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Thursday, 9 February 2012

from the Baltic Sea to Boulby potash mine

Well Tallinn was cold, minus 20 to be precise, but we rose to the challenge. The Leonardo was wonderful too. First day back was a funeral, a Humanist one, very moving, it felt a privilege to be there, except that Dave would not have wanted any one to be privileged over any one else.

Tuesday was a Short Stop day, it was bitterly cold, not a day to wonder where you would sleep tonight, thank you LASSN for organising this service. Only two referrals, both from PAFRAS,, my usual contact, must try to meet him sometime! I place the first one very quickly, he is able to go back to where he has been all weekend, "no need to change the bedding", the voice on the phone says. I start to worry about the second, first lots of phones go to voicemail, then people are going to be out, eventually someone says "yes", she must hear the relief in my voice, apparently she has done this coordinating role herself. I wait for more referrals, there are none; I still worry, I do hope no one will be out this evening. One of my messages rings back, they are free if necessary. I thank her, my coordinating role seems easy to me, compared to taking a stranger into one's home.

You may be wondering what has happened to my friend in Leeds, well I have been over to see her several times this new year, but more detail could intrude on her privacy at the moment. She had a flood in her flat from upstairs, but the landlords sorted that out quickly, her college work gets harder, but she keeps going. Next week is another reporting, so I will be phoning during the week to keep her spirits up.

Yesterday was Coasties, but if you are expecting a pretty picture of moors under snow, think again, hardly any snow on the coast and we are working under the shadow of the Boulby Potash Mine; yes it is in the National Park, it does provide a lot of employment and most people think the potash is necessary for our modern life. People tend to assume that land in National Parks is owned by the Park, not so, only a miniscule amount, the rest is owned by the usual sort of people, farmers, big landowners, householders, utility companies, charities, etc, etc.

the potash mine

Today we are replacing three stiles with gates and clearing a path through the woods. Our ranger has had to negotiate with two land owners, a tenant farmer, a shoot tenant and a gamekeeper before we can do this work; all were helpful, but it takes time, and we volunteers don't have the authority or the knowledge to do it. Another reason why volunteers need the professional staff.

a decrepit stile,you
 also need long legs!
now there is a path
through the wood

As usual we saw and lop and then use some of the trees trunks to try to mark out the line of the path, some lengths are clearer than others. At least one way mark will be required. I wonder, not for the first time, why we don't do paint way marking as they do in France; oten walking there I have had reason to bless these paint assurances on trees like this.

Finally this morning I meet someone from the East Yorkshire Chalk Rivers Trust, to draw their attention to the growing area of Japanese  Knotweed on the Derwent near our home. Although she is depressed by the sight of it, she needs to know it is there and is pleased we have noticed it and done some thing about it.

this logo will be in the window
of our participating shops
I then talk to the last two shops we want to participate in our Fair Trade Town Trail during Fair Trade fortnight, they both agree and we talk about not just encouraging Fair Trade for farmers in developing countries, but at the same time supporting smaller shops in our local towns.