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Sunday, 30 November 2014

some additions to my small society

Before I come on to the item in the title I thought you might like to see the audience for a recent Coasties task www.northyorkmoors.org.uk. Whilst we cut back the trees encroaching on a bridleway next to their field they watched and watched and watched. They say cattle are curious, well these certainly were. It was earlier this month, when there were still some sunny days and I took this picture on the right on the way home. Not for the first time I thought how lucky I am to be able to volunteer in such a beautiful area. It seems to have been a month for bridleways, until last week when we had the most wonderful bonfire, working with the National Trust www.nationaltrust.org.uk at Ravenscar, alas I forgot my camera, so you will have to take my word for it.

The addition is a truly shocking fact, that here in a comparatively wealthy part of the country we have a food bank, ryedale.foodbank.org.uk. And no you can't just get a parcel if you feel like it, or don't want to go shopping. You have to fulfil strict criteria and then be referred by someone like a health visitor or a doctor. I am going to be helping by moving donated food from the collecting places to the 'warehouse' where it is checked for dates, sorted and packed into suitable packs for families, single people etc. I had a long chat with the organiser, whose dearest aim is not to have a job, but we both thought that, sadly, that might be a long term aim. I have slight issues with the fact, that, like most food banks, it is part of the Trussell Trust www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-projects, which is a Christian based organisation, but as they are happy to have Humanists like me involved I won't moan any more. What a disgrace it is that one of the richest countries in the world has reduced some of its citizens to having to rely on food parcels.

I had a good evening at the LASSN lassn.org.uk offices; after meeting my friend and once again spending time on the phone trying to sort out the endless saga of her fuel bill. I gave  up trying to understand when a helpful young man told me that, despite the bill showing an increased amount, actually she could now pay less each month. Later several of the volunteers had a useful hour discussing how we could meet up more often and share ideas and good practice. I have agreed to become a Trustee (if I am elected at the AGM), in the New Year, having said no committees when I retired, we shall see how long I last!

There have been several Fairtrade www.fairtrade.org.uk/ stalls since I last blogged. At this time of the year the crafts always sell well; people still surprised that Fairtrade now goes well beyond the original coffee, tea and chocolate. Our latest venture was at a craft fair in the Milton Rooms in Malton www.themiltonrooms.com/. A bigger picture than usual so you can see some of the crafts available. Tomorrow I will be taking some of these and other pocket money items to two local schools so that their pupils can buy presents for their families and help families in developing countries at the same time. Thank you to West Heslerton and St Mary's Malton. Trade is better than Aid. thanks to Fairer World in York for providing the goods www.fairerworldyork.co.uk/

A bit of a sad week ahead as Coasties says goodbye to one of our Rangers; a victim of the wholly unnecessary cuts that are decimating out public services for vindictive political reasons that have nothing to do with any sensible economic policies. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

the blog has returned

Why has the blog come back now? This beautiful wind turbine is on a farm between Ravenscar and Staintondale; yesterday there was hardly a breath of wind and yet it was turning and generating clean power for the farmer. So well done the farmer and well done to the National Park www.northyorkmoors.org.uk for giving it planning permission. I felt that the latest report on climate change meant that those of us who know that climate change is largely human made and support renewables needed to stand up and be counted. So as well as my reporting on the usual aspects of my small society I am now adding what I have done or seen to help in the struggle for increased renewable energy supplies. Just behind this farm is a small building which belongs to the Society of Friends www.quaker.org.uk, as well as its own wind turbine it also has a solar panel in the garden.

a recycled Fairtrade  reindeer
watches over Christmas gifts

fairly traded toys
Many of the farmers that Fairtrade, www.fairtrade.org.uk/, supports are at risk of  rising sea levels, others are at risk of the desert creeping closer; so our annual shop in Malton is important in both raising the profile of Fairtrade and increasing their sales. Over two days and despite dreadful weather we sold over £1600 worth of Fairtrade food, gifts and Christmas cards. Thank you to Fairer World www.fairerworldyork.co.uk/ in York for providing us with all the shop's stock.

This afternoon I took some Fairtrade food and Christmas items to a meeting of the local Sight Savers group, sightsupportryedale.org/, thank you to them for inviting me and buying so generously.

Tomorrow I am off to Leeds to see my 'leave to stay' friend and meet other volunteers at LASSN, lassn.org.uk/. Over tea and coffee we will catch up with new ideas and exchange helpful thoughts with other people also trying to support these very vulnerable, and at times wrongly maligned, small group of people living amongst us.

Coasties as usual on Wednesday, so now that the blog has returned you will be able to catch up with the cutting back and drain clearing next week.