Talking @MorleyArtsFestival

This weekend we have been visiting @MorleyArtsFestival with our tea trolley.

This friendly local festival was based along Queen Street and down towards the park filled with free public art, performances and family activities.

We talked with lots of people over the weekend, both Morley locals and visitors. The visitors that had travelled furthest was a couple from Hong Kong, who were in Morley visiting their daughter and grandchildren.

Here’s a slice of some of the things we talked about over the weekend…

If you had a special talent, what would it be?

Very popular was teleportation from many Morley folk. I mean, why not? We talked about lunch in New York, a seaside trip to a thailand beach and no impact/ pollution on the environment. One Morley resident said that it was a question their child had often asked them growing up , and the the answer they had always given was teleportation and time travel.

What do you love to do?

A few answers…


Learning about local history ( especially gruesome events).

I love playing volleyball – especially working out the plays that the other teams are doing. Some players can be quite sneaky… you have to watch what their feet and shoulders to see how they are going to hit. You know its like at school when you played rounders and there was always that one kid that was left handed but held the bat in the right hand until the last minute then caught you off guard.

Swimming. I love swimming. We journey from Middleton every Saturday to Morley Leisure Centre to swim. Being able to swim is so important and Morley has such a lovely pool.

Climb – I love climbing. Its really good fun & fitness, and a bit scary. You have to trust your partner literally with your life, which is incredible if you really think about it’s.

What is most important?

My health. I mean, Im 72, my health matters to me.

What is normal?

Normal? Well one person’s normal is different to another’s. Stuff like kindness and respect were just givens but I guess different folks have different beliefs. I was brought up a christian. I am not practising now but that doesn’t mean I cant respect my families beliefs. So many people and cultures and different ways we’ve been brought up. So many different norm’s – i’m sad about Afghanistan situation currently…and I would have hoped it was a norm to be educated to be treated equally and live without fear because of your gender. Yeah a lot of norms all over the world that I do not like.

Where is your favourite place?

I love being at home best.

Portugal is fantastic

We love Morley. We arrive quite early in the morning very saturday and are usually still here in the afternoon. the market is great.

Krakow in Poland, I thought, was an amazing place. I mean Auschwitz is intense and takes a whole day to really see it, but you know its really important to see the extent of what happened in the concentration camps. Also the beer in the bars is so cheap andI think vodka is cheaper than a cup of tea. Its really surprising.

Are you a risk taker?

About some things. I mean I travelled to Australia by myself (from South Africa) and I came to England by myself when I was 21. I like travelling on my own.

Where do you draw the line?

I draw the line at the time I say the car ( lift) is leaving the house. If you are not ready at that time then I am leaving without you. And where should I draw the line re. Bette Midler films – how many is the number where I draw the line? She likes Bette Midler films, I like more sport or action related. We take it in turns and watch them together. But how many Bette Midler films is too many?

What stops you in your tracks?

When I was volunteering the other week, a man living on the street didn’t want a sandwich, and that really made me re-think my assumptions, as I had thought a person living on street would really want a sandwich. Also, he was given a coat which looked really warm and fitted hime perfectly, but he brought it back a little while after because it was a woman’s coat. That really stopped me in my tracks.

What are you ready for?

Im ready for things to get back to normal – like say Christmas. Last year we spent Christmas in the park so that we could be with elder family members safely. I’m really hoping we can have a proper Christmas this year and/ or it isn’t cold.

What would you do if you had no fear?

Travel the world – you know there are some places I cant go ( the way I look) without a lot of planning and thought.

I would get a tattoo or rollerblade (my family see these things as stuff only bad girls do).

I would start my own business….yep I’d change career.

I’d walk the high wire.

I’d play with lions and snakes.

I would let my children play without worry. I broke some ribs snowboarding the other year, and since then I’ve been too scared to go up the mountain. The children still snowboard but I don’t go up with them because I’m scared. I’d like to have no fear about them taking those kinds of risks.

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A teapot made of pewter in Sheffield 158 years ago! The shape reminds us of a butternut squash!

Tea and Living Local…


On Saturday 31st January Living Local hosted a community event at Allerton CE Primary School. The atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming. It was a positive way to start 2015 and to build links between people and groups.

Between 12-2pm around 70 people (aged from 3 weeks to 80 years old) enjoyed a range of food, activities, games and the chance to speak with one another. The food was supplied by the local chip shop, the Iqra group and a team of volunteer cake makers. Children and adults took part in a variety of games and enjoyed the indoor trampoline, face painting, football, a local knowledge quiz and a raffle.

A dialogue group called Tea & Tolerance provided a space for people to have deeper discussions on their neighbourhood. Short updates were provided by Living Local and the Iqra group and invitations were made to people to visit the new Iqra building and also to become involved in future Living Local community activities.

A range of future activities for 2015 have emerged out of this event. These include; a spring clean up, 6 weeks of sport for children, restoration of the community garden with the support of Business in the Community in May and a September bbq. The event was a collaborative effort and a mix of people all worked together to create it. This included local residents, members of the Iqra group, Allerton CE primary school, St John’s Church, Moortown Baptist Church and Living Local. A big thankyou to everyone involved and Living Local are looking forward to future events.


Tea at Magellan House – part 1.


Questions and thoughts that came up in our Tea Talks at Magellan House at the end of 2014.


Why don’t people communicate anymore? Is quality of conversation better in a room or on twitter? The one to one conversation possible on twitter can be intimate where you really get to know people you are conversing with. Yet it has an anonymity meaning anyone can say anything….

…like trolls, is it all a little unreal, de-humanising/ robotic even …follow me LIKE this really a sign that we are #lonely, a desperate cry pleading #loveme ? Or a marketing game?

Has technology killed the art of conversation? If aliens looked down from above, what a strange sight they would see. Huge volumes of individuals locked into handheld devices. Is this a bad thing? What do we miss? Look up. Look Around. And what do we gain through technology? Knowledge. Wisdom. Connection. Or is it just Noise? Or is it the natural evolvement? Does it make people lonely or create global communities? Does it have to be one or the other?

What stops you in your tracks? Kindness. Laughter. Beauty. Cruelty. Unfairness. Seeing one person argue and shout on the street or at their kids in a supermarket…its one of those things you react to moment to moment. I try not to judge. I don’t have the full picture of the situation. So when do you intervene? I have asked before if  everything is ok when I have seen two people arguing in a way that it seems like one is at risk from the other.

If you had the power what would you do? Throw the Tories out. Thats my answer today. Put someone in government that cares about people who need help. If I had the power, I would get rid of greed. Take away that and it takes away a lot of the problems. Is greed the driver in motivating growth and change though? What would you replace that with? Love and self knowledge is a motivator too. Passion to become more oneself.

Should we be smarter about the way we work? Could we strive for balance that allows each person to flourish? We live in a world of extremes. There is an old japanese saying about dropping down dead from work. And people often do. Maybe we could re-define the standard of living. Consider – is this existence feeding my soul as a ‘being’ too? Could we value time over material? I would choose love over time and money. Love is everything…living, doing, breathing, experiencing. I never want to feel like I need to retire. I would rather earn nothing and find another way to live. Working can be just putting yourself into a form of slavery. Why would you do that if you had a choice?





A little thought….




The End of the World is Nigh (again)…

Ask & Answer questions, take part, make conversation – find your way: it is now. It is always now.

Infinite Revolutions The Eternal Return

How can we celebrate diversity & embrace unity? – all one & alone

King / Queen & Country” vs “The world is my country & to do good is my religion” :when we hand over our responsibility for self to others, we need to be very careful….mindful about who it is we hand it to…

What will ‘they’ do if removed from the powerful positions they currently inhabit?

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

~ Lao Tzu

What surprises you most about humanity?

Abuse. Transcendence. Human Greed. “Oh I’m so conflicted… am I to play with my new hoover or go out foraging for bonfire wood?”

A justification for joining in with the only worthwhile form of resistance on the planet..?

Stop it with statistics, bar charts, graphs, development & business plans.

A rhythm and a rhyme in time flowing like a river as still as a mountain.
What is choice? What is it to choose? When is enough, enough?

Is it all violence – this clash of constant energy that surrounds us? It is us. We are part of it. It is not a dualism, it is a precarious balance of multiple forces. It operates simultaneously in many directions and dimensions.

How can we create frameworks that cause us to reach out to each other, rather than shut down?

What is it to you, to love someone?

“What is love?”
“The total absence of fear,” said the Master.
“What is it we fear?”
“Love,” said the Master.

– Anthony de Mello


Written by Jason Hird of  The Institute for Crazy Dancing.

How do we forgive?


You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.’
Maya Angelou

One of the thorniest and most difficult things we humans are ever called upon to do is to respond to evil with kindness, and to forgive the unforgivable. It is easy for one’s default to be anger, fear, depression or self-righteousness, Yet study after study shows that one of the keys to longevity and good health is to develop a habit of gratitude and let go of past hurts.

Forgiving really is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. Your enemy may not deserve to be forgiven for all the pain and sadness and suffering purposefully inflicted on your life, but you deserve to be free of this evil.

As Ann Landers often said, “hate is like an acid. It damages the vessel in which it is stored, and destroys the vessel on which it is poured.”

The Merry Band of Gentle Tea Drinkers…


This is a new participatory art project that aims to bring people together through art and conversation.

Inspired by the York Mosque that invited the EDL to drink tea and play football in 2013.

Our ambition goes way beyond getting people to tolerate each other (though that is a very good place to start the journey).A tea trolley, two performers (also the facilitators) inviting people to sit down and consider ….me, you, us, them, what matters, what doesn’t matter and everything in between. There is art and play to offer a light subterfuge to the proceedings.

A mobile roaming musical place for questions and conversation, for sharing… for taking care, and listening very carefully… bringing people together for tea, in solidarity (solid-ar-i-tea) with each other in the common cause and developing calls for peace…

spaces for listening

for slowness

for thought

for fun as well…

to engage, to play, to be in a ritual

to observe the ritual

to help carry out the ritual

and the merry band of gentle tea drinkers made their way to the houses of government and said:

love &



( Mostly these are the words of Jason Hird, edited by Zoe Parker)