Search: Recycling

Recycling Bags (by )

Recycling Bags

These are my new recycling bags that go under the kitchen table - they velcro together! We've just had the first week of them being in use, it has made such a huge difference to keeping the kitchen tidy - it's almost unbelievable!

Plus I think they look nice 🙂 and they were cheap!

The only issue is there really needed to be one for cans too - but a) that wouldn't have fitted under the table so well and b) we've doubled up the plastic as tins as well as we don't get that much plastic.

The Stupidity of Recycling (by )

I have decided that recycling is bad - yes you heared me bad!

Its so waistefull it really is - lets see we have put resourcess and money and power into making a container say a glass jar - it gets used once and then mashed into little pieces - using more energy and resources, melted - more energy and moulded back into - oh a glass jar - what a pointless effort.

Glass is autoclavable you can steam/boil sterolize it, it can be made squeeky clean - so surely it should be highly reusable? Well milkmen have been doing this for a long time now with no ill affects. When I was in Kenya you where charged for the glass bottle your coke-a-cola etc... was bought in and got refunded that money on its safe return to a shop - any shop. People here have said they remember being paid for empties - it would make so much sense really it would.

Re-use instead of recycle!

This is why I loath anything but broken glass having to go to the bottle bank but there is only so much jam and wine one bod can make! Still I suppose more will be used when we have bees 🙂

If anyone knows of somewhere that does reuse this sort of stuff could they let me know?

Ok so recycling isnt bad - it is in fact good but it would be even better if it was only used on things that are no longer usable in this reincarnation - no I know the economical costs are probably the driving factor here but surely that cant keep up? Is it really easier and cheaper to melt everything down than to steralise it and reuse - I know they'd be different sizes and the such like so there would be some sorting - but for home jam making and preserves that would be fine (as just one idea of the top of my head) - I see the shops selling empty jars and bottles for this - and I bet they are 'new' jars as well - its so wasteful - so ludicrus (sorry spelling out of the window today).

On the plus side - the Green shop we go to allows you to bring your own containers for refilling 🙂 does anyone know if the body shop still does this? I heared that they stopped when they were sold.

I wonder how many bars, resturants and clubs recycle? You'd have thought that they would considering the amount of bottles and cans they get through but I know that all the ones I've asked have said no!

Ok so I've been ranting about re-using stuff - here is how I practice some of what I preach : 1) I make jams, chutneys, pickels and (hopefully if it works first batch on my own) wine which uses quiet alot of my jars and things - I also tend to try and make my own suaces reducing the number of jars I have in the first place but that isnt practicle for everyone (most people).

2) I keep the punettes fruit comes in from the supeermarket and then when out costing the hedgrows etc... use them for that or when we go to pick your own.

3) I use the fabric softner bottles to keep the worm juice in (hoping that we will shortly be migrating this sort of thing over to eco stuff).

4) Refill herb jars rather than just buying new herb jars.

5)Use old Milo tins for storing my tea bags and old baby milk tins for other kitchen sundries/seeds/lego/beads the list is endless.

6) Ice cream tubs and calwslar containers I use as tupper ware and freeze suops and the such like in.

7) Yogurt pots make great little plant pots my nan did this for most of her life - though as I now make most of our yogurt we dont have many of these.

8) Use reusable bags for sopping - this is great at the moment cos we get club card points and stuff too and the councel here gave us some free coconut husk bags as well 🙂

9) I used terry nappies until Jean was 8 months when her size and wrigglyness made them inpracticle - however in despair at our over spilling bins every monday I have found a lady who tracks down baby stuff for you and she has specially ordered some reusable nappies that work like the desposables - ie velcro! Me and Al are quiet excited about these as we have been looking for them since before JEan was born and this lady said she was suprised that non of the mother cares in the area or any of the other big chains round here sold them - this unfortunatly means they are a bit pricey but if they last to be used four times each they will have paid for them selves!

I know that not everyone can do alot of this stuff for practical reasons ie time but the councils could be making more of an effort with the recycling - what seems to be happening at the moment is that there is a lot of apparent recycling without alot of thought behind it but thats just my opinion - here is pretty good aand getting better but still alot of room for improovement like the stupidness over plastics - they say only plastic bottles with no reguards to the plastic types so lots of things that are recyclable get ignore 🙁 and therefore thrown away (we have unfortunatly already recieved a letter from the recycling people due to confussion on our part on how it worked here which is completely different from Essex - these letters would probably scare little old ladies away from recycling all together 🙁 )

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.

Fun Palaces Gloucester (by )

Sunday was the first ever Fun Palaces weekend in Gloucester with events all over the UK. The event in Gloucester was organised by the accessible theatre company Two Can run by Nickie Wildin.

Preparing for Fun Palaces Gloucester

I was pointed in the direction of Fun Palaces by a mutual friend as it's ethos is similar to the Cuddly Science (my puppets and sci-craft activities) mission statement - Science for All and the idea that everyone should and can be part of science, art, music, sport = culture.

Cuddly Science Space Craft banner in the window for Fun Palaces

As a grass root, community driven event it needed contributors so we took the Puppets and did Cuddly Science and junk modelling and I did a poetry set.

Drawing and colouring at Fun Palaces

Alaric helped with bunting and the girls did a lot of colouring!

Two Can Accessible Theatre craft workshop

There was a wide range of people who came along and took part which is absolutely ace as part of the issue I have is our society is increasingly segmented meaning people find it hard to relate to others as they have never had interactions with people who are different to them.

Two Can Theatre paper mosaic being created with local

This included Phillip who sleeps in shop doorway most nights and who was excited to help decorate his home as we stuck the artworks up in the window. Mary decided he was her new best friend and cried when he left.

Two Can Accessible Theatre craft workshop

The space itself ie the shop was donated and the furniture for workshops was loaned from the community enterprise The Furniture Recycling Project.

Ada Lovelace at Fun Palaces Gloucester

Ada Lovelace the puppet came out and even did a few little jigs on the street to let people know we were there! Also it is coming up to Ada Lovelace Day again so it was good to let people know about Ada!

Ada Lovelace at Fun Palaces Gloucester

The puppets and sci-craft help engage people who have a tendency to be scared of science and is part of how I break down barriers but my workshops are also flexible so I also did general junk modelling and spoke to people about junk art and upcycling - I even have a booklet on the stuff I've written now!

Cuddly Science Space Craft workshop for Fun Palaces with Two Can Theatre

Some truly amazing pieces came out of the workshop from tweeting pop out birds...

Junk art 3D-2D birds

To fire breathing dragons and thanks to Mary lots and lots of night vision goggles!

Junk Model Dragon with Salaric Craft at Fun Palaces

Running workshops is exhausting but fun and everyone seemed to really be enjoying themselves 🙂

Salaric Craft at Gloucester Fun Palace

We also got to promote the Cheltenham Hackspace as there was a skills exchange board, Jean also kept trying to put my on it to teach stuff like knitting! People were asking about the Hackspace and I found several people had initiatives that could do with junk modelling, comic book creating or cuddly science 🙂 So it was really kind of epic for us!

Alaric and Jean adding things to the skill exchange board

Then there was the bingo! With Beryl 😀

Lingo Beryl prepping for Bingo at Gloucester Fun Palaces with Two Can Theatre

Turns out I suck at bingo but the lady who won one of my Love: A Stranger Dream candles loved it and Phillip won the cake and then insisted on sharing it with us all. It was an epic cake I am kind of sad I failed to get a photo of it!

Bingo, craft, cake and science at Fun Palaces Gloucester

Two ladies from Gloucester Cathedral came along to tell us about the projects that are and will be happening there including letting people know about their breakfast club and that they are getting solar panels!

Gloucester Cathedral is going green!

I love the Cathedral space so it was great to hear about things especially how they are planning on turning the front bit into a community garden.

Finding out about what is going on at Gloucester Cathedral

They had also bought with them pictures of stained glass windows and some of the green men carvings for colouring in which went down well with everybody but especially with Mary 🙂

Stained Glass Colouring with Gloucester Cathedral at Fun Palaces

Then it was Spoken Word time - I opened the set with my visual poem and narrative piece Reclaim the City which is part of my Found Poems of the Concrete series. People seemed to like it - I went for the Gloucester theme rather than Fun or Palaces.

Saffy performing Reclaim the City

I had made booklets for everybody to take away with them as it relies on the images and also I know I personally find it hard to recall stuff when you get bombarded with a lot of cool new things - so it is there for people to look at later if they wish.

Saffy getting the audience to participate in poetry

Of course I then made the audience participate in Windy Gloucestershire which I was going to read but kind of transposed into singing without me actually noticing!

Portrait of Alaric by Jean

I also did Summer Sun another song-poem but this time I did do the spoken version. Jean took some photos the one above of Al and the one below of the poet from Food for Thought which is a poetry night that happens at Cafe Rene.

Food for Thought Poet at Gloucester Fun Palace

Then we had the brilliant Donna Williams who is a sign poet, in Donna's case she uses British Sign Language or BSL. Sign language is something I've struggled with since the head injury - according to my kids I used to sign nursery rhymes and things for them and my husband says I was quiet militant about this incase any of them ended up with hearing problems like I had as a child, I wanted them to be able to communicate - because not being able to communicate is the MOST frustrating thing. My mum says the main issue is that I knew the rudimentary of 3 different sign language systems, enough to help in classrooms and when I used help her at the day centre but I was not proficient as it were, and now I've got all three of them all muddled up in my head.

Donna Williams signing cat poetry

Interestingly I understood what was being signed but would not have been able to sign back at all. And also Donna did run through what some of the sings meant as well as vocalising some of the poems.

Donna Williams Sign Poetry

Mary's favourite was about cats 🙂 I did video it but have since found a better recording on Youtube.

I have written about sign poetry before including here, though interestingly I can't find the stuff about the American poet who started my interest. I am wondering if it was in an essay for my PGCert or something.

sign poetry at Gloucester Fun Palace

Donna was lovely and I think I've seen her/met her before but I am still really struggling with face recognition at the moment! To the point that I could not work out who Nickie (the lady who had organised the event!) was when I arrived.

Twitter @DeafFirefly

Mary loved the event and Phillip so much that she had a melt down when it came time to pack up and leave. (And I mean melt down)

Human billboards and lots of bunting

It was an amazing day and I hope we get to do it again next year. I met lots more creatives and found out about stuff in Gloucester - this is something I suck at - I will end up going off to Swindon, Bristol, Brum, London etc... and then finding out that there was a big culture spoken word, art etc... thing happening round the corner but only AFTER it has been and gone!

One last thing the decor of the shop was fab!

Shoe people Horse graffiti Flying pig graffiti Keep out mini door at Jolt Gloucester

How I’m managing my life with emacs org-mode (by )

It's no secret that I'm a busy person; often, when I decide to do something, a few years pass before I actually get to do it. So the only way I keep afloat is by the judicious use of computers to track my task lists. I rely on automatic systems to make sure I always know what I need to do today, and what are the most important things I need to do "sometime" that I can do right now. There's no way I could keep all that in my head without forgetting about things and letting people down, or feeling stressed because I'm juggling too much in my mind, or not being able to find the best thing to do when I have a free moment.

As I've mentioned before on here, I want a personal information management system based on predicate logic, so I can express complex relationships between things easily, and tell the system how to infer knowledge automatically. However, "build one of those" has yet to hit the top of my TODO list, so for now I'm using emacs' legendary org-mode. This lacks the rich semantic power of my proposed PIM, but it's already implemented and has a nice editing interface 🙂

A few people have asked about what I've done, so here's my attempt to document it.

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