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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

short stop, sloe gin, a fruit cake and a slow-cooked casserole

Another Tuesday, another Short Stop day, last Tuesday was a day to be in the garden and between calls I was; today is grey and damp so I set myself up in the kitchen. Only problem with this is that the computer on which I log the calls is three floors up, oh well it's good exercise. I make the casserole and two bottles of sloe gin before the first call. I know it's from PAFRAS even before the caller speaks, the noisy back ground gives it away, and today as well as the chatting there is a piano playing. They are based in a stone floored church, I've been with my friend and a previous friend who went to English classes there. A young man in need of a room, just one phone call to one of the regular hosts and I am able to place him, I ask the volunteer if I can link PAFRAS in, he agrees.

After lunch a second call, a young pregnant lady, not far off having the baby, needs a room. I am as appalled as I was several weeks ago when I had to place a lady with two small children. Even if she wants to go back to the country she has fled from, it is too late to fly, and enthusiastic as I am about trains, central Africa is just too far. My husband is furious and wants to phone the BBC, of course we can't, everything is confidential. But as I blogged then and it will bear repeating ' we call ourselves a civilised country'! A lovely person agrees to take her in and I stress to the referring agency that she must tell the host if she thinks the baby may be coming.

I live too far from Leeds to be a host, which is just as well, as to be honest I'm not sure that I could do what our hosts do, many of them week after week. I really appreciate them, so if they're reading this...............

In between calls, and whilst I prick the sloes, I listen to a radio 4 programme about the Church of England prompted by the Occupy camp outside St Paul's. I have no faith in a God, but many of our hosts have, and I do admire the Christian Aid moto of 'Life before Death'. When I taught in East London many of the children wondered "how you can be good, Miss, as you don't believe in God!" it did worry me how they might not be good if they ever lost their faith. Oh dear that's quite enough philosophy for today.

Two more bottles of sloe gin, that's the presents, next week will be for us. Then I go slightly mad and decide to make a fruit cake with the fruit I bought at the Fair Trade shop at the weekend. It can't just sit in the cupboard.

the cake
Yes, I know, proof of pudding in eating etc etc, will report back when eaten! or not.

Last year's sloe gin
A glass of last year's sloe gin, a reward to my self for a successful day; we shouldn't have to be placing asylum seekers or any other people like this, but as we have to at least two people have a bed for the night. Please note Palestinian bowls in the background, the small one about to be filled with Fair Trade Bombay mix, the best.