I visited my asylum seeking friend in her flat (a hard to let one owned by the council), no news yet about her move or her claim to stay, all adding to her uncertainty. To add to that the help line to tell her how much is on her 'payment card' has been down. This card, which can only be used in supermarkets, is how she gets her food, toiletries etc. The observant amongst you will realise that supermarkets are often more expensive than local shops and street markets, that they don't run buses, if you need to go further than you can walk, and that they don't always supply the specific and cheaper vegetables that you really would like to eat. The current government says it wants to preserve our high streets, so why just encourage the supermarkets? Many of us volunteers use the card for ourselves and then give the cash to our friends, yes it's against the rules, but.................. I ring the help line which is now back up again, so at least that is sorted out.
Her college course has finished, all her assignments are in and have been accepted; another hurdle overcome to give her the qualifications she hopes will get her a job in the caring field if she gets leave to remain. Even with the current levels of unemployment there are still vacancies in these areas that many people are not prepared to work in. We remember how when I first met her I was one of the few friends she had, now church and college have increased her group of friends enormously, as it would be for any other local young woman. lassn.pir2.info/welcome
Saturday and Monday I helped my husband to run Fairer World, the wonderful food and craft Fairtrade shop in Gillygate, York; the owners are at a conference in Scarborough. www.fairtrade.org.uk/ We restock the shelves, help people fill boxes for stalls at their local summer fairs and churches, price new goods, and of course sell things to customers. My husband is a regular volunteer and can use the card machine, I stick to the till. Most people who come in want to chat about the goods, especially if there are new lines, so we are very busy all day. A lovely person from a local Society of Friends group tells me that they don't need small bars of chocolate because as they are Quakers they only eat the bigger bars! I buy some chocolate myself, a scarf and some earrings. On Monday I stock up on coffee, dried fruit and sugar, I might make a cake.
|checking the shelves in Fairer World|
Up on the moors, a thousand to one chance? I come across the remains of a Chinese lantern, you may think they look very pretty as they sail across the night sky, but in the picture below you can see the rusty and twisted wires, imagine what that will do to birds or animals which get caught up in them or try to eat them. There were also the charred remains of the paper covering, in dry weather they could have caused a moorland fire which might have burnt for days and caused appalling damage to the fragile ecosystem of the Moors.
|the remains of the Chinese lantern, photographed at home|