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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Indoors stuck to the phone and outdoors with the loppers

Yesterday was Short Stop,, so although my mobile can obviously go outside, my PC to record the data won't, and LASSN need the data to apply for much needed funding. As usual the first, and yesterday all the referrals are from PAFRAS, I now have most of their volunteers' numbers in my phone, so at least I can greet them by name. We may never have met but I like to think of them as friends as well as sort of colleagues. Three guests, as we call the people we help, today; two of them have been with Short Stop before, one several times. The first one I place quite quickly, but then the familiar worry sets in; as phones go to voicemail, possible hosts have people already staying, someone has a sick partner. However, as usual, all three are eventually placed, the kindness of strangers has once again prevailed and no-one who has contacted any of the referring agencies should have been sleeping last night in one of the parks of Leeds. So once again I close down and email my records into the office. Less multi-tasking today, a casserole in the slow cooker, a pile of ironing and a bed changed, oh and back ache from sitting in one position for too long.

Today is something so different, Coasties. We are a bit inland actually, above West Ayton, clearing a bridleway of the usual blackthorn and bramble. We look at the almost completely overgrown path, see the picture below on the left, and as usual wonder if we will ever get it done. However as you can also see it is jackets off and down to work, loppers and bow saws make almost light work of the task, the hardest work is 'loosing' the cut down vegetation. Now this is easy on the coast, we chuck it over the edge (I did once lose a glove doing this), but here we have to find and make gaps in the hedge and put it carefully where it will not get in the local farmer's way. By lunch time we are half way through, as we eat we catch up, and remember how last year's weather was so different to the mildness of today. Our usual Park Ranger is leading us again after a gap, so a sense that the normal routine is back is good. By 3 o'clock the target length of the bridleway is now fit for purpose, although we do wonder how tall the average horse and rider is as we cut down some high stuff. See the right hand picture below for the finished bridleway. We look at the Ranger's photos of our work and are thanked for a job well done., the National Park, like so many similar organisations is increasingly dependent on volunteers for this kind of routine maintenance, and yet because of cuts to the full time staff cannot take on any more volunteers, Big Society or shrinking society?

Fit for a horse?

Jackets off, just
starting work
I won't be posting for two weeks, off on my travels again, friends and then my grandsons. After all that is the point of volunteering, you can stop and start as you please, you can't do that in a 'proper' job, which is why volunteers can't do the essential work in our society. 

No back ache today, too much exercise for that!