Making A Difference Archives

A True Story of a Hoarder with a Happy Ending

Prison of Hoarding

Prison of Hoarding

Hoarding is an extremely serious problem and can eventually make the Hoarder reclusive, lonely and often very sick.

If you have ever seen the home of a Hoarder, you soon realize that all the clutter did not appear over a few weeks or months, but more than likely over a period of many years.

If you are going to be able to help a Hoarder get their home ‘back’, then you will have to have plenty of compassion and patience.

I am going to tell you the True story of a Hoarder that got me really interested in this subject after watching a TV program. I will call him ‘Peter’ for this article and he is around 50 years old which is the average age for a Hoarder.

The program was taking place in a really pretty rural village in England. The village residents were mainly a wealthy group and took pride in their homes and gardens. They were entering a competition for the prettiest village in England. But, they had a major problem.

There was one home that did not come up to their standards. Unfortunately, these residents were not a very compassionate group and the house that Peter owned was an embarrassment for them and would also mean that they could not win the competition.

Meet Peter, Compulsive Hoarder

Peter was a Hoarder and not just inside his home, but also in his very large garden. There were huge piles of rubbish all over the garden and I mean huge, almost spilling into the road. So, did these residents try to help Peter? No, their agreed committee answer was to put into a kitty and buy some cheap high fencing to screen off Peter’s garden to the competition judges. This was duly done and Peter became even more of a prisoner in his own home as he just did not realize what he had created.

Now we come to ‘Steve’. He also lived in this pretty village but was not the normal village type. He had moved there from East London and was a very down to earth type guy. He was a builder and Peter’s way of life concerned him for all the right reasons! He started to visit Peter and tried to get Peter to talk to him. Of course, Peter had been ignored by the villagers for many years and didn’t know how to cope with Steve at first, but slowly he started to trust him.

Steve couldn’t even see into the house at the front door as it was literally blocked with rubbish. Piles of newspapers as far as the eye could see! Peter actually had to clamber over a 4 foot wall of paper to make his ways into his home. Inside, it got worse. He had a tunnel through his home to get into a tiny clearing in the middle where he had a chair, a tiny table and unbelievably a small gas camper stove. Here, he slept and ate. He was living on boiled eggs and bread every day.

The villagers had called the fire department to ask them to visit Peter as they were realistically concerned about the house catching fire, which was true. Three firemen arrived and had to follow Peter on his crawl to his living space. They were totally shocked and tried to explain to Peter what a huge fire hazard he had with all the rubbish, but they were finding it extremely hard to comprehend what they had seen. Steve was around on this day and knew he had to do something to help Peter.

He knew it was going to take a huge amount of patience but he felt that Peter wanted to change but didn’t know how. He learned from Peter that his Father had been very domineering and his mother very doting. His father died first and then when his mother died, he was left in the family home on his own. He was obviously very depressed after the death of his parents and his home became cluttered.

Then he started thinking of our society as a ‘throw away’ society and he couldn’t bear it. Every time he left his home, he would come back with all sorts of things he had found on his trip. An empty bag, a piece of wood, an article of clothing, in fact, anything that was laying around. As his house filled up with all this rubbish, it over flowed into the garden.

How Steve Helped Peter To Stop Hoarding

Steve spent hours just talking to Peter and realized he was a very intelligent, educated and interesting man. Although, looking at him, he looked more like a tramp in old clothes and unwashed. He started to suggest to Peter that maybe he could help him clear some of the rubbish. They agreed that the garden was a good place to start. Steve found a few more locals that were willing to help, needless to say, not the committee members.

He had to initially bargain with Peter that if he cleared some of the rubbish, Peter could choose something to keep. For example, Peter wanted to keep the frame of an old umbrella as he was convinced it could be used some day. Tons of rubbish were moved from the huge garden and unbelievably 6 vintage cars were found underneath.

The people helping Steve also realized that Peter was an interesting guy, not the idiot they had been told about and enjoyed sitting in his newly cleared garden for tea and a chat.

Over the next few months, Steve helped Peter to reclaim his home and make it habitable once again. Peter started to eat properly and take a pride in his appearance now he had new friends.

This story had a happy ending due to the compassion and patience of Steve, a remarkable man.

Hoarding is hard for most of us to comprehend, even though we are all guilty of a little cluttering once in a while. But you would be surprised how many Hoarders are out there and need help. If you know anyone with this problem, then be kind, gentle and take things slowly. I promise they will eventually be so grateful for your friendship and your patience.


Jo Tempest.

Giving Makes You Feel Good Inside



As you know, my blog is full of inspiring people all around the world who have given back to their community or further, and this has got me thinking a lot more about giving. 

I have a very dear friend who left her own country a few years ago to go and live in a foreign speaking country. She did this to go and support two orphaned boys who were literally starving to death and has been there ever since, still supporting them.

I am sure you all agree that this was an extremely compassionate thing to do. 

We do not all have to make such enormous gestures to help other people, especially those much closer to home. Putting money in a charity box or making a regular donation to your favourite charity is highly commendable.

But, could you make even a small difference to the life of a neighbour, close friend or relative? Think about it and the people you know. Is there someone you know who is sick, an invalid, or just so busy and stressed out? 

  • Do their dogs need walking regularly because they cannot leave their home at the moment or time is just too precious?
  • Is there someone you know who has to use public transport every day to get to work and you happen to go the same way every day?
  • Do you know someone who has children and could benefit from the odd babysitting to give them a break?
  • If you are a painter and decorator, do you know someone who would love a couple of their rooms brightened up with a coat of new paint, but they are unable to do this themselves or afford to pay a professional?
  • What about a few odd hours of gardening for a mum on her own or an elderly neighbour?
  • I am sure you go shopping at least a couple of times a week, is there someone you know who doesn’t have a car that you could either do their shopping for them or take them with you?
  • Do you love cooking and there is someone close by who would benefit from some home-baked food?
  • Do you have lots of fruit and vegetables growing in your garden, much more than you need? If so, bag it up and give it away to neighbours, or as I use to do when I was living in England, leave it by your gate with a note saying “Help Yourself”. 

These are just a few ideas as to how you could make someone very happy with only a little giving of your time. I know this all may sound a little ‘surreal’ to some of my readers, but as a ‘giver’, I really do get a warm feeling in helping others. And it comes back to you in different ways.

I am often given home baked cakes or other goodies (it seems they realise I am not a great fan of cooking and would rather be doing something else with my time), as well as lots of other help over the very difficult last few years of my life. I am eternally grateful for all the help I have received in so many different ways and I enjoy giving in my way, to show that gratitude. 

I also believe that many of you out there have a giving nature but probably just haven’t thought about the people around you that would love some help in their lives.

The world has become such a more selfish and self-centered place and we all have to do our bit to try and change it, including teaching our children how good it feels to give. They will be the next generation who have to improve our world!

If we all did a daily task for someone else, even if it is giving them a lift in our car, it is a great start.


Jo Tempest.

Selimiye Sale 3 Girls

Selimiye Sale 3 Girls

As you all know, we collect money throughout the year to be able to neuter the street cats and dogs in my village, with donations.

But this year, we decided to try something a little different. We held a table-top sale on market day and it went really well.

For a few weeks before, we collected up bric-a-brac as we all know one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Also, lots of ladies throughout the village baked cakes and made jams and marmalade for the stall.

On Wednesday morning, armed with all our goodies, we set up tables, arranged everything to look inviting and awaited our customers. Soon, they were arriving and I was really pleased to see lots of our local Turkish neighbours giving their support to this worthy cause.

By just after lunch time, there was hardly anything left to sell and many satisfied customers. We will definitely do another couple of these sales before the end of the year as we raised lots of money and it was really fun.

It gave me a chance to catch up with lots of old friends and to make some new ones, as I am so busy working on boats that I am not around too much at the moment. I so enjoy seeing a village community working together to improve the lives of all our four legged friends! 

Jo Tempest

Ollie Dog

Ollie Dog

street cats

street cats

Soweto Strings – A Gift For Gifted Children

Soweto Strings

Soweto Strings Order DVD

Soweto Strings - Order DVD

Today, I watched this DVD and it was truly wonderful, and felt I just had to share it with you all.   A friend of mine has just come back after spending time on Tilos, a Greek Island. He met up with a friend he hasn’t seen for many years. Her name is Rosemary Nalden, a British viola player, now working with young people from the townships in Soweto, an urban area of  Johnannesburg, South Africa.

She set up the Buskaid Project as a registered charitable trust to give the children the chance to learn classical string instruments virtually free of charge. They have performed concerts around the world to standing ovations.  This DVD features the Paris concert, her work with the children, and much, much more.

Rosemary is a very special lady, dedicating her life to these children, but I can also see the great rewards she is getting when these children are playing. They love it, and so many of them are gifted. On one of the interviews, there was a young teenage boy who said,”I do not feel I am different to other people, I just want something different for me.” And he achieves that big time!!

Obviously donations are the only way this project can keep going, so go and buy this DVD. You will not regret it, I promise! You will hear Mozart, Grieg, Bartok, vocals, South African traditional music, and much more. If I got this in my Christmas stocking, I would be thrilled!!

I have not been moved so much for a long time and it gives us hope for a much better future when we are nurturing the youth of today with some hope of their own.

Soweto Strings……a film by Mark Kidel…..featuring The Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble.

Order the Soweto Strings DVD here

and help Rosemary help these amazing children.

Find out more about Buskaid Here.

Watch Here!



Jo Tempest.

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