Follow by Email

Friday, 29 July 2011

more bad news

The only solicitor in the whole of Leeds doing legal aid immigration work cannot take on my friend; I suppose this was inevitable, he is very busy and her case is complex. This means finding a solicitor outside Leeds; with the need for her, and possibly some one to support her, having to travel to see them. Her previous solicitor was in Sheffield, a large charitable firm which has recently collapsed, more work and less money, the circle cannot be squared. In medieval Venice all lawyers had to do a fixed amount of pro bono work, but that was the good old days.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

another lunch in Leeds

Off to Leeds again to meet my friend; my other friend, the one I gad with, has gadded off to Flamingoland with her granddaughter. We buy plantain for lunch, I'm a bit worried as I really don't like banana, but fried plantain is nothing like banana and is delicious, we have it with omlette and another dish whose name I foolishly don't write down. Once again I eat too much, but at least my friend has a good meal, she tells me she really only eats when she has someone to eat with. Luckily a volunteer from another group is coming round this evening. I offer to help with the food preparation, but no she would do it for her mother, so she will do it for me; I am very moved as I know her mother is dead, we joke sometimes that I am her aunty, but this is different.

We look at more photos of my grandson, she is very concerned about the broken leg, I tell her that he is now so active on it that we have almost forgotten it!

She is finding the break from college difficult, too much time to think; so I am delighted to hear that she is going on a course about craft work for 2 weeks. If only she were allowed to work, she could make a contribution to society through taxes and feel so much better as well. Oh well, when the revolution comes, as we used to say when I was a student!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

who reads this blog

I know the number of page views from the stats, but it's nice to meet people who actually read it. A friend of my daughter's tells me that she enjoys my 'little' blog, I am touched and delighted. Then today, one of the National Park staff asks me about my other volunteering with short stop for LASSN. We have an interesting chat about this and again I am delighted, this time that two very different activities have in a small way come together. So thanks to those two people, if you're reading this you know who you are!

a day in the bracken

Back from Granny duty last night; the older one's 2nd birthday, a bit of nostalgia looking back over 2 years, thinking that this time 2 years forward he will be getting ready for 'big'school!

Spend an exhausting but satisfying day pulling Himalayan balsam out of first a bracken and gorse covered hillside, then out of what is Ravenscar's answer to wet jungle. The wild beasts were the maddening insects. However, looking back at where the bright pink was no more we all felt a task well done.

Left. In the jungle, another invasive plant about to bite the dust, caught before it seeds.

 Right. Himalayan balsam hung out to dry on the gorse bushes, for once the bracken is useful as it seems to be smothering some of the HB.    

Today we have been dependent on staff from both the National Park and the National Trust, a partnership of a statutory body, a charity and the volunteers. None of us would be of much use without the others.   

Thursday, 21 July 2011

best steps ever and a pink vacuum cleaner

Well the main news from yesterday's Coasties is that the coast was the only bit of North Yorkshire, it seems, where there was no rain, in fact it was so hot that we wished for a breeze! We carried on the task of clearing and repairing steps, I do think the steps on the Cleveland Way must be the best steps ever.

Today off to Leeds. We admired each other's photographs, my friend had been away to Horton in Ribblesdale with a local support group, although it had rained they had had a lot of fun and she had slept in the top bunk!

We had lunch together in her flat, lovely jolof rice and chicken.

I think I have mentioned before how she and her friends salvage discarded items, clean them up and then use them, well here is the latest.

A bright pink vacuum cleaner, and it works! Why was it thrown away?

She has also retrieved a bed that being thrown out and is storing it for a friend, how she got it in the lift I do not know.

May be Leeds City Council should pay them for reducing the amount of fly tipping on the streets, only joking.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

no referrals again and a lot of organising

A second week of no referrals, next week I am not doing short stop, but if there are none the following week I will ask round the other coordinators to see what they think.

I have used the time productively, well I think so anyway. Tidied the garden, lots of stuff flopping over because of the heavy rain, it makes a change from the drought earlier in the year. Done some ironing (boring I know). Mostly did not listen to the wretched Murdochs on TV, my blood pressure is quite good, let's keep it that way! Made some berry/currant crumbles to use up last year's crop as we have a bumper crop this year. Yum yum, luck us.

at the beach
Rang my asylum seeking friend in Leeds, despite the rain she had a good weekend away, so I am going to see her on Thursday. She borrowed a camera and I have my photos from the beach hut, so we can look at each others' pictures and hopefully have a laugh together. One of the nuns from her church is very kind and lends her a camera to record the happy times. I will miss some bracken bashing on the Moors on Thursday, but I think the visit is more important, hopefully enough other people will rescue the young trees from the bracken. This is another dilemma in my small society, we can't be in two places at once!

Rearranged which day to go surveying Himalayan Balsam near Helmsley, it is a very invasive species, which is stifling biodiversity wherever it grows; we will survey where it is worse, then the National Park will decide how to try to get rid of it. It is ironic that many invasive plant species (incomers) can completely wipe out local indigenous plants, whereas contrary to tabloid scare stories human incomers to these shores do not do so. People are obviously more sensitive to others' feelings than plants are! OK so this is very simplistic, but sometimes that is best.
common ragwort

  Due to its vigorous growth, Himalayan Balsam soon dominates and suffocates all other plants within its vicinity. On river banks this can cause major problems of erosion.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

some bad news and a wet walk

Had some bad news yesterday, a possible new solicitor for my friend in Leeds has said he is unable to take on her case. I don't yet know the reason why, is he too busy, quite likely as he works for a Law Centre, or does he think her case is hopeless? The country she comes from is supposed to have charities that could help her, but there is little evidence that this is so. She is away for the weekend with a local self help group, I must speak to her when she gets back.

Was on voluntary ranger duty today at Hutton le Hole, had a very wet walk round the village; woods, moors and field edges, only 2 other people walking! The sheep looked very miserable. I am glad I do the VR tasks, even when it is wet I get out into lovely places and the people I do meet, except a few thoughtless dog owners (a minority), are always pleased to see me! Why do this minority of dog owners think that their dogs, uniquely, will not disturb nesting birds or frighten sheep? Even when I warned one couple a few weeks ago about the risk of adders I was told that their dog was friendly and I shouldn't worry!!!!!!!!!!Adder

You may often see adders in spring when they bask in the sunshine on paths and walls. At this time of year they are sluggish and less able to move out of the way of people and dogs quickly. It is advisable to wear stout footwear and long socks or trousers and keep your dog from investigating basking adders. In the unlikely event of being bitten, it is wise to seek medical advice as adder bites can be quite serious. If a dog is bitten, it should be picked up and taken to a vet.


Monday, 11 July 2011

no referrals

Hmmmm, no referrals for short stop today, does this really mean that the UKBA has housed every single asylum seeker in Leeds, or does it mean that the cuts to the referring agencies has prevented  some homeless asylum seekers from finding a room for the night? I truly hope the former, but fear the latter.  Will email results back to lassn and close the paper work until tomorrow week.

Feeling smug

OK, let's be honest, sitting watching the small frogs skittering across the pond amongst the water lilies, reading the Guardian, drinking Fairtrade coffee and it's sunny, I do feel smug. More revelations about phone hacking, were The Met involved? the demise and disgrace of a paper that too often hated and lied about the things I care about, what's not to feel a bit smug about? Volunteering is about working with people that the tabloids denigrate as well as the soft easy stuff. We sixties baby boomers with our index linked pensions do have a lot to be grateful for, but without us where would my small society be?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

back again

Well the Granny days have been and gone, although here too we grandparents keep the wheels of society going; not me personally, I am the gilt on the gingerbread, but masses of grandparents keep parents in work by giving free child care. My grandson benefits from this, as do thousands of others.

I get the 'paper' work ready for short stop tomorrow, we file on line, to reduce the actual paper, but the Luddite in me still calls it paper work! How lucky that we self taught retirees can operate in this way. There have been fewer referrals this last week, is this because the main referring agency has had to close their face to face operation? The CUTS you see. The people that they referred before needing a bed for the night are presumably on someone's sofa or floor or worse?