On any given Thursday, prior to COVID becoming a thing and before lockdowns were even heard of, you would find Helen Burnham sitting amongst the bustle of Olive Way filing, massaging, and carefully painting the nails of the ladies who dropped in to Olive Way. This little gift to the ladies became so popular that many of them would come up to me the day before asking if Helen would be in on Thursday and asking to be booked in for a manicure. We ended up having to start a kind of unofficial booking system. For Helen this was a chance to take unhurried time with the ladies and chat quietly and attentively. This would allow for all sorts of conversation to emerge. In fact it was through this time that Helen would hear things that wouldn’t otherwise reach my own ears, and then sensitively (and confidentially) relay that information to me, and for that I was really grateful.

Manicures are not just a something to make people look good, it is a great way to connect with the Olive Way ladies. The hustle and bustle of the kitchen was never something that Helen enjoyed so much as the slow and deliberate opportunity to sit, to chat intimately, and hear their stories over a manicure. It was an act of generosity, love, and simple pampering that many would not otherwise have the opportunity to do, a gentle touch. Similarly it has been delightful to see the ways that many of the ladies would connect with each other whilst waiting, gathered around the tables.

Since COVID we have not been able to offer this kind of time with the ladies, but as things slowly open up we now have a chance to recommence, to pick up where we left off, as it were.

Recently I found our bag of tricks, stowed safely in the Olive Way area. Looking through them later it seems that most of the polishes and varnishes have gone bad whilst sitting unopened and idle for two years. We would love to be able to resume this simple act of love in the coming weeks. If you have some nail polishes or varnishes that are in good condition that you would like to donate please see Helen. Similarly if you would like to purchase some polishes or anything else that can be used to help Helen in offering this gift to the ladies (eg. Base coat, top coat, remover, files, cotton wool balls), these can be donated to Helen on Sundays or left anonymously in the Olive Way in the box provided. You can also make a donation via the BUC bank account (reference OW manicure).  Thanks for your support.

Peter Blair,
Olive Way Pastor