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Thursday, 30 June 2011

ps volunteering logging off

it's Granny time again, a beach hut at Scarborough booked for next week!

an award ceremony, a rather noisy day and a day of friends

I went to my friend's award ceremony in Leeds on Tuesday, I was so proud of her, she has finished the course and now achieved her award, it was lovely to join her and her class mates, laughing, hugging and lots of photos. I know how difficult she has found it at times, yet despite illness and sadness she has kept going. It is a pity that some newspapers cannot see how hard asylum seekers, and she was not the only one there, work, so that they can make themselves useful citizens, if only they were allowed to stay. We can hope.

Yesterday at Coasties we were clearing a track by a beautiful wild flower meadow near Ravenscar; unfortunately 2 colleagues needed to use a strimmer, I know it's quicker, but selfishly I like our usual peace and quiet. Hah some will say, only so you can chat more as you work, maybe!

Back to Leeds to meet my friend and my fellow 'gadder'. Also phone calls to my 'manager' in LASSN, the paid person who supports and advises me, without her and her colleagues I and the other volunteers could not be as useful as I hope we are. My friend and I have a long chat, I tell her how my mother had dementia for several years before she died, but now I remember the good times we had and she will one day do the same about her family. She tells me she will try, and recounts a childhood misdemeanor which has us both in stitches.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

a very hot walk

Today I was on voluntary ranger duty, based in  Thornton le Dale. After a brief litter pick, very little litter, and a chat about what I was doing with some appreciative visitors, I set off on a circular 6 mile walk. It got hotter and hotter, I had to cut back quite a lot of vegetation round stiles and overhanging in the woods. I only carry secateurs and a small folding saw, but it is surprising what can still be done to clear the way. Last week up on the open moor there were curlews and lapwings a plenty, but today all the birds seemed to have settled down in the trees to see out the heat. On the last lap there were some unfriendly bullocks, so I warned several dog owners coming the other way to take care; everyone said they would and was pleased with the warning, some dog owners are not always so grateful! Back in time to do another litter pick. Tomorrow I need to email the professional Rangers with details of missing signs and blocked paths, once again volunteers can only operate with professional, full time and paid back up!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

more days without my small society

This is also what happens to my small society, friends come to stay. I like this, after all friends are important, but the small society is put on hold. I manage short stop, we both potter round my garden waiting for the phone and continue our chatting. But no Coasties, instead I meet another friend, more chatting, or gadding as her husband calls it! So the footpaths will be slightly less cleared this week. None of this will cause the world to stop, but when you add up all the volunteers who have friends to visit it will slow things down, won't it?

Friday, 17 June 2011

extra extra

Went to Leeds yesterday to meet my friend. She has got me a ticket for the awards ceremony at her college, I am so pleased she wants me to go, sometimes I tell her I am like an aunty to her, so at least we can pretend she will have family there. We both hope that she has done well in her latest assignment. She went to meet a possible new solicitor earlier in the week, fingers crossed this firm will take her on for a new asylum application. Her country is supposed to be safe; huh, when my daughter went there for a week for work her organisation sent her on a personal survival course!

Today a training course on surveying for Himalayan Balsam in the National Park, a pretty, but very invasive species of flower, that as well as preventing a variety of other plants from surviving could lead to flood damage. In the next couple of weeks I will be surveying a length of river with a view to it being removed. It is smothering the river bank where I live, but this section is not in the National Park, so other people need to sort it out. At least if we can help get it removed upstream it might be a start. Volunteers will survey and pull it out if there is just a little, but paid contractors will be required if there is lots. We have our limitations.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

back to the volunteering

A quiet Short Stop day yesterday, just one referral, just as well as I had a dreadful cough which doesn't do much for my friendly phone manner! A lovely couple say they will be out til late but if I am desperate........ then I find some one who can take him in the early evening. I am still worrying about the two pregnant women from last week, how dreadful, in a strange country, to have no where settled to bring your baby home to; you would only do that if things at home were so bad that this was the only alternative.

Against my better judgement, having coughed all night, I go to Coasties. However although it is hot and muggy how glad that I did. Clearing steps, ready for their repair, above the  shining sea, makes me feel so much better and I don't cough at all. Masses of walkers, all pleased with our handiwork, makes us all feel satisfied and may be a little smug? Look how good we are!

The cleared steps contrast with the overgrown ones.

Monday, 13 June 2011

back to my small society

Well I'm back and ready for small society things, tomorrow (short stop) and Wednesday (Coasties). BUT I have now realised another downside to expecting volunteers to run things that really we shouldn't, not my small society things but proper BIG society things. We go away and do things like Granny stuff. When I worked for an employer who paid me it was only family emergencies that took me away, not now, it doesn't have to be an emergency and off I go. I'm afraid that's what volunteers do, always have, always will. Is this what is planned?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

time off for two weeks

Off to do Granny duty next week, so the blog will be on hold until I return.

indoors and outdoors

Yesterday I did my day as co-ordinator for the emergency short stay accomodation organised by LASSN for homeless asylum seekers in Leeds. 2 young women needed somewhere for the night and after just a few phone calls 2 lovely people said of course. It still moves me so much that people will take a stranger into their homes, give them a meal and a bed for the night. Last week an MP's assistant rang me, I could not resist pointing out the effect the cuts were having on charities that exist to help the person sat opposite him in his office. After all even charities have to pay their bills, even if their staff live on air! I will admit I did not spend all day indoors, my garden beckoned.

The board walk with its new nonslip strips.
Today was Coasties and was all outdoors, cutting back the foliage in lush woodland on a path which is the last day of the Coast to Coast walk. When I did the C2C last year this section was very wet, today only damp in places. As well as cutting back to keep the path clear a slippery board walk was made safer, see the picture left. Many thanks from long distance walkers and families enjoying the woods in half term. Most people are amazed that we do this as a voluntary activity; we learned recently that 25% of path maintainance in the North York Moors National Park is done by volunteers. Nuff said.