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Friday, 16 January 2015

back after a solstice break

Some may call it Christmas and the New Year, some may call it the winter solstice and the feast of Saturnalia; whatever your choice we volunteers take a break. None of my activities are involved with the emergency services so I stop for a while, huddle indoors in the dark and feed and water my family. My last activity was a food bank run, hopefully with supplies to last whilst even the food bank was closed, Just before the break I met a friend in Leeds who said to me in disbelief, "you're telling me you have a food bank in Ryedale!" Indeed we do, we would rather not, but that is the reality of life in the apparent prosperity of my home town.

lunch break
the view back as we left
First back were the Coasties, but on a Thursday and with all the rest of the North York Moors volunteers, , it was our annual Supertask. We were planting oak trees on a slope cleared from its previous cover of conifers. Or rather not completely cleared; we dug and stumbled amongst the brash left by the felling contractors, but the sun shone and we chatted and planted. By the end of the day we had planted over 1000 trees. If you travel on the North York Moors Railway you can see the hill side between Pickering and Levisham stations 

an old privy?
Then I did a Ranger patrol between Thornton Dale and Dalby forest, does anyone know what this curious brick structure is just south of Sand Dale? The forest may seem rather dull in the winter, but then this amazing lichen comes along to liven it up, the picture on the right. 

Next up was the AGM of LASSN, Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network, I have ?rashly? agreed to become a Trustee, a member of a committee, how mad am I? After years of committee work I had said never again, but it is very good cause and only six meetings a year, we go. Before the meeting I meet a new person to befriend, she is lonely as she has been sent here from London where all her friends are. We chat for an hour and I agree to come back next week. I also manage to see my 'leave to remain' friend, who is still having the most bizarre struggles with her gas provider. They want her to pay less each month to pay off the debt that their incompetence led her into. I persuade them that she can, just, afford to go on paying the higher amount and wants to. Words fail me.

At one of the social evenings that are our local Fairtrade meetings, in a pub, of course, we sort out our now annual local and Fairtrade Craft Fair. We are also excited that very soon we will have our very own website, watch this space. Meanwhile here is the snazzy poster for our craft fair. We also plan our activities and displays for Fairtrade Fortnight, end of February and beginning of March.

my long shadow in
the winter sun
packing up, job done
Lastly another day in the sun for Coasties, but very cold. We are cutting back overgrowing hedges on the Cleveland Way north of Cloughton, However the work makes me warm enough to have to take off my hat and scarf. We even find a sheltered place for lunch, the views are stupendous, all the way to Flamborough head.