Sandra Wilson uses between 14 and 16 cups of flour on Wednesday scone mornings at Daffodil House. That’s a whole lot of scones.
“Enough scones for the residents, except the ones who can’t eat, and then I feed the gannets around the office next door,” she laughs.
Scone mornings are a tradition Sandra’s kept up for the fourteen years she has worked at Daffodil House. But it’s more than just the tea and scones.
“It can be confronting for many people to come to a place like this, to share their living space and often their stories, particularly at a difficult time. Scone mornings can often break the ice.
“It’s often the time when the residents first get to know one another, and then the next day they’ll be together, chatting over breakfast.”
Daffodil House is a home away from home for out-of-town Cancer
Society clients needing a place to stay while in Dunedin for appointments, or chemo and radiation treatment. It has eleven rooms, one with a queen sized bed, the others all twin share, and six with ensuites. Partners or care-givers are welcome too.
Sandra, and colleague Sue Latimer, oversee the smooth running of the house and the general occupancy of all eleven rooms. Inevitably, though, both are far more than just caretakers. Sandra has a background as a nurse, her years of experience valuable to the clients.
“No, we’re not here as nurses, but I suppose nursing experience is helpful to understand the impact cancer can have on someone. It’s about being able to keep a weather eye on things, head off issues. For example, if we see someone not drinking enough, or is just plain miserable, we can get in touch with the right medical people.”
So does she also need to be a counsellor?
“You have to know your boundaries. Often you just make the time to listen and time to care, but if it’s really serious you seek help with someone with the right skills to help.”
Overall, however, this is a job Sandra Wilson loves.
“I meet the most wonderful people, and often they come back just to say hello and show us how well they are. People are being cured and it’s fantastic. They call in, ask about so ‘n so, send Christmas cards.”
One of the things Sandra loves most is hearing about the connections residents make with others staying at the house.
“Two couples who met here when I first started have holidayed together every year for the twelve years since. They’ve become the best of friends.”
And it all started over a cuppa and a scone.
Sandra Wilson, Daffodil House Manager, makes scones for house guests every Wednesday morning.
Daffodil House in Dunedin is a home away from home for out-of-town Cancer Society clients.