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Saturday, 17 November 2012

from a tower block to a through house and Coasties get their feet wet

At the beginning of the week I went to meet both my Leeds' friends, my asylum seeking friend and my 'gadding' friend. My asylum seeking friend has been moved by G4S to her new accommodation, she is delighted as it is still within walking distance of her doctor and her other support networks. I am delighted as, although it is in an area of back to backs, it is a 'through' house, in the Leeds vernacular, it has a back and a front open to the air.

Now those of you not familiar with Leeds may have thought that back to backs had been consigned to the museum or the dustbin of housing history, oh no, in Leeds there are still almost 20000 back to backs and I haven't added an extra zero. I have tried to give you a link to various reports, but have failed, but if you google back to backs in Leeds you can see it all for yourselves. Even tower blocks give the residents a small outside balcony but many back to backs are directly onto the pavement, so no private outside space back or front. The numbers are so high because, when building new ones was finally banned early in the 20th century, Leeds found a loophole in the law and carried on well into the 1930's. We are supposed to be one of the richest countries in the world and yet people are still living in homes that were condemned over 100 years ago.

My friend and I drink tea and she tells me how, when she has got the inside clean and sorted, it looks spotless to me, she is going to start on the small plot outside. My gadding friend and I catch up and then I get the bus home, a most satisfactory day all round. The move that potentially could have been so disastrous has turned out to be fine, in part down to the lovely people from the local housing group, who actually did the practical work of moving her and her few, but precious possessions; some of which she has restored to good use after finding them dumped in alley ways. For new readers, the contract to house asylum seekers is now with G4S, who cannot use the properties that were previously used, so at unnecessary expense everyone has to be moved. They is turn subcontract the work to another group. Confused, you should be!

not easy to see, but in the middle
 of the picture, a large
piece of plastic sheet.
Wednesday is a lovely sunny day, Coasties,, continues to hack out the path for the plebs (see October 21st). It is mostly the usual blackthorn, but some of it is also cunningly woven through with honeysuckle. However the lovely views over Runswick Bay,as well as the unseasonably warm weather keep us cheerful. It's a pity though that even here sheets of plastic are buried in the ground.

Runswick bay in the sunshine

Eventually we break through to a field; however we have worked for too long. Both the time and the height of the high tide have been ignored, some of us opt for wet feet and more, the others struggle up a muddy cliff.

a colleague gives me a helping hand with the last bit

Thanks to Tristan for this picture of me above my knees in the sea. I don't usually paddle in my clothes, but this seemed the best option this time.

Luckily I have other footwear in the car, the drive home is still rather damp.