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Monday, 30 May 2011

birds, badgers and a blot on the landscape?

Did a volunteer ranger patrol yesterday in the parish of Staintondale. The birds were swallows and swifts, screaming and whirling in the gale over the cliffs whilst I walked a section of the Cleveland Way. For more details see:-

I didn't see any badgers, but some huge setts on the outskirts of Ravenscar. I belong to the Badger Trust, so it's good to see evidence of a local badger population. 

The blot on the landscape, well views differ, this is it. It's a WW2 coastguard lookout, now an Ancient Monument. The board and seat next to it, celebrate amongst other things early radar and the North Sea Trail,

The board is a curious mixture of WW2 history and talk of the common heritage of the countries round the North Sea, reminds me of the song by either Dylan or Baez, 'we fought the Germans and now they're our friends'; not to mention all the other invaders (who then settled here) from the North Sea. Perhaps one day we'll have a trail that celebrates all the other settlers to this country, a world wide trail, I can dream. My mother's family, probably of Viking heritage; my father's, they came here over 80 years ago from West Bengal.

A section of the board

The seat, with my best friends, my walking poles.

Time for a snack above Hayburn Wyke
At Hayburn Wyke the sun came out, I turned and walked back on field paths and the old railway line, the story of that is for another day.

The moral of today's blog, walking on your own gives you chance to think, this is usually good. So was the coffee and lemon drizzle cake at the Tea Rooms in Ravenscar.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

today's moral

What I forgot to add to 'my friend in Leeds' is that behind my volunteering are the paid people, giving me support, advice and training so that I can do my bit with confidence.

So the moral is volunteers can't operate alone.

my friend in Leeds

A year ago LASSN asked me to befriend a lady in Leeds, I see her about once in 3 weeks and we chat on the phone in between, she has a busy life now at college and her church, but I think I am different, easier than college anyway! Things were not always like that, we have had some difficult times. Now though we laugh over the antics of my grandsons and I admonish her for not having breakfast. One of the things I most admire her for is the way she and her friends find 'stuff' that has been thrown out, clean it and repair and then use; a bag for her books, 2 chairs in her flat and her friend has a microwave, all found within walking distance of their homes. Today I admire a new hair style and I bring her up to date on my grandsons and when I will be seeing them next.


Yesterday, at Hayburn Wyke, path making and path clearing, I know my limitations when it comes to making, so opt for clearing. A colleague and I cut back along a network of paths in these lovely woods, meet the others for lunch and catch up on people's lives whilst we eat. About a dozen volunteers, 2 paid staff and back in the office someone has emailed us where to go and will sort out our travel expenses, someone else has checked the tools and made sure we have enough of everything. Several walkers thank us for what we have done. At the end of day I feel fitter, the path makers have done an amazing job and the paths are now easier to walk along.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

what is my small society?

My small society is an attempt to show what I do, as a volunteer, in the area that I live in. I will admit it is being written partly in response to the everchanging concept of THE BIG SOCIETY, I do not know what that is, does any one?
All I know is that it is easy for me to volunteer, I am retired, physically fit, fairly computer literate, have good public transport links and my bus pass, a car and enough spare money to pay for petrol before I am reimbursed. I am sure I could volunteer without any or all of these things, but I know I would find it much harder.
I also know that my main volunteering, on the North Yorkshire Moors and with a charity helping asylum seekers can only happen because both those very different organisations have paid staff and provide me with training (free) and back up when I need it.
So the moral of the first lesson is that volunteers need paid people behind them.