I've just finished a four day stint at my property over the busy Bank Holiday weekend. I've been all sorts of things this time; Working the Shop, helping in the Tea Room, helping prepare for a great "Grow Your Own" event, hang bunting and have even had a go at cleaning the visitor toilets.
All in all, a very tiring weekend, but I still enjoyed it. Many of the people I work with during my "normal" job wonder why on earth I put myself through this. It's a good question, but comes down to two things;
Firstly, it's a break from my normal job, something different and means I'm not sitting at a desk all day. Secondly, it allows me to be myself - I sometimes find the corporate environment stiff and cold, my volunteering experiences are totally opposite that. It's hard to explain really, but it just gives me a real 'buzz'.
My first volunteering experience was at Calke Abbey, helping out with a Easter Trail event. I was looking after the finishing post for the Easter Trail - I had to ask the kids questions about what they saw, given them the chance to comment on the trail or do some colouring and then give them their prize. I was terrified; I'd never worked with the general public in this environment, and had certainly no experience of talking to children. I was welcomed by the other volunteers and the staff running the event. After two days, and speaking to an estimated 1,100 children - I was completely exhausted - my knees where giving in from having to crouch down to their level all day - but I walked away with a huge grin on my face and had a whale of a time.
So that's were it all started, and I've never looked back. Do you think I'm mad?