This was baby Joshua's christening party at the Forester's pub on Beckside - the family invited us in and it was great fun as you can see - we drank a toast to 5 month old Joshua and it was a really lovely occasion. Thank you Joshua's family for these fantastic photos. Loved it!
The worst thing about this job is when people just aren't interested. You can't really blame them. One reason is the ridiculous 'first past the post' electoral system we currently have in this country which means that most people's vote doesn't count. However, I want to remind them that democracy may not be perfect but it's the best system humans have thought of so far for running our affairs and it's precious so we should participate. People have died for the vote, and in other parts of the world people are still dying for it. When people say 'I'm alright thanks' (meaning 'I'm not interested') I have to move away quickly before I say something I'll regret, like, 'You call this state of affairs alright then, do you?....Don't you care about your children?'...etc.
Anyway - all the more reason to vote Yes to AV because it will mean that our votes actually count.
The best thing about canvassing is the people you meet. I met a woman I used to teach years ago in Beverley. She said she had hoped to see me because she wanted to tell me something: apparently i had said to her (when I was manning a stall, some time after we had both left school) that the school system does not serve a lot of people well because it is too focussed on academic results, so that less 'academic' kids feel like failures. She had been one of those people - always in trouble. Apparently my comment had helped her decide to do a course at Hull Uni which she is really enjoying. This made my day.
I also met a woman last saturday whom I'd taught in Hull in 1975 and we were both amazed that her name came straight to me....weird but true. She said she had seen me on TV. I was able to apologise for all the stuff I must have got wrong in my first teaching job (I'm only 7 years older than she is) but she kindly said I was a nice teacher... Another really lovely encounter, and if I wasn't doing this job it wouldn't have happened .
I've sent in my postal vote and my Yes to AV. Although AV isn't perfect, it's far better than FPTP (which we have at the moment) because every vote will count. It's a step in the right direction. The people wanting to keep FPTP are the Tories, the right wing of the Labour party and the BNP. The No campaign reasons are ridiculous. They seem to assume that people are completely stupid and can't count to 3. A lot of money has been poured into the No campaign. If this country decides to continue with FPTP we will deserve what we will get - more of the same dire politics.
We went by North Sea ferries from Hull to Rotterdam (overnight). We were struck by the contrast between Hull and Rottm in terms of wind turbines: Hull has one visible from the ship - and this pic is of Rotterdam dock. We then took trains to Munich and a sleeper train to Budapest. The photo of recycling bins was taken on a station - Dusseldorf I think.
The Hungarian greens took a few of us around their beautiful city showing us the political scenery: arts centres which had been rescued by the people, squares dominated by big business interests, recycling points which are as yet little used.
We attended the European Greens' council in Budapest in early April...an inspiring event. This is one of the members of the Hungarian Greens, or 'Politics can be different' (LMP). One of the bridges across the Danube can be seen behind him. After the formal proceedings they took us on a bike tour of Budapest. We particularly liked the 'ruin pubs' - in one of which the LMP had celebrated its latest election victory.
Shan Oakes was Green Party candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough in 2015. She previously stood for Haltemprice & Howden for 2010 and in the 2008 by-election coming second out of 26 candidates.
Shan lived in Beverley from 1975. She taught English at schools in Hull and Beverley. This was followed by eight years championing child welfare, parent partnership and special needs for Humberside County Council and City of York education departments, and further work in the York Community Safety Partnership.
Shan then spent two and a half years living, working and learning a great deal in Uganda. She is a co-founder (with Bill Rigby) of Voice International, which promotes sustainability through education. In her MSc dissertation
(Education for Sustainability) Shan argues that diversity is fundamental to sustainability.
Shan works with organisations such as Friends of the Earth Transition Towns, the Earth Charter UK. Shan and Bill run an eco holiday house in York. They moved to Knaresborough in 2014 to be nearer some of their 11 grandchildren - who are a wonderful window into the future.