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Monday, 24 September 2012

from brilliant sunshine to pouring rain

Last Tuesday there was just one short stop referral, the fourth and last call was successful, but more exciting for me (how sad am I?) was that the host was a regular reader of the blog and said how much he enjoyed it. LASSN, are now involved in both Short Stop and a new project Long Stop, more asylum seekers are needing longer stays and this new project will give both them and hosts a greater degree of certainty. For more details please click on the link.

the view as we work, lucky us
Wednesday was a stunningly beautiful day, Coasties,, were clearing a section of the Cleveland Way just south of Scarborough. Long grass, nettles, briars and overhanging gorse and willow were all making this section of the National Trail rather too narrow. However one of my tasks was rather dispiriting, clearing masses of rubbish from around a bench, including the mesh from several portable barbecues, you can imagine what they do to small mammals and birds which get their legs caught in them. The stupid people who used them obviously don't care at all, there are litter bins just a five minute walk away!
all around the bench
The other ongoing rubbish issue is my usual moan at the idiocy of the thoughtless dog owners (note to friends and relations - not you); the plastic bag in the hedge will NOT degrade, the dog poo would. Yes I know there are degradable bags, but these were not those.

Saturday the members of our local Fairtrade group,, were up bright and early for our Craft Fair, a mix of Fairtrade and local craft stalls. Quite a success, we might repeat but possibly in a more central venue. Several of the local craft people were keen to come again and seemed to like the mix of stalls we had.
crafts from our friends at Fairer World in York
Every year we try something different, last year was a Clothes Show, this year the Craft Fair.

Sunday I was up on the moors above Rosedale, all the paths were clear, stiles and gates in excellent order, so I had a good walk and enjoyed the last of the sunshine. Lots of grouse and pheasant around and a few skylarks still singing high above. Then I came across this in a farm yard, not your usual farmyard item!

I could have done with this today (JOKE JOKE). I went to Leeds to see my friend, she still hasn't heard anything about her new accommodation, which is supposed to be by this Friday. I spent ages on the phone to the UK Border Agency and G4S (of Olympic infamy), both of them saying nothing to do with us, try the other one! The UKBA have given the contract to house asylum seekers to G4S whose incompetence seems to stretch way beyond the Olympics. Thus my need for the cannon.

The last straw was the bus on the way home, apparently no ventilation or heating, so condensation dripping down the windows onto anyone sitting by the window, me as the bus was full for much of the way home.

Never mind, at least I have a warm, dry house to come home to, and a feeling of a week mostly doing somethings towards my small society, and seeing old friends in between, which meant good food, chat and wine.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The tools of my trade, phone on Tuesday, sickle and shears today, and some bad news

Yesterday there were four short stop referrals! Luckily three of them were able to go back to Monday's hosts and the last was also found a room for the night very quickly. Lovely people prepared to offer shelter, often for night after night. I am happy to do the phoning, but don't know how easy I would find taking a stranger into my home. Once again PAFRAS the referring agency.

My asylum seeking friend has had good and bad news in the last week. She passed her Level 2 in Health and Social care with flying colours, distinctions in all eight sections of the course and has been offered a place to study for Level 3. However the Home Office, after many, many months has decided that she may not stay in this country. After everything she has been through and all her hard work over the last two years, not to mention what she is already bringing to our society and how much more she could bring...............  All her friends are desperately hoping that she will be able to appeal. Watch this space, I may need help. LASSN and Solace are amongst the organisations supporting her.

Today I tried to put all that behind me and helped to clear a path in the shadow, literally, of the Boulby potash mine. Potash is in the news at present as plans for another mine near Whitby have just been announced. It seems that only agricultural type sheds will actually be in the National Park, modern sheds like this are fairly hideous, but if they were really agricultural they wouldn't need planning permission at all! The sun is shining and the view in front of us is of a lovely woodland and a field of sheep, behind us the bulk of the mine buildings, it all seems rather incongruous. New steps are put in and old ones cleaned up and repaired, but there is still much to do. I use an old fashioned sickle and rather blunt shears to clear a way through the mini jungle that is now the path.


Sunday, 2 September 2012

All sorts in my small society

In my last post I completely forget to mention how pleased I was to see the Fairtrade logo at all the Olympic venues we went to, all the tea, coffee and drinking chocolate was Fairtrade, and here is a picture to prove it.

Some of the sponsorship of the Olympics and the Paralympics may have left a sour taste in the mouth, DOW and ATOS spring to mind, but the flavour and background to the hot drinks at least left a very good taste.

On the subject of Fairtrade I spent a fruitful few hours last week taking posters for our Fairtrade and local craft fair round various shops around my home.

Earlier this week I once again had just one referral for a 'short stop' bed, a young man of only 18, PAFRAS, the referring agency wondered if I could possibly find somewhere for more than one night. The household I contacted were sure that would be possible, so once again I signed off with a lighter heart than I had started the day with.

Wednesday was Coasties in the rain; but nothing daunted we put on our waterproofs, picked up our tools and set off to cut back overhanging foliage on the Cleveland Way at Stoupe Beck. The damp and now the slightly warmer weather has made sheltered areas like this almost tropical in the speedy growth of the green stuff. I had to put up with some banter about last week's post on the raking, but no mention of raking this week I noticed, although we were once again based at the alum works at Ravenscar.            
 Later in the afternoon I went back to the alum works to help move shale from a local quarry onto the new steps on the Cleveland Way diversion, a messy task in the rain. The new board walk across the stream looks very good, the steps will too when they are all finished.

I suggest that when all the work is done we should have a champagne opening of the new diversion, there is a comment that if I provide the champagne................

Today we went to Howsham Mill for a willow weaving workshop, there have been several of these traditional workshops over the summer, showcasing both the work happening at the Mill and various local crafts people. The Mill itself is surrounded by scaffolding, the work on the restoration is well under way, it will be a wonderful local resource, especially showing off hydro power, when it is finished.
Here are the chickens we made, they are now sitting in our garden, confusing the blackbirds and the doves. Ok, so they don't look like chickens, but we are ridiculously proud of them, and they add to the jollity of life. After they are finished we chat to some walkers about the Archimedes screw that not only supplies power to the mill, but also a healthy income from the National Grid to the Trust that supports the Mill.

You may ask what all these bits have to do with my small society. Well it's my small society and I can decide, but what gives me pleasure and satisfaction is the variety of activities, none of which cause harm and some, I hope, are useful and even doing good to someone, somewhere.