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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

on the beach in the sun with a litter picker

Not rhododendron pulling as I had thought, but  litter picking on a beautiful little stony beach at Hayburn Wyke for the National Trust, Coasties works for the NT on their land in the National Park once a month. It was very hot and, incredibly for this bit of the coast, only a very light breeze. I am all for the National Trust at present, they are helping to lead the fight against the latest awful planning ideas from the Government.

Much of the litter probably comes from the sea, thrown overboard from boats or in the case of cotton wool buds from sewage discharges, the germs may be destroyed but the plastic of the bud lingers on, please put yours in a bin! There is some however which has been left by people picnicking on the beach, a stack of empty yogurt cartons for example. Oh dear, why can't people take it home! This beach and marine litter is not just unsightly but a real danger to all marine life, one colleague told me how she had seen the contents of a dead young porpoise's stomach, all plastic bits.
at the end of the litter pick

However the depression of the stuff we were picking up was easily balanced out by the beauty of the bay and the cliffs and the usual cheery company of the other Coasties. Some people were pulling out rhododendron and others were cutting back the bracken and long grass to make the path clearer and drier, very necessary where there are stone steps.

Over lunch we talked about the Alan Ayckbourn play I had seen last night and a couple of walkers passing by asked for details of the theatre in Scarborough where it was on, they were on holiday and thought a theatre trip would finish off their week really well.

on the beach
the view from the path

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

call ourselves a civilised society or the kindness of strangers

Short Stop today and at 3.30 the phone rang, a lovely man from the Refugee Council wondered if I could place a lady and her children, aged 5 and 6. They had been sent to Leeds from London by the relevant Government agency to make a claim and tomorrow, maybe, they would be deemed vulnerable and given some accomodation (it will be in a hard to let high rise flat). Surely the most bigotted must see that whatever you are escaping from must be really bad if you also have 2 small children with you. So we come to the kindness of strangers; of course they would take them in, when I said that there might be a need for a plastic sheet (the hosts are young people without children) that could also be arranged. I cried when I thought of what that mother and her children must be going through.

In between that call and others I gardened in the sun, cutting grass, weeding and clearing the pond of detritus. Wondering as I did so how one of the richest societies in the world could be like this. Only yesterday I was reading about the hundreds of thousands of refugees that Kenya has taken in from Somalia.

Tomorrow I will be pulling out rhodedendron on the coast, I can imagine who I would like to be pulling out!

Monday, 26 September 2011

lots of Highland cattle and some irritating cyclists

Off to be a Voluntary Ranger yesterday, the forecast had confidently promised sun, but it drizzled most of the morning and rained in the afternoon. However my new breathing waterproof breathed and kept out the rain.

A large herd of golden brown Highland cattle on Levisham Bottoms gazing at me through their fringes. Several walkers admiring them, but from a sensible distance as there were a couple of youngish ones.

Then the irritating cyclists, at huge speed down a steep footpath! I did not dare speak to them as they might have fallen off and then who would have been blamed? Even more irritating as there was a very clear sign at the top showing the bridleway quite clearly another way. Why do they do it? In Norton and Malton I ride my bike on the road, but more and more cyclists are riding on the pavement, I do my grumpy old lady bit and get in their way.

However I then had a lovely chat with a couple from the Peak District who thought that £2 for the car park was good value. Even in the drizzle the autumn colours in the valleys looking lovely. Wandered back through the Hole of Horcum to a late lunch in the car park.

After that a short walk down the quaintly named Old Wives Way and a fight against a very strong wind for the last mile back.

A wobbly stile, a missing 'dogs on leads' sign (I suspect removed by an irresponsible dog owner) and a broken finger post to report.

Agood day even in the rain, the sun came out on the way home! Walking on grass, even not all the time, was such a relief after the relentless stone of the Tatras.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

a busy Tuesday and a busier Wednesday

A first yesterday when I was Short Stop coordinating; a young man from Iran so traumatised that he could not cope with the idea of going to one of our lovely hosts, he would find someone at a drop-in or sleep again in the park. I worried a lot, but then had to stop or it would take me over and I would have to stop coordinating. Sometimes when I was teaching this would happen and I would need to remind myself that I had done all I could, and could do no more. Usually I can switch off fairly quickly, but not always.

So, sawing down trees today in the sun with a fabulous view at times was immensely cathartic. If I believed in corporal or capital punishment - which I don't!- I could have let my imagination run riot as I sawed and lopped. We were clearing a bridleway on the edge of the Dalby forest, only the oaks were spared, there weren't many and luckily they were far enough off the line of the path to be left alone. A lot of easy inconsequential chatter added to the relaxed enjoyment of the day. I came home via coffee and a delicious scone at the Kingfisher cafe in Malton (Fairtrade and Social Enterprise).

Then off to a meeting of our local Fairtrade group; we are planning a Clothes Show at the end of the month, I only have a small part to play, sourcing the chocolate for our chocolate tasting, part of the extra entertainment whilst we watch the Fairtrade clothes being modelled.

Race home to catch a phone call from a friend. A good end to a good day.

Monday, 12 September 2011

back from Slovakia and off to Leeds

Back to the routine, well sort of. Continung my public transport experiences, today it was the lovely Coastliner to Leeds, our fab local bus service; buses in Slovakia were cheap and well used, but not as shiny as our Coastliners, although out of the towns they went just as fast. Any way enough of this raving, my asylum seeking friend has been accepted on several courses at a college in Leeds, a Level 2 in health care, a maths course and a science course. They are now able to fund her, probably after a change of heart about the way funding works in FE colleges. However the fact that she has been accepted is down to all her hard work last year, she is delighted and so are all her friends. One of the courses involves 3 evenings, but this she says is good as the evenings are when she can dwell too much on her status and the bad things from the past. We are collecting letters about her activities in various communities in Leeds, to help her latest application to be allowed to stay; the list is amazing, truly she is part of the local community on so many levels. I leave her with a couple of her favourite pictures of my grandson in the puddles at his local park.

Then off for coffee and cakes with my gadding friend, we catch up on things from the last few weeks (we puzzle over why we have to pay for glasses when hearing aids are free), before I get the bus home. My bus pass is lovely, but I still feel that if we are all to share in the hard times, then we could pay something for it.