Leeds started well on Sunday afternoon, a wine tasting in the garden of my gadding friend, some new friends as well. The talk ranged far and wide, Palestine, religion (several), FGM, travelling and of course the wine. Then some good food and of course more talking; as usual I was told off for talking too much and not taking the wine seriously. Everyone there, it seemed, made their own contribution to their own version of my small society.
Monday morning on the bus to visit my other Leeds friend, she was cooking again when I arrived, just for us two this week. As I had dreaded the visit to the solicitor had brought all the past (that she had done so well to forget) flooding back. I tried to talk seriously about how things might get better, that didn't work, it rarely does; so I turned to joking and tales of my grandsons. Soon we were both laughing whilst we ate, fried plantain and omelette; she can't forget so best to talk of other things altogether.
She told me about her weekend in the Lakes, she and other friends from WAST had stayed in a guest house that belongs to the Society of Friends, amazingly I had stayed there last summer when I was doing the Coast to Coast, as a paying guest. They had had a lovely time including a cruise on Lake Windermere, thank you to the Quakers.
I had done some notes to give to friends and colleagues about supportive letters (the new solicitor's idea), talking about that also cheered her up, so many things she does in the community (her small society). We walked down in the sun to Solace together, they do so much to help traumatised asylum seekers. Talk to staff and other people there, eat some lovely plums and get the bus home. (It is the year of the plum- our Mirabelle is fruiting like never before).
Today was Short Stop again, luckily just one couple as I had to make several calls before I found them some good hosts. It is the holidays and many of our wonderful hosts are away, it makes me realise how lucky most of us are to know where we will sleep tonight. Even when I have wondered on some of our holidays whether we will find a camp site or B & B, the bank cards in our pockets mean that when, as usually we do, we can prove that we can pay for it.