Saturday, 10 December 2011

Sunday 16th October 11

Another good day.... did a successful if quite difficult gig and then had an interesting evening out with David.

So, the party was in Bishopthorpe at 2pm, so I set out at about 1.20 and got there at 1.45, got set up and over 40 children piled in and excitedly ran round and round, noisy and, well, as you would expect of 5 and 6 year olds.

The party went pretty much as expected, apart I had to be more strict than I like, as they were very excitable and restless, and then when I demonstrated the 4 wheel unicycle, one axle broke.  I must remember to take a spare in case that happens.  It didn't detract too much from the party and, actually, meant we finished that part of the show on time.  Birthday tea took quite a bit longer than average, leaving only 25 minutes for the balloon modelling, which usually takes 30 to 45 minutes, so I had to cut that short at the end.

Anyway, several parents said that it was a good party, and one requested a business card, and by 4.25 I was away, heading for home.

I didn't have long, though, before going out to David's, as he was going to a lecture at St John's University, held by the William Temple Association. The talk was by Gill Martin, who amongst other things works at The Haven Project in Hull and Solace in Leeds.

She spoke about the different sorts of refugees and asylum seekers... those who have been smuggled, and those who are trafficked.  They include families and lone children/minors, and come from the Congo, Zimbabwe, Eastern Europe (eg. Kossovo) and more recently, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. They face a number of stresses, including what they've left behind (maybe war, religious persecution), the journey and what they've experienced once here in the UK, where they may have been used as slaves or prostitutes, and may be having difficulties with racism, the cold weather, unfamiliar food, language, isolation and poor housing.

York did not put itself forward to take refugees in 2000 when the Government decided to locate them in other parts of the UK.  Hull, Sheffield, Leeds, Huddersfield all did, but York does now have some and therefore we now have Refugee Action York as well as YUMI.  Gill Martin works with various organisations, and provides counselling and psychotherapy, support and advice.

The talk was very illuminating, and shocking, and there was a bit of interesting discussion afterwards.  Following this there was a short Christian service called Compline, with prayers rattled off like nursery rhymes... I didn't know any of them or the format of the service.  So, a fascinating evening, and David enjoyed it a lot.

I took him home and soon after 9.30 I left, and headed to Walmgate Stray, where the People and Planet students were having a little bonfire.  I chatted with several of them, and showed them the whereabouts of the pile of brash the Council has said they're going to burn, and brought a few branches over for their bonfire.

I spent about an hour there and went soon after 10.30, and was up til well after 2 doing assorted things, including fruit and washing up.

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