I took our youngest down to school and when I got back, Gill was nearly ready to go to her art class. I did a big pile of washing up and made some mushroom and leek soup, from fresh leeks and a bag of very out of date and unidentifiable Chinese or Japanese dried mushrooms, which I'd soaked overnight in cold water. I fried the chopped leek and cut up the 'shrooms into this and added some water and a stock cube, and a bit later, once I'd whizzed it to reasonable smoothness, some red lentils to add a bit of thickness. I've no idea what it'll taste like but the mushrooms needed using as they've been hanging around for ages, sealed in their packet, but taking up room. So, tomorrow night's tea will be that, for me... I doubt the boys will have any, but I'll offer it in case! I've been surprised by their ability to enjoy some mature tastes, on occasions.
I popped round to the bread shop and got a big pile of 'Yesterbake' loaves and rolls, and came back to have an avocado sandwich (one which was thrown away as it had a damaged side... this I cut off for composting, leaving t'other half for a mayo and granary deliciousness...) and at half 12 I jumped back on the bike and zoomed over to the home of an AVP facilitator who was hosting the biannual AVP NEEM meeting. AVP is an organisation I've been involved with since 1995, when I found myself having occasional difficult conflict situations which led to me not respecting myself, and at that time a new group had just been set up in York called Alternatives to Violence Project, and they ran workshops on how to resolve conflicts in a creative and non-violent way. The first weekend course I went on was a revelation... I'd never learned anything like it before and I went away feeling like I could deal better with provocation and things which made me angry, and had previously led to me being verbally and physically aggressive and violent.
Anyway, I joined the organisers and started helping to put on more workshops. I did a further three, all 'level twos' where the participants explore a particular subject in detail. I remember them well despite them being many years back. My first level 2 was 'Anger in the parent-child relationship', which was excellent as I was then still angry about the way my parents had treated me (I've more or less got over this now!) and the pivotal point was when I took part in a role play with me being me and someone else being my father. That was when I realised I could only change myself, not anyone else. The second level 2 was quite odd for me, as it was decided at the beginning of the session by the participants, by consensus. The group chose 'Blame and Forgiveness'. I wasn't very thrilled by this topic, as it didn't seem to relate to me much. However, the weekend showed me that many other people are very much affected by both blaming others and blaming themselves, also forgiving others and forgiving themselves. I realised that I didn't think like many other people and didn't use these concepts... I tended to use the idea of 'responsibility' which, for me, encapsulate all the blame/forgiveness areas. But it was a good workshop, and after a gap of a few years I went on another level 2, on 'self development' which by that time I was exploring in other ways too, not just through AVP.
So, 14 years on and I'm still committed to what AVP is doing. In York we hold 4 community workshops each year, in Doncaster we've a partnership with MIND and run 6 a year. We also run them in prisons and occasionally with other groups. AVP Britain reorganised a while ago and now AVP York is part of AVP North East and East Midlands, or NEEM. We had a good meeting, with representatives from Whitby, Sheffield, York and Manchester (a member of one of the AVPB bodies). I always enjoy these meetings and it was productive, with another interesting partnership on the near horizon (with a hostel for the homeless) and news of prisoners from an open prison attending a community workshop, which is good. This meeting ran from about 1pm til just before 5, and I was pleased to meet a new person, just recently trained up as a facilitator, and a facilitator who heard me enthusing about AVP a few years ago and got involved... I didn't know til today it was my talk to her group which caused her to become involved. That makes me happy!
Home via George Hudson St where I got rid of an invoice which I should have done weeks ago... but, better late than never!
Boys playing video games when I got in so I went in the front room where it was quieter.
Tea was nice... more mashed root mix, home made 'baked beans' and toasted cheese on a roll (thanks Richard... better to feed me than feed chickens!!!)
Popped out at midnight once I'd done another batch of washing up to get the neighbours fence which she offered me, and today asked me to take away. I did it quietly.