the loo roll hypothesis

Tomorrow hopefully will include admission into hospital for a long-awaited operation. This means that there will be a hiatus in the bloggage production while I am in hospital and for a little while as I convalesce. Just to warn you, however, once I have recovered a bit the frequency may increase (and I am offering no guarantees about the quality).

So, in order to prepare you for this, I feel I need to offer you a highbrow bloggage today. And I want you to consider the cardboard tubes inside toilet rolls (how highbrow is that!?).

Toilet Paper RollThese humble tubes have always led a double life. They spend some of their life as the centre of a roll of toilet paper, enabling the easy retrieval and removal of the paper at the moment of need (ahem). Then, when they have finished distributing toilet paper, many of them begin the second phase of their life as a staple part of many different children’s craft activities.

When I was a child it was rare for Blue Peter ‘makes’ not to include the holy trinity of ‘sticky backed plastic’, ‘double-sided sticky tape for speed’ and ‘a cardboard tube’ (they were too polite to refer to its previous life). The wonderful thing is that these tubes were universal in size so you could guarantee that they would be the right size for the craft project.

Recently Sainsburys (they need naming here) have taken the decision to reduce the diameter of their cardboard tubes inside the toilet paper. According to their blurb this means that they can reduce the size of the packaging while keeping the same number of sheets on each roll. That in turn means they need fewer lorries to deliver it to the stores and it takes less space on their shelves and in our homes.

Amazing – all that from simply reducing the size of cardboard tubes. But have they considered the impact on the children’s crafts? Did they consult Blue Peter? Have pre-schools and play groups been asked about this? Will all other toilet paper manufacturers follow suit, and while reducing the carbon footprint caused by our need to (ahem) they will be throwing the best laid plans of teachers and parents into disarray.

Start stockpiling the old size tubes now, before they vanish completely!

In case you have not picked it up yet, yes I am being facetious, ironic or even sarcastic. Of course it is a good thing to reduce the environmental impact on our planet caused by our lifestyles. If that means that craft activities have to be adapted or abandoned, so be it. One toilet roll changing size on its own won’t make much difference, but if millions of toilet rolls are changed, then there will be a measurable difference.

It made me wonder whether there are simple things I can change in my life that will make a significant difference. Not on my own, but if lots of other people do the same we can see change.

How about if we all take the time to say ‘thank you’ to someone else whom we normally take for granted? It could be someone in a shop or restaurant. It could be someone in our family. It could be our neighbours or friends. It could be in person, a phone call, a letter or card, or by one of the many electronic forms of communication. It could even be God! Let’s cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

And how about you make something for someone else each day. It may be something physical like cakes, a meal, a bed or something tangible like that (even made with toilet roll tubes). Or it could be something less physical. You could make someone feel loved or appreciated. You could make someone feel special. You could make someone happy by the way you serve them.

And what about doing something new each day that makes someone else smile? It could be a joke, or a cup of tea. It could be that you give them one of your smiles because they look like they are in need of one. It could be a hug or a compliment.

I reckon it’s the sort of thing Jesus did on a daily basis. In his praying he thanked, he made people’s lives better, and I am sure he put smiles on many people’s faces.

Thank, make, smile. 

Simple and humble, easy and adaptable. Just like cardboard tubes.

Be blessed, be a blessing

Hospital-related joke. (Yes I know there are some data protection issues with it, but it’s funny).

A woman called the reception desk at a hospital.

The receptionist heard the woman say, “Hello. I’d like to talk with the person who gives the information about the patients. But I don’t want to know if the patient is better or doing like expected, or worse. I want all the information from top to bottom, from A to Z.”

The voice on the other line said “Would you hold the line please, that’s a very unusual request.”

Then a very authoritative voice came on and said, “Are you the lady who is calling about one of the patients?”

She said: “Yes! I’d like to know the information about Sarah Finkel.”

He said “Finkel. Finkel. Let me see. Filch, Finch… Finkel. Oh yes, Mrs. Finkel is doing very well. In fact, she’s had two full meals, her doctor says if she continues improving as she is, he is going to send her home Tuesday at twelve o’clock.”

The woman said “That’s wonderful! She’s going home at twelve o’clock! I’m so happy to hear that. That’s wonderful news.”

The guy on the other end says: “From your enthusiasm, I take it you must be one of the close family.”

She said “What close family? I’m Sarah Finkel!! My doctor won’t tell me anything.”

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