This discussion aims to give you an up-close and personal look at what happens on opening days at the Knit-a-Square barn.  I'm a partially-sighted volunteer who who attends with my guide dog Tango and my driver Bongi, who has also become a keen volunteer.  While everyone else opens parcels, sorts squares and packs items ready for distribution, I listen and take mental notes so I can pass on something of the atmosphere on the ground.  Enjoy!

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Reading of your latest KASBarn visit is the most wonderful way to start my day, Leanne. I love to read of little comments/events you are able to share, from members that we don't see on the forum, or at least, not regularly.

I also appreciate you sharing what occurs in the barn at the other end of the 'creating warmth' process. I hope you realize how much we enjoy the pictures you paint of the sorting/sewing/delivery processes. It really is almost like being there.  :))

I hope Ronda is having a lovely little break, reconnecting with family and friends and that Keryn enjoyed her visit to the KASBarn....may you both enjoy a lovely week, together.  :))

Agree with every word from Bev - these reports from Leanne give those of us scattered across the globe a real insight to what happens to our contributions!

 It was another busy day at the barn yesterday, beginning with two birthday celebrations. Estelle and Anne both celebrate their birthdays this week. There were two cakes bedecked with candles, and the ladies did themselves proud by blowing out all the candles on their cakes in one puff! Some lovely photos were taken of us all which you will, no doubt, find on the Knit-a-Square Facebook page.

Ronda was back from her travels overseas, looking remarkably energetic in spite of her very busy time. She reported that the wedding was beautiful and that it was lovely to spend time with her girls. Most special for her was seeing her elder sister who lost her husband last year. There is nothing quite like being together in the flesh and having several days to just catch up on the small things.

Wandi and Themba went out in the van to collect completed blankets from three different gogo groups. There are about 30 gogos in each group, and the total number of blankets they would be collecting was close to 150. Because of the holiday break, no blanket packs were delivered. Ronda thought it a good idea to give everyone a break and start off fresh in the new year. Certainly, as far as record-keeping goes, it means we can balance our blanket numbers and have everything ship-shape for 2019.

Some gorgeous toys arrived in the mail this week, including a couple of cute Hawaiian-style coconut characters, a John Paul Young look-alike doll and a magnificent owl. Bongi opened a parcel from Australia that contained 42 beanies. A number of parcels were opened that came from England and Scotland, among them one from Athele's sister in Surrey. Japan, Croatia, Michigan and Cape Town also made an appearance at my end of the table, although I'm certain that Canada and other states in the US must also have featured. There were some lovely striped squares among them, knitted with self-striping yarn. I spotted some stunning blanket packs being made up and foresee some dazzlingly patterned blankets resulting from them in the near future.

Speaking of the near future, Christmas is now less than a month away. Knit-a-Square will be closing over the festive season, with our last meeting of the year falling on Tuesday 11 December. Many of our volunteers will be going away, which raises the question of who will collect the post from the post office? It would be impossible to simply leave it there until we come back in January as the volume of parcels is so great that it would literally swamp the place. It's not a very big post office branch as it is. As Ronda put it, "If we don't make a plan to collect regularly, we will simply shut the place down with the amount of post we get!"

We had a long discussion about options for solving this problem. Themba isn't up to coping on his own, especially in the intense heat of high summer. We can't just put the word out for someone with a driver's licence to earn some holiday cash— there isn't a lot of cash around and, besides, it would mean leaving the barn and van keys in the hands of a relative stranger, not to mention a large sum of money to cover the customs handling fees. What Ronda eventually decided was to approach her neighbours, a couple of whom have offered help in the past, and find a couple of strong students who would be happy to make a difference over the season of goodwill. I will report back on how this goes.

Meanwhile, the whole post office drama continues, as frustrating as ever. The top-level management is inaccessible

Apologies, I seem to have lost the rest of my post! As I was saying, we've not managed to reach top-level management at the Post Office but Ronda was told yesterday by the branch manager of our local post office that a new regional manager is due to take over in Gauteng early next year. hopefully, he will be more amenable to exempting public benefit organisations from having to pay handling fees on international parcels containing items intended for charity.

One of our newer volunteers, Liz, is moving house in December so we wish her all the best for that. She won't be moving away from the area, just from a cottage to a flat in her retirement village. Here's wishing you a smooth move, Liz, and a happy Christmas in your new home.

Thank you so much Leanne for your comprehensive report, much appreciated. Estelle and Anne, belated Happy Birthday wishes!

Good to be informed about the Post office, I will keep my parcel here until January.

Thank you Anneke we love celebrating birthdays at the barn. 

Again, a really interesting read!  Wow - what a lot of post you must be receiving to have to organise a collection over the holiday break.  

Thanks Leanne for keeping us in the 'picture' - especially reminding us that it would be helpful if airmail parcels are held until the new year so that the post can be managed without pressure!  

Seamail/surface mail takes 6-8+ weeks so those parcels can be sent, although queuing in the UK post offices is not to be recommended in December! I'm sure the story is pretty much the same worldwide....

Hope volunteer Liz's home move goes on well oiled rails!

A belated Happy Birthday to Estelle and Anne.  :)) Two wonderful ladies that Ronda would be lost without.

Thank you so much for keeping us updated on the postal situation, Leanne.  :))

I hope Liz has an easy shift and is soon settled in her new abode....don't envy her the moving, especially this close to Christmas.

Thank you Leanne for another "inside story". It is so helpful to learn about the post issues and to get a heads up about the KAS barn breaking for the holidays.  Christmas is so close how did we get here so soon !!!!

Thanks Bev we were spoit with a fabulous carrot cake and a chocolate cake. Thank goodness there is only one more birthday this year...our waistlines will be pleased. 

Due to past problems with posting parcels around Christmas, I usually stop sending parcels after the end of October and start again around mid January. There's no sea-mail from France to SA, so parcels can ( sometimes) arrive within 10 days.



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