Acts of Kindness’ day on 3rd June – which is also UN World Bicycle Day. Before lockdown, in February, there was a call to #BeKind on social media, following the death of Caroline Flack. Kindness is one of those things that only takes a moment, but can make a huge difference to the person on the end of it. It might not seem like much to you, but maybe that moment of being noticed made all the difference to that person’s day.

The little things in life aren’t just about kindness, but kindness is often about little things. So it’s the details, the little things, the small acts of kindness that are the theme for this week.

Incredible Edible: A Revolution of Kindness

Todmorden is not just home to Singletrack Towers, it’s also the birthplace of Incredible Edible. This is a growing project that aims to increase people’s connection with the land and the food they eat, while also building a community. If you come here to do the Classic Ride that’s in issue 131 of Singletrack Magazine, you’ll see the planters and fruit bushes all around the town that are the product of it. This podcast is with one of the people behind the project, and gives a good feel for the ‘let’s just get on with it’ attitude that’s led to all kinds of benefits beyond an ability to grow a few items of veg.

World Bicycle Relief #CyclingActsOfKindness

On UN World Cycling Day, 3rd June, World Bicycle Relief is inviting people to undertake #cyclingactsofkindness – whether it’s delivering a neighbour their prescription by bike, or helping get someone back up and pedalling, you can take part. Perhaps it’s a good day to offer up that spare pair of grips to your neighbour’s kid who is riding around without bar plugs? Of course, the point of the World Bicycle Relief campaign is to raise awareness, in the hope that you’ll also want to donate to their projects providing bikes in developing countries to help improve healthcare and educational outcomes. You can donate here.

5 Love Languages

It’s different strokes for different folks, and there’s this theory that there are ‘five languages of love’. Maybe you really appreciate gifts, but what your kids want is time. Maybe you want to be hugged more than you want your partner to bring you breakfast in bed. There’s a quiz here for different ages and different relationship statuses, and if you’re struggling to communicate with those around you in lockdown, understanding what makes them tick might ease the friction a bit.

New York Times

Leaving the diversions from the real world for a moment, the New York Times produced a really moving front page this week. As America approached 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, the NYT observed the event with a list of names of those who had died. But it wasn’t just the names, it was also snippets of information about the people. As you scroll through the names, you read things like ‘Always rode Harley-Davidsons’, ‘Longtime high school referee’, ‘Optimist’, ‘Raised five children’, Prosecuted mobsters, drug dealers and corrupt politicians’. It’s a moving memorial to lives lived and lost. And it had me wondering, what would anyone say about me when I’m gone?

In The Shed

Off to a lockdown YouTube project now. In The Shed is a strangely compelling series of short videos where detailed observations are made about small objects: ‘A series of films, 140 seconds in length, featuring a pipe-smoking man talking about, usually mundane, items he has found… in the shed’
It’s a charitable project for pancreatic cancer, by Tony Audenshaw, who apparently is an actor on Emmerdale, though I wouldn’t know that. There’s a really nice full explanation of how he came to make the series, on his fundraising page so you should probably pop over there and have a read. Since he’s done this because RideLondon was cancelled, there is a tenuous bike theme here. And I’m pretty sure you all like sheds.

Thank you to all those whose little acts made all the difference to my week. You lot are part of that.

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Catch up with the love under lockdown Diversion Diary:

Comments (3)

    An inspiring and thought provoking read as the sun goes down.

    A kind act can be as small as a smile or saying, “Hi” to a stranger as you cross paths while out for a walk. It may just make the tiniest difference in that moment, but it could be enough to get them through the rest of the day.

    Nice one, Hannah.

    Inspiring, as usual.


    Lovely piece, I was feeling a bit grumpy this morning (for no good reason other than cabin fever).
    I’m inspired to give me head a shake and be more thankful.

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