Cherries on Top

Written by AHQ

4 July 2013

Greetings all.  

Just a small thing………………
Firstly, if any of you clever people out there can explain to me why Blogger keeps randomly changing the font style, colour and size without me knowing I would love to know.   I set all my posts to “Arial” and change the colours and sizes appropriately, then save only to find when the post goes up that the sizes, styles and colours are all over the shop.  Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

On a more interesting subject………….
I have had a lot of feedback from people appreciating reading the lovely things that people write when they send me a request so when possible I will be posting a “Cherries on Top” post on Thursdays.  I always remember my Mum or my siblings and I saying “Pretty please with a cherry on top” when we really wanted something or we wanted to ask for something really nicely.  That is what these thank you messages seem like to me.  And these cherries are in season all year round.

This was a reply to this HMAS Newcastle fellow being told his quilt was on its way

I am looking forward to the arrival of my Quilt. Some of my crew mates have already received theirs and they are very happy with them. I will definitely let you know when I receive mine. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to this cause, your efforts are greatly appreciated

and another one

Dear Jan-Maree,

                                  Thank-you so much for that news. I am really looking forward to receiving it. It is funny how excited you get about things like this when you are so far away from home. Some of my other crew members have received their quilts already and I have been quietly envious of them. Although it is unbelievably hot here in the Middle East there is nothing better than going into the Recreation space with the freezing Air conditioner and wrapping up in a quilt to watch some TV. (It’s the silly little things of home life that we miss the most). It is a great service that you provide and I can tell you first hand that it is really appreciated to know that there are people at home who are thinking about us. Keep up the great work. We are all thinking of you and your team.

Kindest Regards and Lots of Love

I don’t know about you but when I get an email like the one above it just makes me want to sew more!  What a nice bloke!
and now for some of our Cherries

I’m currently deployed at the Headquarters at Al Minhad…

I just wanted to write and let you know how much joy your quilts and laundry bags have brought to the base… People have been smiling for weeks when their quilt arrives and I know the laundry bags are a source of plenty of bragging rights!

I’m not sure how this all works, but I was told that if I was interested in potentially receiving a quilt to write to this email address and explain a little about myself and what I do here.
………………… deleted………………………………………………………. Basically my job is to provide as much assistance as I can to the personnel here and the troops on the ground.
I’m not sure exactly what I’d like in a quilt- I don’t have any real preferences and I’ve been really impressed with some the art works that my mates have received here. I don’t really have any favorite colors but at the moment its been nice to see some of the earthy reds, browns, and greens around that are so synonymous with the Afghans and their culture.
Please let me know if you need me to provide anymore details and Thanks again for all your wonderful work-it really makes a difference,
Good morning,
I have just arrived on deployment and have received information about the quilt and laundry bags you provide to Australian personnel. Although I have not yet been the recipient of your services, I understand the effect that they have on our people – brings some colour and personality into our somewhat ‘sterile’ living environment and also makes us feel that the job we are doing over here is appreciated back home.

Can I please request a quilt and laundry bag.

I am not too concerned on the design as anything made with a bit of thought would definitely be better than the bland white bedding currently on my bed. I’ll leave the rest to you and your people as you are much more creative than me!

Thank you so much for thinking about us over here and providing this service, it honestly does make a big difference.   
Thank you very much in advance.

Hi there.
I have only recently arrived over here and have seen some of the fantastic work you guys have been sending over – in a world of drab uniformity the colour and individualist cheer you introduce is fantastic.  VERY well received.
Would it be possible for you to send me a quilt and laundry bag?   I would love anything that is bright and distinctive.

Can you please pass on my thanks and encouragement to your group.  They are doing fantastic work which we love very much. 

Good afternoon Sue. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the lovely Tweety Bird laundry bag. I is coming in very handy! I understand that you also make quilts. Would it be possible to have a quilt made for me with owl patterned fabric, if you have any or in orange and black colouring? I, as well as many other soldier’s, sailor’s and airmen/women appreciate your hard work and loving heart. Thank you very much! 

and now perhaps my favourite email of the day 

To the lovely makers of Aussie hero quilts and laundry bags,

I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to the lovely ladies (assuming there are no gentlemen, which I shouldn’t do these days) for the wonderful laundry bags that myself and some of my colleagues were lucky enough to receive.

I know a lot of time and effort goes into making these items as my mum loved to sew and knit before becoming a business owner and full time work took over.
I would dearly like to become the proud owner of a hero quilt as I feel they are made with such love and are received with such appreciation. Absolutely nothing beats
receiving things from home, whether they are from family, friends or generous fellow aussies.

We also receive care packages from various departments/schools etc, these are also a joy to receive and are shared among our colleagues. It’s nice to know we are not forgotten whilst we are so far away from home.

A little about our deployment. 
Our rotation arrived in Afghanistan in early May and for the majority we are expected to stay until the closure of the much publicised multi national base Tarin Kot. 
We are expected to be home for Christmas and that’s all I ask really. Although I am prepared to stay until I have to.

The weather is hot, dry, very sandy and exceptionally dusty in Tarin Kot. I also had the pleasure of visiting Kandahar very recently for two days.
I couldn’t believe it, but it was even hotter there. The second day it reached 48 degrees. I’m so glad I was only passing through. 

The country side is very hilly (or should I say mountainous).
They are huge I haven’t seen anything of their size before. Very spectacular. 

Occasionally you see green, you then know there is a river running nearby. Where there is water there are generally houses running along it, the houses are flat roofed and are in a compound like structure. This I’ve only seen from the air, moving off base doesn’t happen for me. 

The accommodation here is good, we are in large buildings which we refer to as Bunnings buildings as they are massive like their sheds and green. I have a chuckle every time I compare them. 
The rooms are small, I share with two other ladies and we have a spare bed as well. We sleep in bunk beds, so we have two sets of bunks and I cupboard and shelf each. This leaves us enough floor space to get changed etc. I don’t think I’ve ever slept in a bunk bed, even as a child. I am the lucky one though, as I have the bottom bunk and no-one above me.

The shower facilities are quite good as well. We are however limited to two minute showers, due to the water availability and the ability of the sewage system to handle it. 

The food is great with large quantities and variety, including fresh fruit and vegetables. This will change though as we get closer to leaving and handing the base over to the Afghans.

I hope I haven’t rambled on too much and have given you a rough insight into life as I see it in Afghanistan.

Once again, I thank you for your gifts and your continued support to the Australian Defence Personnel.
Kind Regards, 

(NOTE – the photos are from files passed to me from an earlier source)

The following list of ladies have sent something off this week and if you have also, but do not appear on this list, please let me know.

Cath W
Christine C (WA)
Clyde Street Quilters
Diane F
Kiwi karen
Liz J
Margaret R
Melton Willows Quilting Group
Pilgrim Patchworkers

Valhalla Talking Threads

Please let me know if you are not on the list and should be.

Till next time……………..keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

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  1. Jeann of Melton

    I think 'With a Cherry on Top' is a good phrase to use.
    Every time I read the letters whether they are for appreciation or request I just want to sew, sew, sew!
    Fancy receiving so much praise for doing something we love. And I want them to know that they are being thought of!
    Reading the posts allows me to learn a lot about the conditions 'over there'. My life is surrounded by so much colour that I can't believe how bleak are the conditions.

  2. Janine C

    I love the cherries on top too. Those photos are wonderful to see, the landscape is so different to ours. We all see postcards and facebook photos and TV documentaries of landscapes around the world but not so much of the middle east. If our people are there helping out it would be good if we became familiar with the land.

  3. Sue Niven

    Another fabulous post Jan-Maree.


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