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Sunday, 21 October 2012

Short Stop changes name and two sessions in the jungle

Tuesday was what used to be Short Stop and is now called the Grace project. The Grace project is the amalgamation of two linked schemes, Short Stop and Long Stop, both offering emergency accommodation for homeless asylum seekers, one for one night only, the other for longer. Now LASSN has decided to merge the two schemes under one name the Grace project. Grace was an early user of short Stop many years ago; now, settled in Leeds, she has become a Trustee of LASSN and an enthusiastic advocate of both short Stop and Long Stop. Just one person to be placed this week, my first call is to one of our regular hosts, she is unwell, but tells me that if I can find nobody else she can help. It is with some relief, she has the awful cough and cold I have just got over, that my next call is answered with a cheery 'of course'; I phone PAFRAS back and that is all for the day. The nights are becoming colder and longer so the Grace project becomes more and more vital.

this bit's already been done
Wednesday dawned in gloom and pouring rain, however the forecast promised sun later, so on with the water proofs and off to Runswick Bay. Coasties were continuing to carve a path, which only seems to exist on the map, through bracken, bramble and our old friend blackthorn. It had been started with steps many months ago, more steps will be needed on this bit, but today it is too wet. However by 11o'clock the rain has stopped and by midday the sun and the midges are out.
the bracken jungle,
easier than the blackthorn!

Some of my colleagues become so enthusiastic that the path gets wider and wider and more and more blackthorn has to be somehow 'lost' in what remains. I have a minor rebellion and block their way, they move onward and upward, more to be lost, but at least the path gets longer rather than wider!

"What is the point of blackthorn?" one of us wonders, "well sloe gin" I point out, but we all agree although very good, not an essential for life. So, what is the point of blackthorn?

Now, see here on the right is a lovely path, it's almost parallel to where we are cutting, dragging and throwing. BUT it is on private land, this area of the National Park is not Open Access and we ordinary mortals may only walk on the public rights of way. It's a path for game shooters, I eat game and so I don't complain about the people who shoot, but the the revolutionary in me wonders why we can't all use the same path. There is some muttering about us plebs not using the path! Very topical at the moment, the rights of plebs. When I was younger I thought that one day the revolution would come, now older and greyer I know better.

Sunday was more jungle cutting, this time of nettles and burdock to find trees planted last year in Malton's best kept secret, the Castle Gardens. Some trees had been discovered a few months ago, now more were found today.
Malton's jungle in the mist
Here's one I found

If the small society exists truly it does here, a few people, over many years, have made this the magical place it is now. We have come to it only recently and now hope to help more. The wet summer has contributed to the need for a massive cut back, there are still more young trees to be found and nurtured into more growth.

Last but not least, my good friends at Fairer World shop in York have just launched the first page of their website, it is a work in progress, but after some time here it is,

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Happy Birthday LASSN

Yesterday was LASSN's 10th birthday. and they've got a new website to celebrate. First was the boring bit, the AGM, but necessary for legal reasons. I am so glad that all this is now behind me; I did over 20 years of committee meetings: Council, School Governors, Charities. I'm glad I did, as I like to think that some of them made a difference, but now enough is enough and I am very happy to be a volunteer and nothing more. We heard from someone who had been in at the very beginning of LASSN, over 10 years ago, before the charity itself was officially launched. She made the point that we all hope not to be here in another 10 years, but we fear that the need will be just as great as it is now. Conflict around the world does not lessen just because the EU has been given a peace prize.

Then the party, lovely food, cooked by a local couple who were born in East Africa and have lived in Leeds for many decades. It was good to share experiences, both happy and sad, with other volunteers, some were short stop hosts, some English at home tutors and others befrienders. We also talked of other things, holidays, I had just returned from another train trip across Europe, this time to Porto, and dogs, other people's, I don't have one, (regular readers might have guessed this!)

Earlier in the day I had visited my friend, still waiting to hear when and where she will be moved to; no news may be good news, but can also be very stress making, for her at present it is the latter.

A friend from WAST, women asylum seekers together, was there. We reminisced about a lovely holiday they had all had in the Lakes, in a guest house owned by the local Society of Friends , everything had been paid for by the Friends, including a boat trip on Derwent Water. By coincidence I had stayed there, as a paying guest, whilst I was doing the Coast to Coast walk two years ago. I remembered the food being very good and they agreed with me. It was lovely to relax and talk about ordinary things, far removed from the current stresses.

Back to Coasties next week, continuing some work near Runswick Bay that we started some months ago on the Cleveland Way. there is now a Facebook page for the Cleveland Way, I'm not sure if this link will work if you're not signed up to FB, but if it does you might see some familiar pics.

I'm now back to my Small Society for some months, before I take off once more on my travels.