Selfless Sundays

in Self Improvement2 years ago (edited)

So there's this thing I want to try and do...

Selfless Sundays

And that's just to have one day each week where I do something selfless and local.

Lend a hand, help out, contribute, give back, pay it forward, volunteer; perform good works, kind deeds, acts of enlightened Self-interest

You know, that sort of thing...

I got the idea while walking past a broken monument a couple weeks back, realising then and there that I could do something about it and deciding also that I wanted to.

I'll expand on that later.

More recently, I was drinking coffee at the General Store when the owner says:

Hey listen, if you're after any hardwood for your fire, or timber for the restoration, there's a big pile out the old Washpool Hall that needs to go


While this idea was rolling around in my head, gathering momentum, I thought I'd call it Selfless Mondays.

But then, I realised something. An epiphany! Come on, that name sucks. Especially with that gorgeous alliteration sitting right there, just one day away. It simply sounds nice to say. Rolls off the tongue...


Perhaps I could even make a new Hive community, if other people wanted to join in posting their own Selfless Sunday stories. Maybe. For now, I'll concentrate on finding opportunities and writing about them consistently. Besides, there's already thousands of beautifully selfless people interacting on this chain, sharing their experiences in other communities. Is there any need for another one? Probably not for now, but who knows what will be, in time...

As for the deeds themselves, the only criteria is that they're helpful and unconditional — with no expectation of praise, payment or any reward, and no obligation put upon the receiver to return the favour. Totally selfless; no reciprocity.

So, I got some contact details for someone connected with the hall, gave them a call and organised a time when I could get out there.

That time rolls around a few days later. I start up the old ute and make my way out of town. Washpool Hall is only 10 minutes drive, up this dirt road I've travelled many times before — I'm sure of it.

Flat tyre

Well, I've barely left the driveway when I notice something's wrong. I stop the car, get out and take a look around. Right! Flat tyre. It's hard to see in the photo above, but that one is totally deflated. Fortunately, I wasn't. At least it's straightforward enough to fix, at least for now. Bit of a story but I haven't driven the ute for a couple of months. The rear passenger tyre has a slow leak and I had completely forgotten about it. It's a very slow leak, so slow that the tyre holds air for weeks once pumped. They're tubeless so I'm not going to worry about repairing it as all four tyres are due for replacement in the coming months. Plus, I'm not using the vehicle all that often these days, so it's lower on the priority list.

Okay, time to get some air in this rubber donut...

More backstory: I've moved to this town a year ago and my house is not connected to the electricity grid. I intend to keep it that way as I restore the building but that presents some challenges here and there. I do have one massive air compressor that belonged to the old man, but I don't have enough power to actually run it, at this point. My solar/battery setup can do 1000W peak output and my generator 1800W. The old beast of an electric motor from the 90s that powers the compressor doesn't even turn.

(Actually, scratch that. I've just had a look at the information plate, which states 1.5kW (1500W) so maybe I actually can run it with my generator? I know for certain that I tried it from the battery. One day I'll have to test it with the generator...)

Plus, I also have a smaller air compressor on lend from the owner of the General Store which I've run with the generator. I've been using it to clear the work area of rust dust around an iron post I'm grinding clean to repaint. Unfortunately, I did not also borrow a tyre valve nozzle with that! Just the spray nozzle.

I could have walked back to the General Store, asked the owner for the tyre valve nozzle, came back, started up the generator, filled the borrowed compressor with air, carried it over to the ute, emptied the receiver into the tyre and repeated that process again to completely fill it, but that ultimately seemed like more effort than another available option: a bicycle pump.

Maybe I'm just a stubborn idiot, but that's what I did. Found it with the rest of my bike stuff, grabbed a milk crate to sit on, and got to work. Only took about half an hour to get the tyre up to 30psi, all said and done. And it was such a beautifully clear and sunny morning I didn't mind at all just sitting out there enjoying it. Was nice.

And then, with that sorted, I could go.

So off I went, up this dirt road where I assumed the hall was located.

20 minutes later I'm pulled over again. Not a tyre issue this time, thankfully. I hadn't found the hall. I swear it was up this way... Apparently not.

No luck finding directions online, either. Washpool Hall? No results found...

Okay, I give my hall contact a ring. They'd messaged me earlier, letting me know they were there, working on the place before it got too hot later in the day. No answer. Voicemail. Oh well! I started driving back.

Couple minutes later, they'really calling. Turns out I was wrong. For whatever reason I'd decided in my brain this hall was somewhere it wasn't. Strange that. I've driven past it many times. I've seen pictures in the local newsletter, read stories about the restoration work and thought: Oh yes, I've seen that place before, on my travels.

But for whatever reason, the location was a bit off in my mind's eye. No big deal, I was only about 5 minutes away. Turns out the place is really on the bitumen road leading to the next town north, not on the dirt road running more-or-less parallel to that, but further east — which is where I was.

Now that I had the physical reality of the hall squared away, I could actually get there. And a few minutes later, I arrived. As I pulled in, someone was mowing the long grass around the hall with a brushcutter.

I waited till they were done, enjoying the sunshine, checking the place out a bit. The motor stopped and a friendly voice called out:


The friendly voice belonged to Anne. I introduced myself. She showed me around and spoke about the current situation and her personal connection to the Washpool Hall. There's a committee, currently responsible for the restoration and caretaking of the grounds, who'd applied for and received a grant. Due to changing circumstances and a local family leaving, the committee membership had dwindled down to just Anne, plus a couple of volunteers who would rather not occupy official positions. The grant money had been used to fund the complete demolition and reconstruction of a lean-to extension at the back of the hall containing the kitchen.

The original section was built in 1913 as a school. The South Australian Government bought the block of land back in the day, presumably from a pastoral settler, but it was the community itself who came together to fully fund and build the school. Now in 2022, the site is owned by the local council. There's a set of tennis courts to one side, still in use by the local club, and a toilet block out the back. The location served as a stop for cattle drovers too, who would pen their livestock overnight by the creek across the road and camp nearby. There was once a considerable population of families farming the surrounding land, large enough to field a Washpool cricket team with it's own pitch close to the hall. Alas, both the team and the pitch have since been lost to time.

The current situation is that there's a big pile of mostly broken up building materials leftover from the demolition of the old lean-to. The local council was supposed to come and take all that rubbish away in August, but now it's November. So yeah. The local family I mentioned earlier — the one moving away — they're having their farewell at the Washpool Hall in less than a week. So as you can guess, the pressure's on to get the place cleaned up and ready for the event.

Pile of building materials from a demolition

And so, that's how I can help today — by loading up my ute as much as possible and taking it away. Anne explained that her partner Trev was on his way here now with his ute, so he could load all the metal from the pile to take to a scrap merchant in the next town over. That way, the few dollars received in exchange could go back into the hall fund.

Well alright, no problem. While I'm picking through the pile salvaging timber and firewood, I'll sort any metal into another pile and help Trev load that up when he gets here as well! Happy to help.

And so I spent a couple of hours there doing that. Got a decent load piled up. It was lovely being outside, under the warm sun and clear skies. Trev got there after a little while and introduced himself. I gave him a hand. We couldn't quite fit everything on, but in the end it was a decent load of scrap.

Ute with pile of timber and firewood, Washpool Hall in background

That's my ute there, piled up with wood. The Washpool Hall in the background, with the newly constructed lean-to on the righthand side of the building.

An orange ladybird decided to pay me a visit while a tied down the load, landing right on the ratchet tiedown I was holding. Magic.

Ladybird on ratchet tiedown

Ladybird on ratchet tiedown

Ladybird on ratchet tiedown

Ladybird on ratchet tiedown

By this point, Trev had said goodbye and left with the metal and Anne had just come over to say she was heading off as well. It was getting to the hottest part of the day now and the air was developing a bit of a bite. Time to make a move myself.

Slightly smaller pile of building materials from a demolition

We'd gotten the pile down slightly, but there was still a fair bit there. Talking to Anne, I could hear she was feeling stressed about the whole thing. This meant so much to her and it seemed like the local council had let her down. Maybe they'd forgotten? Who knows. Things happen, people get busy, distracted and then before you know it months go by. Can relate. But time was running out.

So I offered to come back the next morning and take what remained to the local tip. It's only open two days a week, but fortunately tomorrow was one of those days. She was very grateful and offered to call ahead and have the disposal fee waived. I assume as the council hadn't followed through with their promise, arguably the least they could do is to accept the refuse gratis. Sounds fair to me.

And that was that, Anne thanked me profusely for the help and said she'd be in touch with the council, we said our goodbyes and she left. I finished tying down my haul of wood. Ladybird flew away.

Old rainwater tank stand

I figured I'd try and get all the rubbish in one load tomorrow to the tip, then come back and load up what remained of the metal. There was this old rainwater tank stand that needed the concrete removed, so I started making a list of tools I'd need for the morning.

List of tools

There was also this old bathtub that was staying. It was to be filled with ice and used for keeping drinks cold at the weekend farewell.

Old bathtub and more rubbish

Before I left I decided I'd drag it out of the way and underneath a nearby tree. Seemed like a good spot for the esky. Tell you what, it was pretty heavy!

Old bathtub under tree

With that job done I was ready to go and unload the wood back at home.
Below is a before and after comparison of the pile.

Before and after shot of the pile of building material from the demolition

And here's how the place looked as I left:

Washpool Hall grounds

A bit tidier than when I got there, but there's still more work to be done!

Washpool Hall grounds

The two piles of wood are for the weekend's bonfire.

A little while later, when I was back at home, Anne called. She had good news: someone from the local council had just been in touch to say they'd be there before the weekend, with a skid steer bobcat and truck, to clean up the remaining rubbish and take it away. How's that? Excellent! They'd come through in the end.

So yeah, I didn't need to go back out there after all. Which is cool, I've always got plenty of things to do — like write Hive articles! I'm just glad it was being sorted out. Now Anne could relax and enjoy the rest of the week leading up to the farewell.

And so that's the story of my very first Selfless Sunday

Well, all things considered, it wasn't completely selfless. I gained some firewood for next winter and salvaged some building timber, which will come in handy for my own Country Matters restoration. I gained.

Plus, I'm talking about it right here! Drawing attention to myself. That's not very selfless, is it? Telling the world. Might as well yell it from the rooftops. Look at me! Look what I did! Aren't I just the best person?!

Well, the true selflessness of my work is up for debate.

What do you think?

Now this brings me to the next one, which involves that memorial I mentioned at the top. But tell you what, that'll have to wait till my next post, because my laptop is nearly flat and I've run out of battery power until the sun is out tomorrow morning. Plus it's starting to rain, so I'm going to take some time and enjoy the sound of raindrops on the tin roof.

Until next time, look after yourself!


That's a good idea in regard to Selfless Sundays! I love ideas that help others like that. :)
Also I enjoyed your story about cleaning up that area and seeing the ladybug!
In regard to the part about talking about the good you did, I think there's multiple ways to look at it, sometimes it is better to not say anything, but other times I think it can be even better to talk about it because then you might inspire others to help even more too and create a ripple chain effect!
It inspired me to try to be more helpful as well, so thank you for sharing! :) <3

Well thank you, that's very encouraging! Glad you enjoyed it.

And yeah, really a good point on talking about good deeds. Best not to overthink it. Starts to become quite recursive very quickly.

That's a great way to spend a weekend :) ... I hope they get the restoration done, it sounds like it was a special place!


Indeed it was great weekend! Restoration is complete at this stage, but there's more to come. Anne's big vision is for it to become a rest stop and campground for travellers. All in time!

I believe the farewell went ahead without issue, after final cleanup from the council. Haven't heard otherwise... No news is good news. Definitely a special place for sure, people have a lot of personal history connected with it.

A selfless Sunday indeed 🙏 Keep up the good work 👍

Thank you very much! I will