I've never been a great one for asking for things...too quiet for my own good...but just lately I've decided to change this.
Example no. 1 - I've wanted to have hens for ages. Lack of space in the home garden, and concern over the cost of runs (I wanted something a decent size that gave them a generous space) to purchase put me off. I was mulling all this over earlier in the year and became aware that a neighbour who had always kept hens in their garden had sold them. What, I wondered, had they done with their very sturdy home-made hen houses? I wondered this to myself...then one day I happened to be chatting to him and thought "what have I got to lose?" So I asked...turns out he had chopped them up for firewood...but had parts and wood enough to build a new one. He got on with his work, then came back to me later, and offered to build me a hen-house/and or a run. Soon after this there was a change of plan ... he built me a new house....but said I could put it in a run in his garden, ready made 16 feet by 9 feet, and very secure. Plenty of room for the 4 hens I wanted. To cut the story short that's where my hens live now...there is even an old freezer in one of their sheds to keep my feed secure. A much better outcome than I could have dreamed of. In return I give them fresh eggs, and they get the pleasure of hens in the garden again.
Example no. 2 Last year I started using mulch on my beds (especially in the polytunnel) - I used mainly grass cuttings from my own garden, which I dried in the tunnel and then spread. Problem is that I don't produce enough. I have been wondering how to solve this. It crossed my mind to ask the guy who tends our local cemetery....but as usual I put off, thinking it might be creating more work for him in some way. Well, yesterday I had to ring him about something else...and I just asked him about it. It turns out that he takes trailer loads to be composted, but has to pay to dispose of it!! So he seems quite happy to bring some to my allotment and get rid of it for free....and he is bringing some today. Problem solved again.
So my advice is "Just ask" .... you never know it might work...and looking at it the other way round I'm always happy to get the chance to help someone out. I was reminded of this recently reading "Everyday sacred" by Sue Bender....who said that by asking for help you are giving people the chance to give which gives them pleasure.