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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

a friends' day in Leeds

First I go to my asylum seeking friend. She is incredibly busy cooking for a leaving party for one of the people who have helped her over the last year. She is blending a mix of beans, onions and tomatoes when I arrive, we laugh at how the blender is struggling, but how much quicker than a traditional pestle and mortar. She is so happy doing things to honour people who have helped her. Then minute fish bones to be removed from a very bony fish and plantain leaves to be chopped very small, I worry about her fingers so close to the sharp knife, I would never dare to chop like that.

In the middle of this activity a nun from her church calls with children's things that are about to be thrown out by another parishioner! My friend has a friend with a little girl, these are for her. I am most shocked at the box of Duplo bricks, at least £30 worth, surely they could have gone to a charity shop not landfill, but now a charity shop's loss is that little girl's gain.

The cooking continues, I am not allowed to help, so we chat about the food, my grandson having his plaster off and the party this afternoon. One low note is when we have a quick talk about her visit to a new solicitor, it will bring all the bad things back that she is trying to forget, the nightmares will start again. All because the charitable firm of solicitors she was with have gone bust, they and the government can argue about how and why this happened, the results for people like my friend are uniformly devastating.

We cheer ourselves up when, laughing, she presses some of the food on to me, I am to take it home and will have it for supper tonight. The fish dish and two portions of the bean dish. Yummy. How important sharing food is across all cultures.

Walking down to meet my other friend, the gadding one, I see an area of burnt out tarmac. There was little trouble in Leeds, but here some road bollards were burnt and a few cars mugged (so I learn later). I cannot condone the violence and thieving, but are not bankers' bonuses a form of theft? When I was young I went through the 'all property is theft' phase, now I am older and have some property ........................ but even now I do believe there should be a limit on how much any one person can earn or own, or at least a 99% tax rate above that limit.

My gadding friend and I have a lovely gad in the Lakeside Cafe in the park, and even mange a snack in between the chatting.

Home, and a Fair Trade group meeting in the evening, we are arranging a clothes show in September and need to sort out models, stalls selling things, refreshments etc. We have also decided to have a chocolate tasting and have a slightly (for us) heated debate about which varieties of chocolate to use.

I have to bike home on the footpath as I have forgotten my lights, however there are no pedestrians so I don't feel so bad.