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Monday, 14 October 2013

A pretty standard week

A week with a bit of most of the things that my small society is involved with. So nothing of great excitement, but often that is the way, we volunteers plod on. Nothing wrong with plodding, so sorry if that sounds a bit Eeyoreish. I just mean that people who volunteer expecting excitement and constant change soon stop, because that's not how it is.

So on Monday I was to be a guest at the Pickering and area Fairtrade group's AGM.www.pickfair.org.uk/‎ They are more formal than we are in Malton and Norton, our AGM is usually tacked onto an ordinary meeting. Just as well we can be different, how boring it would be otherwise. It was interesting to meet another local group and see how we differ (mostly the activities we do) and our similarities (mostly frustration with local cafes).

Tuesday was my regular Short Stop phone coordination for LASSN, lassn.org.uk/  It was another quiet Tuesday, a man from Iran and another one from Zimbabwe, both placed quickly, only one phone call from me for each one. It has been quiet recently, but now the weather is getting colder and wetter the street or park option will become less likely, so more calls can be expected. Next week we move up a technological stage, with a constantly updated lists of hosts, so I am hoping for another quiet day whilst I come to terms with how to manage it.

Wednesday was Coasties, www.nationaltrail.co.uk/clevelandway/, we were working on the section of the Cleveland Way south of Scarborough. A section prone to frequent landslips; the path I was clearing of overhanging brambles and nettles is a long standing diversion from when the original fell into the sea many years ago. Unfortunately, being on the edge of the town, it is also a dog walkers' path; much used it seemed by dog owners who imagine that putting their pets' poo in a bag and flinging it in the hedge will magic it away. Actually it won't!

Saturday I was being a Voluntary Ranger for the National Park, www.northyorkmoors.org.uk. However rather than patrol along paths a colleague and I continued work that Coasties had started some months ago. Board walks are useful things when they are maintained, this involves clearing the vegetation from the edges and trying to keep the gaps between the boards clear of detritus so that they can drain. So we used hoes and shears and stiff yard brooms to continue clearing the board walk in Forge Valley, a beautiful National Nature Reserve www.naturalengland.org.uk. If this isn't done the wood, however treated, will eventually rot. However the task would have been easier if the installers had left better gaps between the boards, note to future board walk makers. We didn't finish and hope to come back in the winter to complete the task.

Well that's all for this post. Sorry about the lack of photos, some next time I hope. I am off at the end of the week for ten days, hoping to meet some volunteers in foreign fields, more next time.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Everything seemed to go OK




In my previous post I anticipated several events, well I'm pleased to say that they all went well, at least I thought so.


My presentation on the role of volunteers in maintaining the Cleveland Way to members of the North York Moors Authority, www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/‎, was very well received. Thanks to Andrew, who put together a wonderful collection of photos, and my colleagues in the photos who certainly showed off their skills. My suggestion that perhaps we might be provided with waterproofs has apparently not been entirely dismissed. We shall see...................

A colleague and I from the Malton and Norton Fairtrade group spoke to members of Sight Support Ryedale, sightsupportryedale.org/, about Fairtrade and where to purchase Fairtrade goods locally. We had a very good discussion and even touched on how politics can affect how Fairtrade can operate in many countries. www.fairtrade.org.uk/‎.

So now to new events.

I have been to Coasties twice since I last posted. Once actually on the coast the other time well inland. The first time we were making sure that a section of the Cleveland Way on National Trust land in Ravenscar was looking its best. People from all the National Parks in England were due the following day and we needed a good clear path for them to walk along. It was damp and warm and the midges were biting, but we kept on with the cutting back; the bracken seemed to be their favourite habitat!


a public highway!
the start of the new path

The following week we were making a parallel path to the path on the left. It may not look like it, but this path can be used by any vehicle and so is frequently used by motor bikes, leaving it in the rutted state you can see here. Unfortunately it is also part of the Moors to Sea cycleway and the Tabular Hills footpath. So we set to and cut a path through the bracken, in a couple of weeks part of it will have a hard surface for the bikes and level grass for the walkers. The bikers can carry on making their rutted way through the mud.

Short Stop has been quite quiet recently, which is just as well as many of our lovely hosts now have Long Stop guests. Asylum seekers who may have to wait for many months for their cases to be heard can sometimes be found somewhere to stay for more than just a night; giving them and the hosts some certainty and the opportunity to plan their lives just a little. So I manage to find somewhere for everyone both weeks, even though one week it takes half a dozen calls before I even get to speak to someone. One of my fellow LASSN volunters is upgrading the Short Stop paperwork to keep it all up to date, let's hope this dinosaur will cope, lassn.org.uk/.

Meanwhile I have been contacting local schools about Fairtrade stalls in the run up to Christmas, several have said yes please, so I need to get all those sorted out and then contact my friends at Fairer World in York to arrange picking up the goods for the stalls.www.fairerworldyork.co.uk. However the biggest thing for our local Fairtrade group is our annual two day shop, Friday November 1st and Saturday November 2nd, all day on both days at the Friends' Meeting House in Malton. Planning for that is now well under way, advertising, staffing and refreshments all, I think, under control.

My last activity was attending a local conference of Amnesty International in York last Saturday, www.amnesty.org.uk/,. We discussed extraordinary rendition, conscription and human rights in the chocolate industry amongst other things. Luckily the stall I was running had plenty of Fairtrade chocolate and I was placed right next to a Fairtrade vending machine. So let's end with two pictures.


.
the vending machine at
the Priory Street centre,York
a bar for every taste