Saturday, 25 July 2020

Keeping in touch - edition 5

Hi All, I hope this email finds you well and enjoying the summer, is it sunny with you all, it absolutely threw it down this morning here in Dunbar but the sun is making an appearance at the moment and it's lovely and warm. I was looking through all the pictures I have taken whilst being furloughed and it amazes me that the first few weeks worth of pictures I'm in my big waterproof with my hat and gloves and slowly I've shed the layers and my accessories and now it's my sunglasses and shirt sleeves.

My apologies for not being in touch sooner, I had wanted to wait until I had some better news but as the UK slowly finds it's way back from the old norm to the new norm, I wanted to bring you up to speed as to what I know about when we maybe returning to volunteering. 

Tomorrow we should be at Hardcastle Crags (picture taken from this time last year), but alas we will not be. Craig Best who is the  West Yorkshire Operations Manager and is based at Hardcastle Crags sends us very detailed emails about what is going on at the properties he looks after.  These include Marsden Moor and Hardcastle Crags.  He emailed earlier this month and I've taken an extract from it for you to read: "I do understand that many volunteers would like to return.  We are not yet in a position to return back to normal volunteering.  My staff team still remains as a skeleton team with many staff undertaking a range of tasks rather than their normal roles.  We are not yet able to support large teams of volunteers and there are many volunteer roles that are not needed yet i.e. volunteer rangers or house volunteers."

This is also true in the Lakes, as you may remember I informed you in the last edition that our weekend in the Lakes has been cancelled.  When the High Wray Basecamp Ranger got in touch to inform of this cancellation she told me she was not yet back at the basecamp and was working out of the Coniston office doing car park duty, litter picking and toilet cleaning.

Matt North, Lead Ranger for the Dark Peak had this to say when I emailed him about our most recent workday we were supposed to have at Hayfield in July: "Iain is also furloughed along with Mark and I have no idea when he and other team members are returning.  As a result the ranger team is very short on the ground at the moment and only able to manage safety and security issues in the Dark Peak.  In combination with the lack of people to support you, as you point out we are having to work to current Government guidelines, although these are currently relaxing almost on a weekly basis.  Please contact me about the August date closer to the time and I can let you know if anything has changed.  I certainly hope so as we have a big list of jobs we need to catch up on."   With a big list of jobs to do let's hope we can go back there sooner rather than later.

Picture taken when the group was last at Hayfield on 15th March 2020:

I thought this next extract from Craig Best was important for you to read too as I feel it sums up how the decision making process within the Trust and its properties is being made: “Before I go I wanted to assure you that I am considering how we bring back volunteers almost on a daily basis and when it is either safe to do so or when volunteer roles are needed we will be in touch on an individual basis.  Clearly some roles are just not needed for the moment and we are restricted to small numbers of volunteers largely down to the fact I do not have many staff to support.”

When I asked Chris at Lyme earlier this month for a confirmation of a replacement workday he came back to me saying that although he couldn't confirm it he wanted to let me know that "We have just brought back our first volunteers to Lyme yesterday and they are only doing tasks which are solitary, e.g. litter picking and boundary checks.  We will see how this goes with a view to hopefully opening up some other volunteering opportunities as soon as we can.  Despite not having volunteer groups in at the moment I am thinking of jobs which can still be carried out safely with social distancing measures in place.  The group will hopefully be pleased to know that Rhodi cut and burn is one of the tasks that I think we could do very safely 😊."  I think this task will please a lot of our members!

I had wanted to bring you better news than this but I'm really sorry I couldn't.  Some of our volunteers do still volunteer at properties including Styal and Lyme and some have looked elsewhere for small group and even solitary volunteering opportunities.  If any of them want to let us know what they have been up to on site then please email us to let us know.  I think it will be a while before we will be back volunteering.

For fun, in this edition I'm sending you a recipe.  It's a favourite of mine: Picnic Slice

2oz Butter
4oz Caster Sugar
1 Egg Beaten
2oz Sultanas
2oz Glace Cherries
4oz Desiccated Coconut
6oz Bar of Chocolate
Make this recipe Gluten Free by checking the chocolate is Gluten Free I used Lindt 70% Choc

1) Melt Choc and pour into shallow baking tin let it set
2) Cream Butter and Sugar, Add beaten Egg and stir in remaining ingredients
3) Spread evenly other set Choc, Bake until lightly brown for about 15 - 20 mins on Fan 150C
4) Remove from oven, leave for 5 mins cut into slices leave until cold

For those looking to tax your brains a bit here are some fun questions from the local quiz master here in Dunbar.  Answers will of course follow :-)

First Lines of Children’s Books Quiz

“Can you name 10 well-known children’s books from their opening lines?”

1.  Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.

2.  A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.

3.  'Where's Papa going with that axe?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

4.  Dennis was different.

5.  Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife.

6.  It was Mrs. May who first told me about them.

7.  The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day.

8.  The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.

9.  The pretty little Swiss town of Mayenfield lies at the foot of a mountain range, whose grim rigged peaks tower high above the valley below.

10.  Sophie couldn't sleep.

I love hearing about and seeing what you have been up to so if you would like us to feature something that you have been up to, do send us a quick email so we can let the group know.  This could include pictures from your daily routine or that socially distanced picnic in the park, glorious goings on in your garden, brilliant bakes you think we should try or what about that awesome fact you just found out that left you wandering around your house dumbstruck.

We also wanted you to still feel part of a group in these strange times, so, we have to put together a WhatsApp Group for all of us to keep in touch.  If you would like to be part of this then please send us your mobile number so we can add you to the group.

Until next time

Keep safe and well 

Your MNTV Committee

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