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Monday, 16 April 2012

some stress in Leeds and the good the bad and the ugly on the Moors

Friday I went to Leeds, my gadding friend and I had lunch and discussed a report we had both read about volunteers having progressive views, we both agreed (mostly they do) and being more likely to belong to a faith group, well she does and I very much don't, but luckily we have too much respect for each other to fall out over this. We also agreed that although many people with a faith may have progressive views, there are sadly a rather loud minority who don't.

Then the stress, my asylum seeking friend not only not answering her phone, but it sounds as though someone is listening in; I contact someone at Solace, I think she had an appointment there yesterday. More worry, she missed the appointment and they can't get hold of her either. Finally I reach her by text, she was out shopping, when I get to her flat there is a problem with her phone! It is resolved by taking out the battery and putting it back again, why does this work? However we were right to worry, she is tired and feeling low, no news yet about her status and no news either about where she might have to move to. Obviously I can't go into details, but she has enough worries and is working at both her studies and to overcome her other issues not to need this unnecessary concern about her flat. However by the time I leave she is cheered up, my gadding friend has brought her some lovely things which I will write more about another time, hugs and thank yous and a promise from her that she will keep on eating properly so that 'Aunty' (me in nagging mode) will be pleased.

a lovely background for a photo shoot
Saturday I am based at the car park at Saltergate, above the Hole of Horcum, on duty as a volunteer ranger, . First the good, a group of students using the view as a backdrop for a photo shoot (they are doing a photography course in York), they agree that I can photograph them, so here are some different pictures from usual of the Moors. If they read this, many thanks for giving me some unusual photos.

but it looks a bit cold

Then the bad, last week the inconsiderate dog owners were merely illiterate, this week they are either stupid or wilfully wicked. Let me spell it out for you, putting your dog's mess in a plastic bag, tying it up tightly and then dumping it by the side of the path, or on the ground in the car park is disgusting. If you don't want to take it home, then leave your dog at home instead. And for the really stupid, this is a picture of a tree, NOT a dog lavatory.

Is this how this dog owner would
decorate their Christmas tree?

Now the ugly, as I walk back from a circuit down to Newtondale and then back up across the Levisham Bottoms, unfortunately the sun is gleaming on the Fylingdales early warning station, no-one can now explain what it is early warning about and it costs millions of pounds, which could so much better be spent on a whole host of public services which are now being cut. Maybe in the Cold War this blot on a beautiful and wild landscape could be justified, but hardly now. How good it is to be a volunteer and make these political comments, freed from the constraints of employment, one can be just as controversial as one wants! Today we walked right round it on a bird survey and the dreadful hum from the generator just added to the intrusion on the moors.
Can you see it, in the distance?
However, let me end on a cheerful note, literally, although you can't hear it, I could,  the steam whistle of the North York Moors Steam and here is a picture too.

Monday, 9 April 2012

not just daffodils and mixed news from Leeds

still snow above Farndale, and a
few houses still have no power
Yesterday I was in Farndale again, staffing the MDU (Mobile Display Unit) for the Park. It was busier than we might have expected for a damp, cold Easter Sunday; a steady flow of enquiries, often about the origin of the daffodils, the mainstream view is that they are natural, and thrive here because of the mix of habitat only found in a few other areas in the Park. I do a litter patrol (very little) and 'please put your dog on the lead' patrol, (too many). I forebear to ask  one couple if they are both illiterate, as they are about 10 metres from a gate which asks dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead AT ALL TIMES, a gate they have just walked through. There is one field with a bull, some cows and calves, where it would be prudent to let the dog go if you are being chased, this is not that field and every time I see the bull he is looking very sleepy.

As well as the famous daffodils there are masses of wood anemones and a few bluebells just coming out. In a couple of weeks when the daffodils are over and the bluebells are out it will be quiet and scented, a good place for a walk on ones own.
daffodils and a flowing river,
not like a few weeks ago
Wood anemones over the river

look carefully and you will see
the bluebells

We close the unit at 5pm, I buy some left over cakes from the village hall's fund raising refreshments, they have given us scones earlier, so one good deed.....................

Mixed news from Leeds. LASSN,, have managed to secure Lottery Funding for the befriending scheme; although we befrienders are volunteers, money is needed for the person who organises the scheme, for training new volunteers and for the necessary expenses we may incur. Volunteering is not a free activity in any shape or form. The bad news is that the organisation that finds housing for asylum seekers (almost always in otherwise hard to let places) has changed. Up to now it has been an arm of the local Council, which knows a bit about housing and employs people who do too. Now it is to be G4S, who are not currently know for their caring attitude to anyone, let's hope they can prove us wrong. Unfortunately people may be moved away from Leeds where their support network and friends are, people who have already suffered enough trauma to now suffer more. The hard to let flats will be empty once again and all for what?

My friend is desperately worried, she has funding on a course at a college in Leeds, if she is moved away all that funding and her efforts will have gone to waste. Is this such a good idea?

Let's try and end on an up beat note. My grandsons have enjoyed their Divine mini Fairtrade eggs, presented in a Fairtrade pink bunny, sorry no pic. . The older one can even get the foil wrappers off himself, such manual dexterity when chocolate is the reward.