The Folk Museum (by )

The Folk Museum (rebranded to the Life Museum) is Mary's favourite museum - it is a great local treasure full of local history and fun activities for the kids, behind the scenes there is a lot of curation and looking after the collections. The building itself is a beautiful wooden beamed structure that is hundreds of years old - sadly this also means it is expensive to maintain.

And so what with cuts and austerity and a struggling council the heartbreaking news that they were going to close the museum was not so much a shock but an expected blow. The museums do relatively cheap activities for the kids and the staff are lovely but the news had already reached me that the staff had been slashed in number over all three council run buildings (two museums and the Guildhall).

This is the museum where Mary left her money baby in the wendy house and the staff went out of their way to return it too us.

So obviously I'm not the only person who feels ill at ease with loosing this local resource and historical gem and a petition was soon up and running - you can sign it here. Since it was started up the Civic Trust have said they will take it on but if that is the case then it is doubtful that they can afford a curator so there would be no one to manage and maintain the collection. Curation is not just about labelling things and putting them in shelf displays - it is also about making sure things are kept in ways that do not damage them - with out a curator then the potential damage is pretty high (mind due the roof leaks so if that is not fixed then the damage will be damn high too).

Added to all this is the fact that historic buildings that are not wanted by the right people tend to go up in flames around here - recently there was three fires in one night - all targeting local old pubs with development issues.

Jokingly me and my friend suggested we might need to make a human shield around the museum - we were only half joking :/ I wish I was rich because I would buy it and fix it and pay the staff and make it free access and have a mini hackspace and little science/education bit in the new building out the back in garden. I'd hold talks in the cafe and stuff like that.

Where to Start? (by )

This is the poll I posted to twitter - and here are the options of the slightly more in depth one that I posted to Facebook:

The Beginning/Deep Time

Present Day

Space/Interstellar

The Beginning of Human History

Upload/VR/Singularity

Post Apocalyptic Near Future

Pretty much I've had equal votes for everything plus some pointers on what individuals like ie no excessive flash backs/forwards and no huge storyline dumps etc...

The plan is that in 2019 I will begin rolling out the edited finished versions of stuff in The Punk's Universe for the reader... but I don't know where to begin the story for the reader. There is a hell of a lot of stuff written which I am currently editing and finishing and re-writing and in some cases still desperately researching.

2019 will mark the 10 year anniversary of me starting my first NaNoWriMo - a month long writing challenge. I have taken part in all the writing challenges I possible could since and most of those have been set in the same universe. Initially I thought it was a sci-fi version of the scififantasy story I'd been writing and world building since I was 13. Then I realised that no - it was in fact the same universe and the "magic" was all just the nanotech and the like. It was a pretty strong contender for scifi to begin with because I fail at sustained fantasy worlds ie I can manage maybe a short story and then scifi will start creeping in.

Anyway the issue is that there are 100, 000's of words written and about a 1000 pages of comic book scripted in the universe and only a few short stories of it are out there and this needs to be rectified!

Seriously I have now been writing this for what 2/3rds of my life?

So yeah - ideas, feedback etc... would be useful 🙂

Ta much!

The Festival of Archaeology (by )

Cuddly Science Histories

This weekend on Sat 22nd of July I'll be at Gloucester Cathedrals Festival of Archaeology event with my workshop Awesome Archaeology and Fantastic Fossils. There will be a sand pit with sieves and tools to find things, panning for "gold", a little lab set up to sort out and label your finds, clay impressions, sediment bottles, stratigraphic logs, metal detecting, papier mache fossils, little ruins to piece together and colouring in sheets plus some actual rocks! 🙂

Here is a sneak peak at the sandpit we've made 🙂

Sandbox

And this is all just me! There are lots of other things going on for adults as well as kids 🙂 I'll be in the Cloisters Garden 🙂

My workshop shows the basic methods for finding and sorting specimens/finds as well as going over some basic geological processes!

Oh yeah and of course there will be the Cuddly Science puppets!

Can you tell I'm excited?

This is the undigitised version of one of the colouring sheets as is the picture at the top that I have been working on. Created by making studies of actual fossils and archaeological ruins!

Ammonites

DeCrypt Poetry Slam (by )

DeCrypt Poetry Slam

This is tonight - me and a host of other poets who happen to have a connection to Gloucester will be performing at St Mary's DeCrypt in Gloucester. The building is ancient and being restored - I'm really looking forward to seeing inside it actually 🙂

It is being compered by the wonderful poet and comedian Angie Blecher. It's gearing up to be a cracking night of poetics and fun 🙂

Welcome to the Jungle (by )

Rescued Plants

This is my kitchen at the moment - it is full of rescue plants - peppers, courgettes etc... with fruit and flowers already on them. I hate waste. So my friend rescued these plants and bought them to me.

The plants, like many were left to die - this is normal practice at nurseries and garden centres and farms for the not as pretty plants or the ones who will have small yields - they are not economically viable for the businesses but for people like me they are perfect!

Yeah sure some wont survive but some will and like with our rescue chickens anything you get from them is a bonus!

But this for me also highlights something - we are actually living in a post scarcity society but we use this artificial construct called money to hedge everything in - to make things scarce, to control the economics and the populace with it. Everyone is so scared of being called a slacker or enabler that no one is really talking about this issue properly (except perhaps Dan Holloway.

The fear of being seen as a free loader or scrounger is high, most of us are shortening our lives drastically by working in high stress environments at "make-work" that has no real worth. And at the same time alot of the work that is valuable - fruit picking, rubbish collection, cleaning - is seen as demeaning and not paid well.

Then the idea that everyone needs to be climbing forever upwards in their jobs - up and up to more money, more responsibility, more time at work (or commuting too), more stress. This leads to mental breaks and fatigue, it leads to bad immune systems - it leads our medical professionals chronically exhausted and more likely to make mistakes.

It makes the waitress who is a good people person with excellent memory and quick service - a failure - even though they are making many people happy.

The pressure grows and automation is here and we still have not adapted, automation should be a good thing but it has been used to impoverish many instead of freeing up our time for science and art and moving our society forward and onwards.

Farmers have a high suicide rate because they are lonely riding their tractors and if they are a tenant farmer then making everything work is hard... there is a small team normally a family and you are bouncing around to various pockets of land owned by other people who can pull the land from underneath you at any time.

We - at least in this country have mountains of food, clothing and housing that gets wasted - sometimes people actively destroy it so that people can not rescue and use it. Sustainability is an issue but large poverty gaps cause more environmental impact because ethical/environmental buying is often more expensive in the short term. As always being poor costs more than being rich but if you don't have the capital or a means of saving in the first place you are always going to be stuck with the short term - falling too pieces - no room so having to get rid of stuff on a seasonal basis - issue.

And people being judgemental of others really grumps me - oh they aren't really hard up they are part of the throw away culture... not taking into account they live in like two rooms with no storage - or people in expensive bamboo clothing sneering that they are better for the environment than me with my synthetics... most of my cloths are charity shop buys or made from scratch - I use acrylic wool to knit with because I am allergic to actual wool. They will then go on about all the booze and meat they've eaten or the drugs they've taken - drugs that have high environmental and human traffic/slavery costs.

They don't see that they are buying an image (and yes I realise this makes me judgmental).

I'm aware my house is ramshackle - we tend to repair and repair and make things a bit clunky - this is our way of trying to save the environment. Others give money to charities and make other little life changes. There is much we can do but being negative about it tends to put people into apocalyptic mode where they feel it is already too late and/or just another stress to an already stressful life.

I remember when we were struggling for money having to buy stuff I knew was not the best for us or the environment but it was cheap and was going to go a hell of a lot further - that is the place most people are at. They try when they can but alot are scrabbling around for the weekly food shop money as it is.

So many of the changes do have to come in via government policy - something which I fear is currently going backwards. Change needs to be coming from the top down as well as the bottom up - all the domestic recycling in the world is going to be pointless if our big institutions and businesses don't also get behind this.

And the middle needs to get a wiggly on - I'm talking about the small businesses, charities and organisations. There is so much each and everyone of us can do from using repair cafes to checking where our office paper supply comes from or the straws the pub you work at are biodegradable etc... This is part of why we are with ecotricity.

Two of the reasons I am so obsessed with running my junk modelling and upcyled art workshops and sharing the tutorials for free is a) it is using the waste without burning it or using energy, bleach, extraction methods to recycle it and it becomes for at least a short time something that brings people joy and teaches them a skill and often is even practical, b) many of groups I am working with do not have a lot of money and upcycling is relatively cheap though not always free, I myself am passing on alot of stuff that I picked up as a child in 80's and 90's were there was no choice due to the recession and we were lucky we had a large extended family and a practical skill set to draw on - I saw the results in families that did not have that and I know many families currently don't have that - so I share what I do know.

I am not perfect - sometimes I get over whelmed and miss things but I do try. It is also a decade since I wrote my piece on why recycling is stupid.

WordPress Themes

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales