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Saturday, 16 February 2013

my small society affected by weather and illness

Not a good month, February, I think most years, and this year certainly lived up to my billing of it. The first Coasties of the month was cancelled, the second one I felt too unwell to go to. Fortunately I was still well enough to sit by the phone and the computer. In the old days when I went to paid work the rule was too ill to go to work, too ill for anything else. Now as a volunteer I can pick and choose my levels of illness, another good thing about having a pension not a salary.

So there have been two Tuesdays of Short Stop since I last blogged, Only a couple of potentially homeless asylum seekers, Guinea and Pakistan this time, both  found shelter from the cold and the wet quite quickly. I have a chat with one of the hosts about his email address, I assume it is to do with viniculture, but no it is a Christian organisation. So I learn something new. Another host and I discuss halal meals. It is the beginning of the horsemeat incidents, so all labelling is becoming suspect and  so we agree a non meat meal is safest. My local butcher is profiting from all this I am pleased to say.

I am also able to catch up on the organising of our local Fairtrade Craft Fair. We  have several local craft people coming as well as the Fairtrade stalls. Some of them will be making their craft items as well as, hopefully, selling. If you live nearby it's Saturday March 9th, 10am to 4pm at the Friends' Meeting House, Greengate Malton YO17 7EN. Free entry! There is a photo shoot for our local paper to be sorted out and one or two people to be chased up.

The Malton and Norton Fairtrade group is participating in the Yorkshire Fairtrade  'sell a tonne of Fairtrade rice in Fairtrade fortnight challenge'. As a small group we are trying to sell 45kg, bigger groups 90kg. Contact Yorkshire Fairtrade to find your nearest stockist.

Before I was unwell I pay my friend in Leeds a flying visit. One of her local friends is there too. We talk about how we hope to be able to use a van and a driver to help to move her stuff when she has to move again. Her wonderful collecting of unwanted stuff dumped on waste land has gleaned her a bed, a fridge freezer and a table. She may have to go into a hostel for a short time before going into an unfurnished flat, so none of this must be lost. Luckily a friend of mine has offered some space in her garage to store her precious things. On the bus back I become so engrossed in my book that I almost miss my stop!

Hopefully I will be back to Coasties next Wednesday, although I think I shall have to give a Supertask, back in the Mire (see 6th March 2012), a miss this year. I am off on Granny duties after Coasties and need to keep my strength up for that!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A very average week, but then Coasties go out for lunch

A bit of everything this week. Short Stop,, first; only two referrals, but a lot of hosts have a Long Stop guest, two hosts were ill and it was obviously a busy evening in Leeds as several were going out. So it was touch and go, but eventually both young men were placed in warm and welcoming homes with a hot meal to look forward to. One young man from Eritrea had not turned up on Monday night, we all worried about him, hopefully I will find out next Tuesday where he went.

we struggle in the mud, thanks
to Tristan for the picture
Wednesday was Coasties, the roads were clear and so were the alum works at Ravenscar. So it was continuing with the Cleveland Way alternative route. Mud was the order of the day, all over the place. Some people ingeniously devised a drain to take a newly discovered spring away from the steps, whilst I and a colleague moved bigger and bigger pieces of stone from the site of the new path to a storage area. They must be saved, they are archaeological treasures from long lost parts of the alum workings.
a drain to take the spring
water away from the steps
it looks good, but the hail
Suddenly we looked up to see a perfect rainbow, but it was the harbinger of a dreadful hail and rain storm, we got to the barn just in time, early lunch we decided.

Thursday I finally got to Leeds. Unfortunately my friend was not in the mood to really celebrate her permission to stay in this country; her boiler still not fixed and no running water in the kitchen. However after I had made various phone calls she relaxed and we pored over the letter from the Home Office. It is such a flat sort of letter, one feels it should be in gilt letters! However, there it is in black and white, her 'status' as asylum seekers call it. We talked about the fact that she will have to move again and all the rest of the hoops she will have to jump through. She know it will be tough, but of course she doesn't mind.

On and off during the week I have been emailing about our Fairtrade Craft Fair in March, it is gradually coming together, stalls and publicity. We have made a link with the regional Fairtrade group,, so that is another way to publicise our event. Yorkshire is the first region in England to achieve Fairtrade status and our small group in Malton and Norton is part of that.

Yesterday was the social highlight of Coasties' year. We take off our muddy boots, our T shirts and fleeces, put on our smart clothes and go out for lunch. Some of us bring our partners, usually left at home in the warm and the dry. I's not just hard work and fun, it's also a good meal and fun.

What are these sheep?

Finally today I did a voluntary ranger patrol, checking out various footpaths in the Staintondale area. Except for the mud everwhere, most things were fine, gates, signs and stiles all in good order. Although the mild weather earlier in the winter seems to have encouraged the bramble to keep growing so I will need my secateurs next time. Towards the end of the afternoon I came across the biggest sheep I had ever seen, the ram had two sets of fine horns. Are they Manx Loaghtan?

An average week, but to my mind a very balanced one.