Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Choose love

It's been such a hectic two months with so many responsibilities and now it's over and life is returning to normal, and I'm wondering what to tell you about. 

One thing that's happened is that I received some hefty criticism of the latest draft of the novel from a friend of a friend. At first when I read what she said in her email I mentally reared back and felt pretty pissed off. But then I thought about it some more and we had a meaty correspondence in which we explored her reservations and I did a lot of thinking. It's been very helpful, and now I'm considering a radical rewrite. So watch this space. This book is going to be good. I'm going to make it irresistible to literary agents who so far as a bunch have been resisting it. I'm determined with this one. It's going to happen. You're just going to have to wait a little bit longer.

Amongst other busy-ness, there have been two refugee hospitality days which have required a lot of planning and heaps more energy.  A couple of years ago Bakewell churches had a joint meeting to decide how we could help refugees and asylum seekers, when we don't actually have any in Bakewell, and we decided that as well as going into the nearby city of Sheffield to volunteer, we could offer Bakewell itself. It's such an attractive place with the river running through it, a lovely park, and beautiful Peak District surroundings. These pictures below were taken in winter, but you can get my drift.

Photo by Isaac Hepworth

Photo by Isaac Hepworth

So we pay for transport for refugees and asylum seekers in Sheffield to come out for the day. They never get out of the city because on £37 a week (which is what asylum seekers get as benefit) they can't afford it. It's a one day treat, which of course does nothing for their long term plight, but we figure it's valid as a kind of respite. It's also a demonstration of warmth and care and friendship in a world that's becoming increasingly hostile to people in need. We provide craft activities where our visitors make lovely things they can take home, 

games for the children, and a delicious home cooked lunch - and I'm not talking soup and rolls, I'm talking about the kind of food you'd provide for honoured guests. This year our guests have been survivors of human trafficking.

They are happy days, and for the volunteers they're also exhausting: only two of them are under 60, and many are over 70. Playing with toddlers who require constant hands-on attention, or playing football and cricket in the park with a bunch of primary age kids takes a lot of energy. We will carry on for as long as we can. 

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