My daughter is going to Romania soon to help in an orphanage for a few weeks, and I have started knitting things for her to take with her. Mittens (which are quicker to make than gloves and more practical for small children), hats, scarves and little knitted toys. The toys will be useful straightaway, the warm weather gear will come in useful when winter comes around again. A couple of years ago, she went to the Dominican Republic to spend a few weeks helping at a home for children with HIV and she took a huge suitcase full of clothes, toys etc, and in fact ended up leaving most of her own clothes, towels, toiletries etc for the children and staff at the home. I expect the same thing will happen in Romania but we can make sure this time to pack her suitcase to the gills with extra things like bars of soap, tubes of toothpaste, crayons, etc.
My mum had a second cataract operation a few days ago, which thankfully went well (better than her first op which had some minor complications and left her in pain for quite a time). I'm going to spend a few days with her, to do some shopping, vacuuming, general housework etc. I'll also get to see my sister - we talk on the phone all the time, but only see each other a few times a year as I live in Essex and mum and my younger sister both live in Bristol (which is where I'm originally from). The problem with a journey from one side of the country to another is that there really isn't efficient public transport available - it would take three times as long to make the journey on the train or by bus and it would cost three times more than the cost of petrol. I really try hard to use my car as little as possible - I cycle to work every day, though when I have to go to meetings around Essex I have to use my car. About a year ago, when my car was off the road for a couple of weeks, I tried using public transport to travel around the county but it was not a success. For example, the twenty or so miles between Canvey Island and Chelmsford turned into a major obstacle course. The journey took nearly three hours as the bus times didn't connect with the train times (there is now a regular bus service so it is not so difficult). To drive there and back takes much less time! The one real advantage of trains and buses over driving is the amount of knitting you can get done (or reading, or doing crosswords, or whatever passes the time best)!