RECENTLY, at our girls’ catch-up, the conversation turned to acts of kindness, and we all agreed that we should make more effort to do something out of the goodness of our heart.

“After all,” Christine suggested, “it’s a good feeling when you make someone’s day”.

I remembered the weekend I kindly offered to do my mum and dad’s washing after their machine had broken – and it was soon piled high.

“It’s no problem at all, mum,” I insisted as I bagged up the clothes and put them into my boot.

“No point in going to a laundry when I can do it.”

However, somehow, a single red sock had gotten into the wash with my dad’s best shirts and mum’s blouses and turned them pink!

“Oh no.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I pulled out the pink items.

“So, my efforts to help out quickly turned sour and I wished I’d just taken them to the laundry,” I admitted, as Fiona butted in and told us of her good deed.

“Why don’t you come to my house for lunch?” Fiona asked her brother John and his wife Susan.

“I’ll pick you up and you can have a few glasses of wine.”

You see, apparently John and Susan had been having a hard time of it lately, what with one thing and another, and Fiona decided she would make a bit of an effort and treat them both to her home cooking instead of their usual mediocre pub lunch.

We all nodded in agreement that this was indeed a kind thing to do for her family, especially as this was Fiona’s only day off in the week, and cleaning, shopping and cooking was hard work!

What the unsuspecting couple didn’t know was that Fiona,

being a bit of a DIY expert, had recently performed a home make-over and fixed, painted, replaced

and re-built every end of her kitchen/diner.

But ... Fiona’s act of kindness was somehow jinxed, because just as John and his wife finished their home-made soup, their chairs began to creek loudly.

Creek, creek.

“Don’t worry,” assured Fiona.

“It’s just because they’re new.”

John took a gulp of wine.

Creek, creek.

“I bought them especially for you coming, and only put them together last night,” she added.

Creek, creek.

Fiona was just about to serve her signature lasagne.

Suddenly, John and Susan simultaneously crashed to the floor causing napkins, cutlery and garlic bread to fly in all directions.

“Argh,” they yelped in unison.

Later, on inspection, Fiona’s efforts at DIY had obviously let her down (and John and Susan, literally!), as she picked up the legs of her new kitchen chairs.

Fiona’s houseguests were in agony and still moaning and groaning as they eased themselves into her car to go home.

“Oh well!” I tried to make light of Fiona’s act of kindness.

“You certainly made their day!”

Next it was Jackie’s turn to reveal her act of kindness.

Jackie couldn’t help but notice a poor-looking, dishevelled man about 60 years old, sitting on a wall at the entrance to Tesco, and immediately felt sorry for him.

However, although she felt embarrassed at the very thought of approaching the stranger, she said to herself: “No Jackie, get over your childish embarrassment and be kind to the pour soul!”

So, after scurrying up and down the aisles grabbing bits and pieces, she headed out of the superstore.

Smiling nervously at the unkempt character, Jackie sat on the wall next to him, rummaged in her bag for life and pulled out a couple of items.

“Here you go.”

She gingerly offered him a bottle of orange juice. Reluctantly, the scruffy man took the juice from saint Jackie and smiled back.

Feeling good about herself, she then held out a packet of sandwiches.

“Here you go.”

Hesitating again, the scruffy man half-heartedly took the sandwiches.

According to Jackie, the awkward silence which followed meant that she felt obliged to say something.

“Em... I hope you like the sandwiches, by the way.”

No reply.

“I em, just em, bought cheese and ham em, because most people like cheese and ham,” Jackie nervously chattered.

“Em... well, yes.” Finally, a reply.

“You can’t go wrong with cheese and ham.

“But really,” he insisted, “you shouldn’t have.”

“Don’t be daft,” Jackie replied, pleased that she had done her good deed for the day.

“Can I get you anything else?”

“Em... no, hen.”

The dishevelled character pointed to the entrance to Tesco.

“My wife is in there doing a big shop and should be out any minute,” he grinned.

“But thanks anyway.”

Only then did the penny drop that Jackie’s dishevelled stranger was merely sitting on the wall minding his own business whilst his wife was in the superstore doing their weekly shop!

“Make someone’s day!” Jackie was still humiliated.

“Never again.”