Free Conversations 3 & 4.

3. “You should talk to my wife, she is sewing scrubs for healthcare workers. It’s through @RonaScrubs – Australia They are asking for volunteers to sew much needed scrubs. Spotlight are donating the fabric and you are sent the pattern. If you want to help out, just join the @ronascrubs-Australia page.

“It is based in Melbourne but a young guy delivered the material to us as he was visiting his girlfriend down here. There must be a few people in the region helping because he was making 6 deliveries. My wife is a very good quilter and she’ll have 3 scrubs done by the end of the week. It’ll fill in her week. She’s off on a 24km run at present.

“We’ve been in the area for 30 years. I’m a retired civil engineer and she’s a retired Primary School teacher. I still lecture at Deakin occasionally.”

Scrubs to use (2)

4.“I don’t have a story,” Maryanne. “Yes she does!” adds her husband Michael. Back to Maryanne. “I’m a nurse. I’ve been on a break for 5 weeks. We were caravanning and made it to Portland when we had to come back. I was telling my son, this is the first time in my almost 40-year career, that I’ve actually felt very anxious about going back.

“I also make natural cosmetics and hand sanitizer. You can order it through my facebook site @mezmakes or give me a call on 0425 165 505. I’d been selling it through my friend’s $2 shop at Highton, but they had to close. I use all-natural ingredients, aloe vera, glycerine and the correct ratio of alcohol. It comes in lemon, lavender, tea tree or marjoram. I’m offering it at a discount to NFPs and schools.

“I’m a cardiac nurse at St John of God and look after some pretty sick people. They open up to you and it’s very rewarding talking to them. I think we just need to be patient and see this through. It’s a chance for the world to take a deep breath and for us to reset our minds and hearts. We can focus on the simple pleasures.

Michael tells his story. “We are very proactive in the Mental Health realm. I manage the East Geelong Golf Club and we had a great speaker @Jeremy Forbes who told his story. He was a painter who lost a couple of mates to suicide and now he supports mental health. My interest stems from the fact that one of our three boys is bipolar and another suffered from eating disorders. Turned out he was gay. I think it is important for people to talk about these things, to reduce the stigma.

“One benefit is that over the past weeks, we’ve been getting to know our neighbours.”

Free conversations stories by Jacqui Bennett. Inspired by the “freeconversations’ movement which was started by Adri in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Nurses in scrubs thankful for their caps, from @Helpingourhospitalheroesaustralia page.