Saturday, 25 July 2009

Runima Kakoty: River Dearne

Image by Runima Kakoty

Himalayan Balsam and Sycamore tresses.
Traces of litter and water marks
reach for the boughs of trees.
Rippling water flows through tranquility .
Wheels abandoned to water.
Reflections of rain clouds
marshmallows on a blue background.
Hues of cadmine,
orange iron ore,
colour the soil of the river bank.

River Dearne,
Mother to Barnsley,
your serenity and half hidden wonder
fill me with amazement!!

Dearne Workshop

On Saturday, a group of participants in the Rivers Project met in Barnsley at the Black Monk Inn Pub for a workshop. First we walked briefly along the river (I still have my doubts if that ditch can be called a river...)., then we met at Runima Kakoty's house where we discussed ongoing projects. One of the activities there was to define a A-Z for the Wiki that is currently in development: it has been set up last week, and the pages are being filled with content. Anyone who is interested in participating and editing the Wiki, please let me know.

Monday, 20 July 2009

"The Rivers Projects"

The title that was given to this project as "The Rivers Project" (during the Yorkshire Post Award Ceremony) has evolved into "The Rivers Projects". The original project that has started out by linking rivers in various parts of the world, now has created a set of individual projects that are part of this overall activity umbrella.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Project Developments - Now and Future

(This was sent to me by Brian)


Nidd - Harrogate
Rother - Rotherham
Don - Doncaster
Frome - Frome
Trent - Scunthorpe
Avon - Strattord
Went - Wentbridge
- Stafford


Eritrean Rivers

Aire Bridge Arts, Leeds Met University and Malham
Dearne Barnsley TUC/Cooper Gallery, Mill of the Black Monks
Calder Centre for Alternative Technology, Hebden Bridge


Two projects are outstripping the others: Malhamdale and the River Dearne


We have already collected a lot of material and we are now proposing a major gathering on Monday 10 August. Some of us hope to go up on the previous night and stay over. The main 'Meet will be 11.00 am on Monday outside the Buck Inn in the centre of Malham. This will be a 'waters' walk.

There will be a follow up to discuss plans and progress at the Friends Meeting House, Beelks Court just off Beast Fair on 10.00 am on Saturday 15 August.

The Malham Community are interested and we are talking about local government involvement and possibly inputs from the Environment Development Agency.

River Dearne

We meet at Mill of the Black Monks, Grange Lane, Cundy Cross, Barnsley (8 Minutes East from Centre of Barnsley) on Saturday 25 July 10.30am. Have a cup of tea and then walk the river. Lunch prices from another cup of tea to about 10 £ (last time it was really good veggi Food). After lunch we travel across town to Runima Kakoty's House. (Big house and Garden, the Hawthornes, Kereforth Hall Road,) for an afternoon workshop. Writing, Drawing, Creative technology. I estimate between 10 and 20 participants.

This is rapidly developing into a major project. We already have an Exhibition space in Barnsley in February 2010 for a major Rivers Project.

The local authority are interested.

Pam Oxley is already processing material.


I have had several major meetings in the near future including one with the South Yorkshire MEP. We are looking for a European Dimension.


Barnsley Barnsley February 2010
Castleford Bridge Arts. Hopefully May 2010
York To be arranged August 2010

The Rivers Project Movement

(this was sent to me by Brian)

A Rivers Project exists when autonomous individuals choose to collaborate and take action because of a united concern over climate change. The River's Movement is the sum of these singular projects,

Our enthusiasm comes from a desire to create environmental and social harmony by using the arts, creative technology and science. Most organisations concentrate on settlements or communities but rather than doing this we focus is on rivers. We believe that this concentration provides a robust focus for environmental concerns and community education. We concentrate on doing things such as writing readable government reports, poems,

We see no reason to have a strong central organisation. Each river or part of a river has its own group of people and we favour this cellular model. Groups and individuals network with each other and in that way develop their own traditions and ways of working. An individual can belong to more than one group. Collaboration comes through action by those who wish to collaborate on projects.

The Rivers Projects started out linking organisations in Gujarat and Yorkshire, and in 2009 received a climate change award (sponsored by the Environment Agency) from the Yorkshire Post. We are now international, and all the time more and more river groups in the UK are contacting us.

Towards Aims and Objectives

On 15.July we (Brian, Helen, Lee, myself) had a meeting in Brian's house to focus on aims and objectives.

Here is a summary:

Since we were meeting on 15 July Helen, Reinhold, Lee and Brian discussed the principles of the River's Project and Reinhold typed in notes. What follows are not definitive conclusions. Brian benefitted fom seeing Lee and Helen's notes they worked in isolation and sent these by early next morning.

My Rivers Project Notes (Brainstorming)

The rivers project is dedicated to creating awareness of climate change.

The people who are part in the rivers project are very concerned with climate change and its causes.

Integral community involvement

Who: Individuals that can be defined by roles, occupations, what they like to offer

Committed Supportive organisation:
Pontefract Press
Leeds Metropolitan University
Barnsley Northern College

We are an international federation of groups and individuals who correspond and support each other using email and come together for major projects … collaboration …

Main rationale: climate change awareness

Type of projects: Writing, Painting, Photography, Videa, Power Point Crafts, Creative Technology, Science of Climate, Water Technology and so on, and on

We are about Artistic and social Cultures and sharing models of practise. We are a Vehicle for exchanges

Global perspectives: rivers in different places

Disadvantage and inequality

Rather than concentrating on places and issues, we have concentrated on rivers, for we believe that many of the social whatevers.. can be looked-at from the rivers’ perspective

We are not concentrating on specific places but on rivers for they contain a variety of settlements and geo-physical….

We are seeking Harmony, not domination, Harmony and unity

The process is the core and the process can be located in art, creative technology, science but also in poetry, storytelling, gossip.

Rivers projects need not reference any central organisation
Organisations do not need to register with any central organisation
Relies on email, blog
Autonomous for individuals who choose to collaborate

A rivers project exists when individuals choose to collaborate.

This is for people who are concerned about climate change and wish to create environmental and social harmony by taking action using creative arts, technology, and science

We are international, although in the initial stages we saw the benefits of linking Gujarat with Yorkshire. Since the, other countries and rivers from other parts of the country have come into the program.

In 2009 the Rivers Project won an Award in the category "Climate Change" as judged the Yorkshire Post.
Environmental Agency ... for a joint project between groups …

The project started out linking organisations in Gujarat and Yorkshire.

Jean-Paul Sartre: 'In the case of absence of certainty action should take the place of speculative thought.'


Thank you Reinhold for this and also to Lee and Brian for our discussions. It is lovely to read all those thoughts, that we expressed individually and as a group. There is something intangible about the ‘spirit’ of the project that becomes more tangible though no less poetic when reading this collection of statements and thoughts.

I particularly like the process part – and this is what makes it tangible and intangible at once isn’t it?

‘Rather than concentrating on places and issues, we have concentrated on rivers, for we believe that many of the social whatevers.. can be looked-at from the rivers’ perspective’.

This reminds me of something Falguni said about listening to rivers. I think she was right about some of the answers to local and global problems - they can be found through sharing information ideas approaches skills and knowledge, and for that we need to learn how to listen and maybe listening to rivers is a good place to start

Best wishes



The Rivers Projects exist when autonomous individuals choose to collaborate and take action in the united concern over climate change. This goal is facilitated by the desire to create environmental and social harmony through using the arts, creative technology and science.

Rather than concentrating on places and issues, the focus is on the theme of rivers. For those participating in The Rivers Projects, the adopted basic principal would be that the river of any given locality could transcend fragile social boundaries through the unifying ideology of environmental concern and education.

The core of The Rivers Projects is in the processes and actions undertaken by its members, and so there is no central organisation, and there is also no need for The Rivers Projects to register with any central organisation. Its members are a networked group that support and collaborate through their projects.

The Rivers Projects started out linking organisations in Gujarat and Yorkshire, and in 2009 received a climate change award (sponsored by the Environment Agency) from the Yorkshire Post. Since then, projects have become international as well as expanding to more rivers in the UK.

The River Dearne Project

(received this from Brian and post it here)

River Dearne Project

Helped by a grant from The Barnsley TUC Training Trust, three Indian visitors came over from Gujarat and took part in the first two rivers Projects. We collected a lot of material which is currently being processed. I found this piece, written in one of the eight Minute sessions so interesting that I thought I would send it on to you to look at and to put onto the Blog. we think that it is by Mitali Baxi but it might be by Kiran Joshi.

In Indian scripture water is perceived as the root element of life, it is from water that life emerged. In Sanskrit we find ‘Jal Iti Jivanam’ – ‘water is life’.

The river is an ever conscious realiy. She is ever sensitive to her past, her present and her future – it is there at a time. She glows in a total harmony with her surfacing ripples and her inner vibrations. The river is indeed a journey from surviving to existing through de-becoming. The river is an integrative principle of life representing the lively traits of human existence.

‘When we touch Narmada in Gujarat, the Dearne in UK is touched too.’

Most of the cultures on this globe were formed around the rivers. Hence, river becomes a natural ‘Guru’ (teacher) to lead out all that is grand in our heritage. Today we mean to make conscious efforts to restore the primordial educative force of river for in this process is the the peace and well being of human kind.

The ‘Rivers Project’ rises to this sublime force and becomes a precursor of natural education aiming at unity and bliss of mankind.

In the afternoon we are going back to Runima Kakoty's house for a joint workshop.

Artists, writers, creative technologist and scientists are all welcome.

Brian Lewis

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Global Poverty (by Anila Q Haq)

(Written in Scunthorpe)

This earth has wept a million tears
for others it can weep no more.

The empty dry, blue, barren skies,
The marriage between the sun and rain,
The seed that refuses to take blame,
Riverbanks crumble, no place to hide.

The cracks go deep in places unseen
where rivers once ran wild and free
and soil aged onwards, slowly, patiently.

The sky that wept a trillion tears
for others it can weep no more.

Eyes that stare with out a care,
hopeless existence in deserts bare,
The hungry child that cries for life.
A mother’s heart tired, a heart of ice.
The death of many, the cry of blame

Too many lost,
Too many born -
Is now for many the very norm.

Hope torn. The cries, the pain,
The loss of much with little gain.

Brahmaputra (by Runima Kakoty)

(written in Barnsley)

Promises made,
Dipping toes in topaz water,
Conches blowing in nearby villages
Still night, velvety smoothness
Bright eyes, hopes and dreams
Fireflies twinkling over rippling waves ……

Conches no more
Water overflowing
Hopes and dreams fading
Waves dancing demons
Promises broken!!

Report from Brian on Recent Developments

( Brian Lewis sent me this on Friday: )

After starting from three Rivers in India and three in the UK, we now have people wishing to form groups on the Nidd, Went, Wharfe, Don, Trent, Avon and Frome to join the Aire, Calder and Dearne. Some rivers have two or more groups on them and people are travelling to work with each other. Considering we have no central organisation, no money and no enthusiasm for either (Editorial comment by me: actually, I do have some enthusiasm for the latter...), and that this Blog and the telephone is everything have, we are doing well.

We have had a lot of interesting mail this last fortnight. Three letters stand out.
The first one came from the Harrogate University of the Third Age and was especially interesting because it made it clear that we perhaps ought to get down to saying something about our formal Aims and Objectives. A meeting at Leeds Metropolitan University took the same line.

My initial response was to wait to see where our unusual growth pattern will take us and then pause and say exactly who we are. However the enthusiasm of Lee Gascoyne and Helen Meszaros (see the other two letters) made me rethink.

Aims and Objectives - Rivers Project

Dear Siggie

Many thanks for your email. It was appreciated. This is my personal opinion.

The Rivers Project will support groups and individuals who emerge and who use the arts, creative technology and science to return places to environmental harmony. The action at this stage emphasises adult creativity. We are very concerned about climate change and its causes. We are an international federation of groups and individuals who correspond and support each other using email and come together for major projects.

I do not see a need at this stage to spend a lot of time on Aims and Objectives. It is like asking a lover, ‘What are the likely outcomes of this relationship and can you tell me where you expect us to be in six months time.’ Those who approach life in this way are generally doomed and deservedly so in my opinion. Hitler and Lenin did it Gandhi and Jesus didn't. Organisations which last long evolve and adapt to the current environment. Some groupings emerge because of a social need. Most political parties have manifestos and their followers spend over much time defending them and the opposition attacking them to the extent that this becomes the primary occupation. Religions have their sacred books and debate minutia. Take a look at the origins of Islam for another example and compare it with the way it currently functions.

You admit that ‘making us all aware of the importance of rivers is very clear’ and further say that ‘exchanging knowledge between countries is valid’. Strength comes from actions not words.

(Author's name withheld)

This letter came following the Conference at Northern College. I loved it because it hit a lot of key concerns and was quirky. It also highlighted the disappearance of public money systems and the need for a break with the tradition of looking for a bucket full before you start to rethink.

Hi Brian

I met you last week at Northern College at the Global Perspectives conference
We talked amongst other things about Sufism, Mulla Nasrudin and how special is laughter! It helps us to think, maybe help our thoughts to bend around difficult concepts and circumstances. Maybe help us to find new perspectives. Maybe even help our souls to reach new levels of consciousness?

The conference was really timely for me with other lessons especially over this last year, formal and informal education going at such a pace that the curve is in danger of running backwards. I really enjoyed meeting a lot of people who were in some way united in trying to form a vision whether about education, being in humanity on this planet of a better world, and a better way of organising. I really enjoyed the talk from the union guy about international organising, in different ways, like with home workers and rubbish pickers. I felt like I wanted to open up the discussion to community based organising against the BNP which Searchlight is trying to do.

The talks and discussions about the Rivers Projects were utterly inspiring and fit in with a theme in teaching for me this year which has taken place in a building called ‘RAIN’ in the centre of Rotherham, which has both had a leaking roof and we (me and young people) – have flooded upstairs with our wonderful blue paint which was supposed to create a relaxing ‘mood board’ and a sense of serenity but in fact led to a near disaster whereupon our most disturbingly silent member spoke for the first time in class, created the most amazing art work and then team work and cooperation followed– the overall aim of the course – in a big clean up in the hope that we wouldn't be banned from the building!

So my heart was very open to the idea of water and rivers bonding people and used as not just a specific area for organising, we need water to survive and needs to not be polluted, we need equity, Everybody needs water, but also the imagery of water and ancient Indian wisdom.

I am very interested in being involved with exploring notions of Community and community work and community development. I have done some work on this in the past and would very much like to hear about Indian and other perspectives and approaches. When practice teaching last year in a refugee organisation I met a worker from India who was talking about welfare services adn the state and the different conceptions people have of each other in India. She said to me that everyone was seen as a stakeholder, not in the New Labour sense, but in the sense that a service user is not a ‘client’ (with two heads if you look to see how people are sometimes treated) but citizens, a service provider one day might be a service user another. I thought that was interesting.

So thank you for your part in all of that and for being a person who was open enough to share enthusiasm. It was a welcome relief. I would like to find out more. I've attached my CV it only shows one part of a person thought doesn't it?
If you have the write up about working in Rotherham with young people and unemployment let me know, if you haven't I can start it again.

Best wishes
Helen Meszaros

Lee, a painter from Barnsley, came to a meetings in Wakefield and Castleford went to the Dearne workshop at the Cooper Gallery, he then picked up the fact from the Blog and the fact that he had already started a co-operative with Reinhold, that we were going up to Malham with our visitors from India, and he drove there.

Hi Brian,

Malham was impressive. I went to Janet's Foss first and then Gordale Scar, which I climbed to the top of before walking along the ridge to Malham Cove. It's there that I bumped into Falguni, Kiran and Mitali, then dropped back down into Malham. I got your note thanks. Reinhold phoned me mid-walk to say he had to leave almost as soon as he got there (to get to Leeds airport).

I was thinking that it would be good (and may already exist) to have a running list of active participants of the Rivers Project that could be broken down roughly to artist and writers etc? The list or update could include what each member is doing and at what stage they are at.

I also thought that it may be worth while expanding the visual artists' side of the project, as a divergence from the literary content in that there could be progress workshops where the artists get together and show where they are heading, discuss deadlines and make plans etc?

If I had a list of artists on board, I would be happy to do some admin.

The offer to do some admin was especially useful and as a result the requested list is evolving. Helen, Lee, Reinhold and Brian are also preparing some definitions of what we are now calling The Rivers Movement and statements about what we are trying to achieve. We are all committed to avoiding too many meetings for we see a cellular structure that does things and not just talks about them.

We are now seeing products. Bob (Aire) is making Rivers' Silk Scarves, Rachel(Calder) a Children's book and Porl (Went) a video set to music. Rosie (Don) and Stina (Frome) a collaborative book. ZS, working with his community has written a book text analysis water problems in his home land. Brian and Runima are planning joint work on BL's epic 'The Brahma of Soljitra'. Poems are coming in, and they will be posted in other blog posts. We have already got ones by Ray (Rother), Brian (Aire) and Julie (Avon ) translated into Gujarati and two of them recorded and sung in Gujarati.

The Future

"Every artist an administator and every administator a working artist"

We are now putting together a workshop programme but two Moots (Meetings for everyone) are already on offer. Two major projects which will need a collaborative work across the arts, creative technology and the sciences are emerging: Dearne and Malhamdale.

Saturday 25 July Mill of the Black Monks, Grange Lane, Cundy cross, Barnsley S71 5QF @ 10-30am in preparation for an extended workshop at Runima's home in Barnsley in the afternoon.

Monday 10 August, Outside the Buck Inn, Malham @ 11-00am. We already have a lot of material but this will be a big project. Follow up and Friends Meeting House, Pontefract Saturday 15 August @ 10-00am to discuss and look at work which has been thought about and plan a way forward in Malham and elsewhere. THIS DATE NEEDS TO BE CONFIRMED 01977 79312.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

From the Conference in Barnsley

At the conference "Global Perspectives in Adult Learning" which was held at the Northern College in Barnsley from 3.-5.July, Brian Lewis held a session about "A Book in 8 Minutes" to which all the participants contributed a brief segment that they could write down within 8 minutes.

After collecting all the input from the participants, Zeraslasie Shiker sent this out to each participant on behalf of Brian:

Letter to participants of Global Perspectives' Book

Dear friends,

Pam is currently working on the book on 8 minutes document and we expect to send that out very soon, possibly today. Brian and I have received text from several people and since the piece from Paul Smedley is about right length we are sending that to you. Some of you might want to write additional material??.

Deadline as soon as possible but definitely not later than Thursday, 6 August 2009.

Some people are experimenting for instance Anila from Scunthorpe has sent a very interesting poem on global poverty. I have also adapted a small section of my current manuscript Eritrea: rivers, wells and water (Z. Shiker).

Additional material.

A new idea. If you can thing of a person who is alive or dead and exemplifies the idea of one world. Or a world movement which exemplifies a one world approach. Send us an example.

To illustrate this Brian takes as the man he admires and exemplifies a one world view as the Emperor Akbar a contemporary of the Queen of Elizabeth I of England. Brian writes approximately one 100 words.

“I like the Emperor Akbar because he was a great unifier. Illiterate – we think he suffered from an advanced form of dyslexia he spent more money on commissioning books than he did on his army. He practised tolerance and in his India all religions (and people with no religion) were acceptable. One of his favourites wives was a Hindu princesses who was encouraged to practise her religion. Akbar knew that religious intolerance is a great evil.”

I take Barak Obama because he showed the world that human beings regardless of their colour and background can work towards world unity. He will lead by example as he is the President of the current only super power country in the World. He appreciates global issues that factors world peace, security and cooperation. He will work across cultures. But I am not naive from my experience that people (politicians) might not live as to your expectation.

Who would be woman or man, historical or living who you admire and who's views would advance the one world order?

An example of a newly arrived text which describes a current problem and how it related to Paul's work and what changes he would like to make.

The issue of child protection is often raised as a major issue after a tragedy strikes. All too often politicians and bureaucrats wring their hands and pontificate when “the system” fails yet again and another innocent and voiceless life is destroyed.

In global terms unachievable aspirations such as the Millennium Development Goals are held aloft as propaganda to give the appearance of “doing something” and to win votes. Other European nations, particularly the Scandinavians, have a far more enlightened perspective in dealing with vulnerable children. They do not criminalise youth and when intervention is necessary it is far more effective. The proportion of children who enter the care system in these countries is far lower than the UK and there is clear evidence that those who do go on to achieve the majority of the outcomes we have set for our own children under Every Child Matters.

In my work I can only hope that practitioners I teach can make their voices heard above the political double-speak bureaucratic incompetence and criminal negligence. The ethos of “The Best Interest of the Child” is the correct one but in an effort to achieve targets, budgets and other politically motivated criteria, the practical application is lost. The fear of being judged, castigated and ridiculed by a flawed system and some sections of the media often restricts practitioners in enabling vulnerable children achieve the safety and security they deserve.
Educating children, their families and those charged with the duty of their care more holistically, will promote an environment where more meaningful progress can be made.

Paul Smedley

Zeraslasie takes on environmental programme which is affected by politics.

Eritrea is a small mountainous country located in the North-east of Africa. It has a territory of about 124,345 square kilometres, coast line of 1500 kilometres in the Red Sea, and 135 small Islands inside the Red Sea. In the North-west it is bound by Sudan, in the East by the Red Sea, in the South-east by Djibouti, and in the South by Ethiopia.

The Eritrean people liberated the country, after thirty years of armed struggle, from Ethiopian colonial rule in 1991. On 24 May 1993 following United Nations supervised referendum, in which 99.8% of its population voted for independence, Eritrea obtained independence. Until late 19th century Eritrea was not unified but the territory was ruled by local rulers. From the 16th to the late ninteenth century outside powers: the Turks, Egyptians, and Ethiopian Kings occupied parts of Eritrea taking over from the local leaders.

In 1890 Italy, a late arriving colonial power, declared the formation of present Eritrea and ruled the country until 1941. During World War Two Britain took-over Eritrea and ruled the territory until 1952. The following 10 years Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia. In 1962 Ethiopia desolved the federal arrangement and colonised Eritrea for 30 years until 1991.

Some of Eritrea's modern dams, bridges that cross major rivers, and water diversion schemes were constructed by Italy. None of those who ruled the country after Italy had selfless coordinated genuine initiatives. Rivers and water were not a priority agenda.. For the Eritrea people the agenda was a political one, self-determination while for Ethiopia's political elites it was ensuring their continuity in the country wide control.

Though there is a potential to construct hydropower stations and viable modern farms near the rivers of Eritrea, politics did not allow that to happen. Eritrea contributes water to the Nile River. Yet the people had acute problem of access to drinking water. For me this is a global issue because of politics the environment deteriorated because of non- environmental factors.

This is a world wide phenomena.

Brian/ Zeraslasie

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Meeting at Leeds Met

Brian. Falguni, Mitali, and Kiran arrive at 13:30 at Leeds Station, coming back from Malham. I pick them up and drive them to our Leeds Met Headingley Campus where I have organised a meeting with staff from Leeds Met, who are working in researching Climate Change and Green Activism. We present our work in "The Rivers Project", and I can show some of the things that I have worked on. There is the map page where the tracks related to the rivers project are shown on a Google Map. I also showed all the Photosynths that I had so far prepared from the pictures in the Rivers Project.

The second part of the meeting was devoted to general discussions about climate change, projects at Leeds Met, and how Leeds Met could be involved in the Rivers Project. Afterwards we continued talking in the cafeteria, then we went to Leeds City centre. Falguni, Mitali, and Kiran did some last shopping for gifts to bring home, then we had a pizza ta Brio. Finally, Jane took them to her place where they spend their last night in the UK - Friday morning is departure.

Thank you for visiting us - it was a pleasure to have you here in the UK!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Visiting Malham

Monday and Tuesday, the visitors from India travelled to London. But on Wednesday they are back in Yorkshire, to see Malham and the sights there related to the river Aire. I drive to the Northern College Barnsley to pick them up. The ride to Malham takes longer than expected. I had chosen the route through Halifax, which I was told later was unadvantageously slow. Brian is already waiting in Malham, but we cannot reach him because the mobile phone reception there is weak.

Since this is the first time our Indian friends are in Yorkshire, it is essential that they see at least one ruined abbey (thanks a lot, Henry VIII). We pass by the Bolton Abbey, then drive over the Barden Moor to Embsay, through Skipton, then further to Gargrave and finally to Malham where we arrive shortly after 13:00. Brian has organised a workshop for 12:00, but there has been some organisational problem, and the workshop will begin at 14:00. In the meantime we have a meal at the Buck Inn. Afterwards, Brian has the workshop meeting - it was then decided that Falguni, Mitali, Kiran and myself should visit the nearby Malham Cove. There are Peregrine Falcons that can be watched through telescopes.

Lee has driven independently to Malham to see the sites there, Gordale Scar and the Cove. I had planned to meet him, but then was unable as I had to leave for another appointment back in Leeds. Our Indian friends stay in Malham and return to Leeds on Thursday.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Conference in Barnsley

Jane Weatherby has organised the conference "Global Perspectives in Adult Learning", for which our visitors from India had been invited. I can participate on Friday evening, but in Saturday morning my Smart car has some trouble - a noise in the engine makes me worried, and I visit a station. They cannot find anything, and since the noise had been gone, I keep going on to Barnsley where I arrive 2 hours late.

I had never been at the Northern College. A great location, with a nice view over Barnsley.

Falguni has presented the work about the Rivers Project, and I just join the conference when Brian makes a comment.
Later Brian hosts a session about "a book in 8 minutes", where every participant is writing a brief reflection - they all will then later be bundled into one book.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

A Day in Stratford-upon-Avon

Since our visitors from India had arrived the week before, several activities had taken place in the Yorkshire area. But I was not able to participate in them, because I was travelling in the US. I returned on Tuesday, and at that day Brian travelled with Falguni, Mitali, and Kiran to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. The travel to Stratford had been full of unforeseen difficulties, which Brian may some day tell about. They visited Julie Boden who guided them around the area.

On Wednesday, one day after I had arrived ok, I drove down South to Stratford to pick them up and bring them back to Barnsley where they stayed at the Northern College. It is almost a 3 hour drive down the M1, then southwest towards Warwick. Very warm and sunny weather.

At 12:00 sharp I meet Brian in front of Shakespeare's birth house. Shortly afterwards also Falguni, Mitali, Kiran, and Julie are there.

We visit the Shakespeare House, where an automatic installation with a narration is presented to the visitors. Then strolling around Stratford. Getting some refreshments at the Black Swan Pub.

Then we drive to Mary Arden's House/Farm outside of Stratford. She was the mother of Shakespeare. The farm shows typical life around the end of the 16th century.

We get some food at TESCO. The restaurant there is closed, but we do not care and take a table. In the past, we Germans occupied countries - nowadays we just occupy tables (thank god!).

The drive home takes longer than planned. The M1 at J25 and 26 is closed because of construction. For one hour there is stop-and-go traffic only, and then we make our way around Nottingham. My car has a few slight flaws: the internal ventilator only works after it gets a good kick with the foot, the engine appears to have difficulties do drive uphill, and the radio does not work at all. So we provide our own entertainment - each of us has to sing a song. I am being advised that as a driver I should not too long clap applause while steering the car. With a brief pitstop at a rest station, we arrive at Barnsley around 11pm. I bring then Brian home to Pontefract, then I drive on to Leeds. Am at home at midnight.