Friday, 23 March 2007

Friday 23rd March 07

Gill wasn't feeling brilliant last night so I offered to take the boys to school if she wasn't feeling up to it, so at 8 she woke me gingerly and asked gently.... so at 8.30, post muesli, I cycled in with them. Well now I was up and it was a lovely day so I got going... and as keeping the house warm is a priority, I continued building the woodpile on the side of the door. Then came in and wrote some letters... on the back of previously used paper, as usual. I haven't used a new piece of paper for years and years, I always use a 'printed on one side' bit. I've only ever had one complaint, an old fella who thought it was disrespectful. Well I think it's disrespectful to use a new piece when a reused one would do, disrespectful to the planet!

I wrote a covering note to Roger at and put my cheque in with it. Also wrote a letter of complaint to Abbey re the lost passbook. In today's post there was some very good news, York Rotters (the home composting education group I started) has recieved another years funding, the third from City of York Council. Our work reduces the weight of biodegradables that are collected by the council for landfilling by several hundreds of tonnes per year, and reduces peat extraction and use as householders won't need it as they can produce their own growing media. So I went to congratulate Keely our employee, as she negotiated the funding and she keeps her job for another year. I met the new Rotters volunteer Inge, who has revamped the compost bin demonstration area and is helping Keely in the office.

Then on to Abbey where I gave in my complaint letter and on to Out Of This World to pick up 2 sacks of compostables. Then to the Co-op Bank to pay the phone bill, and admired the new layout and decor, as the office is now an eco-office, ie recycled content furniture, organic paint with low VOC emissions, low energy lighting, electricity from renewable sources and very happy and friendly staff. Nice! I also got enough money out to pay half our annual council tax, and went and paid that.

On the road near the council tax office a motorcyclist was in the green coloured bicycle box at the front of the queue of traffic behind the traffic lights. As I cannot help myself as a radical cyclist and anti motor person, I said excuse me, if a policeman stops you for disobeying the road markings, you could get points on your licence. He was polite enough to thank me. About one in ten motor vehicle drivers thank me, about 3 tell me to fuck off or worse, about 4 make an excuse for being in the cycle box and two ignore me or don't respond. I will continue telling drivers this, even though I risk being run over or aggressed by the small percentage who take it personally. Fortunately I'm a very fast cyclist and have been able to outcycle an irate (young male) car driver on several occasions. What I have to try to control is my anger at their attitude, as several times I have spat at their metal monster and this doesn't really help the situation. I wish I was a bit more laid-back about it all....

Then delivered the SUMA catalogue to one of the participants in our food co-op, as we'll do an order next week. Then to Sainsbury's where I get a few groceries, including cheese. On many previous occasions I have bought cheese off the deli counter and asked for no extra packaging, and this has been possible. Then a fortnight ago I was told that the film-wrapped block of cheese had to have a bag put on it before the sticky label was applied. I complained. A week ago the same thing happened and I kicked up a big fuss, explaining that I would unwrap it at home and put it in my cheese box, so the extra bag was a waste. They said the film plastic might tear and allow the cheese to become contaminated or to contaminate the belt. I said I wasn't too worried about 'contaminating my cheese' (after all I'm a composter and my fingernails are never completely clean!) and if the film was intact it wouldn't harm the conveyor. Anyway when I went in today, the deli counter staff told me that they'd had a meeting with the management, and they'd agreed with me. HOORAY, a victory for common sense and waste minimisation. I went to the info counte and the lady I'd complained to twice before looked alarmed to see me... but I just wanted her to pass on thanks to the management for allowing me to buy cheese in one layer of wrapping.... the customer is always right!

Home for lunch. Did some logging and compost management in the afternoon, before collecting the boys. Then visited the Hes Rd Greengrocers who now have a good system for separating their heavy biodegradables and I came away with 3 sacks, about 60 kg.

These sacks contained tea... some tomatoes which had two mouldy ones (on average) per punnett, and four good ones. I sorted through and made a lovely tomato sauce on the woodstove which I had with pasta. Delicious and satisfying and cheap. I feel lucky.

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