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Thursday, 28 November 2013

Coasties is mud again, but lots of sunshine too

A few days away with a friend, then family to stay and now back to the usual round of mud, sun and the phone.

Coasties, www.northyorkmoors.org.uk, last week was at Falling Foss, a massive task which will probably take several weeks to complete. Part of the internationally famous Coast to Coast path goes through here and crosses the stream at a ford. Recently there has been a spate of accidents in the wet and the mud so the solution is a very long and, despite ups and downs, level board walk. It is near a well known beauty spot so the plan is to make it suitable for all ages as well as long distance walkers. The engineering and practical skills required are beyond my capabilities, but there are hundreds of pieces of timber to be moved, all across the swamp that is to be bridged. No-one wants to fall over, or lose their boots in the mud, so we set up a chain gang and hand each piece across the worst of the mud and carry them where is it slightly less wet.

Eventually the builders have all they need for several days and some of us set off to do some ditch clearing and then some path clearing. Luckily the sun is shining and we are surrounded by a fabulous woodland, unfortunately I have left my camera at home, so you will have to take my word for it!

Short Stop, lassn.org.uk, has been very quiet for the last few weeks. I am afraid that this is because several of the referring agencies have reduced their opening hours (because of cuts to their funding), rather than a reduction in the numbers of destitute asylum seekers. So more people are probably sleeping on the streets and also not receiving the advice and help that these agencies can give them. I have one referral one week and just two the following week, both placed fairly easily.

One evening I run a Fairtrade stall, www.fairtrade.org.uk, at a craft evening organised by Sight Support Ryedale, sightsupportryedale.org/. I don't sell a lot, but several people come up to tell me that they bought things at our big shop just a few weeks ago. it is a lovely evening, so thanks to Sight Support for inviting us. Still with Fairtrade, at the beginning of this week I take delivery from Fairer World, www.fairerworldyork.co.uk, of several boxes of Christmas things, food and crafts for West Heslerton School, www.westheslertonschool.co.uk. They are having a stall all week and I will collect what is left next Monday, thank you West Heslerton for spreading the word about Fairtrade. By special request there are lots of chocolate coins!



just starting
some of the wood
to be burned
Finally Coasties is back by the seaside at Hayburn Wyke, working with the National Trust. There were two main tasks, burning a lot of dead wood, far too much for habitat piles, and pulling out the invasive  rhododendron that the Victorians planted as a visitor attraction. I opted to help with the fire and got very hot. By mid afternoon most of the wood was burnt and a lot of rhododendron pulled out and cut down, again the sun had shone, but very little mud this week. Finally we used water from a nearby stream to damp down the fire and went home, smoky and tired.

Another good two weeks for me, and, I hope, for the wider society I live in. Certainly the homeless asylum seekers and the walkers in the woods seemed pleased with our activities. Next year in Fairtrade Fortnight I hope to meet a Fairtrade banana producer to find out more about how Fairtrade is helping them. Earlier this year I met an olive farmer from Palestine who produces olive oil for Zaytoun, www.zaytoun.org, Fairtrade and sometimes organic too.