Monday, 30 July 2007

Monday 30th July 07

Not even a lie in this morning!
Got up and had to do my paid-for blog, did it on pride, as I don't feel it much and had an interesting conversation about it with Gill. Also mentioned the found book,

Was still in my pj's when Melody and her son arrived and I was still doing my blog, but got it done before lunch. Then after lunch, had a management group meeting for York Rotters, at St Nicks, it was a good meeting with lots of bright ideas about new Rotters and how to get them, how to keep them and where to find them, and how to keep York Rotters in the conciousness of local people.

Then collected my compostables, went to get a cheque out to pay for balloons and then to Oxfam for coffee and Sainsburys for various bits, found some reduced price black truffles, which I've never had and will share with Simon and possibly other fungi fans.

Home to a big pile of washing up and made a nutloaf from old bread and pumpkin.

After tea went to the lottie to put several sacks of grass cuttings onto it, and found that the only things which have grown well are onions. The sweetcorn is stunted, potatoes blighted, beans eaten by slugs and squash tiny. A crap year on the plot.

Home to sort out tomorrow's journey plans and pack, but got waylaid by email stuff and blog and K chat, doing too much. Need a few days with not any obligations.

Off to Big Green Gathering tomorrow, no blog for a week.


Sunday, 29 July 2007

Sunday 29th July 2007 - YORK GREEN FESTIVAL!

The date has been etched in my mind for months, since early spring, when a Credit Union volunteer and I had an idea to do something to create a social life for York Credit Union members. He claimed to have been involved in organising some music events in Hull, and we decided to 'do' a summer festival in York to promote the Credit Union and other aspects of sustainability, and have a jolly time. So York Peace and Sustainability Festival was born, and an organisation called CrUST, Credit Union Support Team.

Then he got cold feet, perhaps realising what a big thing he'd let himself into, or perhaps going off me and my large personality and talkativeness, I don't know. He said he wanted to concentrate on his YCU volunteering, which he continues to do and do well. So I was on my own, justabout. There were some helpers, prepared to take on chunks of the event, or to help with admin, but it was still me at the helm.

The event mutated into York Green Gala, and because of worries about the use of the term 'Credit Union', CrUST died a death...and anyway, no one else from YCU was interested in helping start a social group, the only active participants were involved in the Festival. Apparently, if we'd called the group 'Supporting York Credit Union' that might have been better, as it would be more obvious that it was a seperate group supporting the Credit Union.

So York Green Festival was born, and I applied to the council to use the fantastic venue which is Rowntree Park, and got a date offered, the only one left unused in it's busy calendar. We started having meetings in The Evil Eye Lounge, but I wanted a more accessible venue, incase someone volunteered who couldn't manage stairs. Found the 'Space 109' shop on Walmgate, fairly near me, convenient and on the level, although £7 per hour.

I showed my initial application form to Liz Topi the City of York Festivals Officer, and she was reasonably helpful and left me to get on with it. A month or so later, I phoned round the list of contacts I'd been given... emergency services, environmental health, licencing, police, to inform them about the event. Then I got an email from Liz saying 'what was I doing, contacting the police?' Apparently I should have let her do that, but I hadn't been told that, as I'd been given a list of people to contact. I managed to find a lovely chap who puts on children's events for the council, Tim Waudby, and he offered to co-ordinate the children's activities, which was a relief. My 'ecowarrior' friend Baz Buchanan offered to co-ordinate the music stage, and we spent ages trying to get a good deal for marquees to cover the stage, and PA stuff. Bob the DJ (Green Renegade) offered to sort out a DJ area and it was suggested that we should have a skate/blade/bmx competition or showcase, with Dan 'Spleen' on the case.

So, lots of organising to do, insurance to sort out (used First Act/Hencilla, as they insure me as 'Professor Fiddlesticks' through Equity) and documentation for City of York Council, including a risk assessment. Now I am a qualified Environmental Health Officer and have done risk assessing, and did 'a good one' for a parade of 1000 jugglers through the City, so I put a full range of risks in and tried to sort out how these could be reduced, who they applied to, who was responsible for reducing the risk, etc. The finances were made a lot easier by a very generous and kind donation from United Co-operatives, which meant that we weren't worrying about financing it all ourselves, although to date I am several hundred pounds down and hope to clain back all that I spent on insurance, licences, a fire extinguisher and hire of meeting space.

When I submitted the risk assessment to Liz Topi, I was rather shocked that she said I shouldn't take some risks into account, and was unhappy at her sarcasm about this attempt at a Health and Safety overview of this event. I spent a long time trying to redo the RA to make it acceptable to her, but she continued to be what I felt was obstructive, unhelpful and unprofessional, for instance describing the music we were wanting to put on as 'heavy on the ear'. I happen to find opera and classical music 'heavy on the ear' but I wouldn't dream of saying this to a person trying to put on a community opera and classical music event. So my opinion of her went downhill, compounded by hearing rumours of her history and how she has treated other 'rock music' lovers. She is not well liked by many people in York, and this aura of suspicion and mistrust didn't help my relationship with her. However, I started to bypass her and work directly with her boss, Dave Meigh, who is a very pleasent guy, straightforward and professional, and appearing to welcome the event and be constructive with his comments. I had a good meeting with Environmental Health, who although were concerned about noise pollution, were helpful and upbeat, offering commonsense solutions and backing up my belief that having too much in a risk assessment is far better than removing stuff, as advised by the Festival's Officer.

I passed the documentation over to Baz who was able to put the information into a format which was acceptable to the Council team, and we were told it was 'too late to cancel' ie, it was on. However, the delays caused by my poor ability to understand the Council's needs and my worsening relationship with Liz meant that the helpful Tim W. felt he had to pull out, meaning that the children's activities were reduced to the Woodcraft Folk and the children's entertainer we had booked, Bo Clown.

But in the last few days it all came together and this morning the weather forecast was good, and by 8am I was at the park and helping to erect the 'Scout canvass' provided by the wonderful Jo, who realised I was in a bit of a mess and stepped in to help with logistics AND stewarding. Councillor Andy D'Agorne had been persuaded to be chief steward, ably helped by his highly organised wife Denise. Many others came out of the woodwork and offered stewarding services, signwriting and other essential jobs.

All the stallholders who were organised enough to pressgang volunteers or really wanted to come had a lovely day. Amazingly, York Credit Union, who stood to benefit financially from the event if we made a profit, couldn't muster any volunteers and didn't have a stall.

So the day went like a dream. The sun shone, clouds came and went with just the minimum of raindrops, right at the finish of the day. We had a very enjoyable dance troupe, The Pipits (check them on the Web!) who were funny and entertaining, and obviously enjoyed themselves. Also Debbie the belly dancer was beautiful and entrancing, whirling round with purple veil flowing. My favourite band was The Falling Spikes, they sent shivvers up and down my spine, and I loved the reggae which started off the DJ area. All the stallholders reported having a good day, Azra's curries were so popular, she sold everything just after lunch, and could have sold half as much again. York CRAG got another 10 people sign up, and LETS got 2 re-joiners and some new members too. There was good humour, no accidents beside a skateboarder getting a graze and a small boy knocking off a scab which then bled profusely. So the Red Cross had a peaceful day. GeneratorX the solar cinema put on a range of short thought provoking films, and we were able to pay everybody who needed paying on the day. We'll be able to give a donation to St Nicks who came with the electric vehicle to take recyclables, which reduced the volume of waste considerably. A perfect day. A result. Most people happy, just a few grumbles about 'too much boom boom music' from middle aged, middle class park visitors, and a comment from a drunk Irishman about the event happening on a Sunday, and he'd 'pray for the greens'.. hope he does, hope he thanks the Good Lord for providing heavenly weather!

So at 5pm it stopped, we pulled down the tent and gazebos, and I litter-picked and went through the litter bins to remove recyclables. Someone found a tiny (and presumably expensive) mobile phone, so one of our team rang one of the numbers to find out who it belonged to, and they came back to pick it up, bearing a box of chocolates as a thank you.

I found a book in a bag, labelled 'FREE BOOK' and from a subscriber/user of bookcrossing .com, which I found out about later in the evening and registered with. I don't need to read the book as it's for New Vegetarians and I'm an old one! I'll re-release the book at the Big Green Gathering this week coming!

So a good day. Came home via the York Cheese and Beer Shop, to get some cider and perry.
Flopped until after tea, at 10 pm, when I thought I'd better record it all.

Thank you to all musicians, performers, stallholders, volunteers, providers and of course anyone who came to see what was going on, and gave a donation for a programme. And thank you all for supporting me and my mad idea. I haven't told my wife, but I'll do it again next year, even if Liz is still in post!

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Saturday 28th July 07 - Dunnington Playing Fields Fayre

A good day working, just up the road at Dunnington, a really well-organised and enjoyable event. I cycled up there to start at 11am, and worked hard with 'free-play' circus workshops all day, with some balloon models being given away towards the end of the day, which ended at 4pm, so not such a long stint, but it was warm and sunny, and I had an endless stream of people wanting to try out unicycling, devilsticks or juggling. Worked with quite a few teenagers and older children, and adults.

Just before I got started I walked around the site and visited all the stalls, and made one purchase, an old 3 book set of Reader's Digest gardening books, in a sleeve which keeps them together. Cost a pound! I like old gardening books, at least as much as new ones!

When I got back I had a large pile of compostables to stow safely in the newly reconstructed pallet bin, layered with straw and woodchips.

But was called back in by Gill as several phone calls, re tomorrow's Green Festival, so dealt with them and had tea (stir-fry veg including day-lily buds, with a shop-bought pastie) and did loads of washing up, as well as the usual emails, Freecycle messages and blog.

Friday 27th July 07

Well a good day, did a load of paperwork such as sending the Red Cross booking to them... a bit late but it's all confirmed via the net, and a phone call to the boss in Idle near Bradford confirmed the late paperwork wasn't a problem. Bought stamps, sent various things out.

Tried to have some fun with my boys, as Gill had suggested that I ought to make more of an effort to play with them, so got the circus equipment out, but they just aren't interested really and the attempt to have some fun ended in conflict and tears. Rearing children is so hard.

But they did calm down and peace was made, had lunch and then went to Rowntree Park for 'radio training' with Dave the licencee of the park, who had also got some bright yellow tabards for the stewards. Met up with Jo who is a very level-headed and sensible person (in my eyes anyway) and we had a good chat and I felt quite grounded afterwards.

Visited Cycle Heaven, and saw my bicycle priced up which they're going to build me... expensive but 'the strongest bike they've ever built' will be just perfect for me. I said 'YES' please build me that set-up, will be ready in 2 or 3 weeks. Excited already!

Then a regular pick up from OOTW and saw Marianne about the Festival and she gave me my July honourarium, always nice to be given money for something you enjoy doing!

Then to Mail Boxes Etc who have printed out programme, and it's ok, so cycled home with a box full of them, and picked up some more stuff from Martins.

Did a ring round to find the best deal on fire extinguishers... so buying 2kg of CO2 for £67... weird for a green festival intent on reducing CO2 emissions. Just hope we don't need to use it!

Then made sandwiches and loaded the trailer with Fiddlesticks stuff, Gill plaited my hair and I set off for the station for a gig in Harrogate, at Fairfax Community Centre.

This went well, even though under-attended, and got back here at 10.15 with another load of compostables balanced on the trailer along with the unicycles etc.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Thursday 26th July 07

Another busy day, Gill trying to get our accounts done, so we offloaded the kids round to a friend and G got on with work, I had a shower and got ready for work, the second day with the gifted and talented kids at Manor School. Got there in good time and laid out the equipment for the workshop. This went well, very talented, good fast learners.

Home via the building society to get a cheque out and put one in, picked up compostables from Martins and got home before 3pm, and both of us felt really tired.

So I got on with more YGF stuff, oh it's nearly over....

Tea was lovely, fermented soya bean thingy (forgotten it's name) and onion, pepper and HOME GROWN TOMATOES yummy!

And then out again, a site meeting at Rowntree Park with stewards and organisers, which went well, and then a swift cycle to St Nicks for their AGM.

Had problems with blog not being connected, slowed things down quite a bit.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Wednesday 25th July 07

Not such a hugely busy day, but got lots done, including a lie-in til 9am!

Then at 11 we had visitors who stayed a couple of hours and then after lunch Gill went out with the boys and one of their friends to the Castle Museum, as I had a few visits round town to do, including a couple of compost pick ups, signing a couple of YorkLETS sterling cheques at Liz's and a pop in to Cycle Heaven to see if they've got my new bike priced up yet...they hadn't.

Then onto see my friend Anita who's got a stiff neck and had requested a massage, which I'm always happy to supply, although we have a strictly professional relationship and good friendship, we've known each other for years.

Home for tea which was pasta, and did some composting, rebuilt a pallet bin and put a load of woodchips in the base.

Various email stuff and some last minute YGF sorting out.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Tuesday 24th July 07

Another busy day, but woke when our 9 yr old knocked on the door to tell us it was 7.30 and he'd like breakfast. Yesterday he slid in quietly and we again asked him again to knock if he wanted to come in, in case we were doing anything which might embarrass him.... he had a huge paddy about this as he thought he'd been told off. This morning he told us he hadn't wanted to wake us up, just to see if we were awake... he can of course get his own breakfast these days, but the whole thing is a minefield.

I was able to do a bit in the garden first thing, before getting ready for work, at Manor School again, this time for a summer school Gifted, Able and Talented primary kids going up to secondary (I think). Gill went to pick up her new glasses and Maria came to babysit as I was leaving at 11.45 to start at 12.30.

The gig went really well, they were talented, several of them were already jugglers and diabolo players, and were good listeners and learners, it was a really good hour. We had 10 mins of instruction and information, then 45 mins of play, experimentation, trying stuff out, and 5 mins of showing what they'd learned at the end.

Then down to York again to visit Cycle Heaven to get my damaged wheel replaced, it didn't take long and cost just £20, and I was able to reload my kit onto the trailer and go to Rowntree Park to meet up with the Environmental Health people who were concerned about noise pollution. They were very supportive, unlike their colleague the Festivals Officer, and came up with common-sense solutions, and appeared to want the event to go ahead.

Then bombed home and Maria was still there, Gill doing accounts and Maria reading a book, they'd had lunch together and were just settled happily and the boys were playing without any grown-up input.

I did some housework and then had to go back into town to meet the Council Officer who's in charge of licencing the Rowntree Park, and discussed all sorts of issues with him and he too was very supportive and helpful.. quite a revelation after the feeling of a lack of help/support from the person who's supposed to assist festival organisers. I left feeling good, and picked up a huge load of compostables from Martin's Country Fresh, two sacks and 3 boxes, including a sack of bananas which hadn't sold even at knock down prices, perhaps 50 or 100 of them, I haven't yet got to the bottom of the sack! I've got loads drying on the stove though.

Tea was some out of date tofu with onions and yesterday's soup on top, with walnut bread from Masham. Delicious!

An evening of emailing and blogging and googletalk with K in US, we're enjoying our chats a lot at the moment. Also had to do some YGF stuff...

Monday, 23 July 2007

Monday 23rd July 07

Not too early a start today, but had to get to the station in time for the 9.53am to Brough near Hull where I was picked up by the husband of the lady who'd booked me to do a circus workshop at her dance school. I did a 45 min mini show and workshop with the 3 to 5 year olds, then another 45 mins with 6 to 15 year olds, then we all had lunch and I did a workshop with nearly all of them, we all had a very full-on time for an hour including headstand workshops which was fun. And then it was time to go back to the station, bearing a cheque and a smile on my face.

Back in York at 4 ish, I'd written my Community Care blog in the train, and I collected a sack of compostables on the way home and popped into Cycle Heaven to book my trailer in for the wheel replacement, which will be tomorrow.

Tea was yesterday's reheated veg stew and scone-top, with tomato and squash soup, a fantastic home-made tea.

In the evening, typed in my CC blog and chatted on Googletalk and did emails....

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Sunday 22nd July 07 - Masham Steam Rally

Woke early, about 6.30, but then dozed and got up in time for breakfast at about 9am... which was the usual British B n B fare of cereals, cooked breakfast (eggs fried hard as I like them, mushrooms, beans, funny potato thingies, veggie sausages, toast, orange juice...) and a carafe of coffee.. another huge pile of food. My unicycle had developed a loose crank the previous night so I walked it to the showground, with back pack and all my gear, after paying Sue. She'd asked me for only £10, but I told her that wasn't enough for the comfort I'd had, and the food, and gave her £20, still reasonable for a night's stopover.

An engineer on the Rallyground sorted my unicycle with a rubber mallet and socket set, and I did more unicycling, this time with yoyo balls, which are fairly unusual and people stop and stare, as they're quaintly chaotic and look weird (Astrojax is their correct name), also did some devilsticking walkabout as the weather was drier, and of course more balloons. I must have made about 150 balloon models over the weekend, and told most of the recipients how to recycle them once they burst or go down.... on the compost heap! (Natural latex rubber is biodegradable, vulcanised rubber, with sulphur added, isn't)

Another big lunch, sun came out, more people on site, more stuff going on, including a biplane doing tricks, motorbike displays including jumping through fire... a huge pall of oily black smoke, I thought there'd been an accident, and good humour as this felt like a proper summer event, although the ground was still challenging to unicycle on/in!

I got paid and got a lift back to Thirsk for the 4.19 train, which was late and didn't come til 5pm, but did have a good chat to a long-haired photographer called John, and we talked about cameras and various green issues.

When back in York, and all gear stowed safely on the trailer, popped into Out Of This World to do my Friday pickup(!) and came home really loaded up, bike straining with the weight of two unicycles, bag o tricks, costume, training unicycles AND all the compostables. Home by 6pm, Gill fed me an interesting stew-with-scone-topping, and I put a load of the compostable stuff on one of my many heaps, although there's loads of 'spelt grain' which is out of date, but what do I do with it? I don't want to compost it, I'd like to know how to use it. Any recipes, please email them to me at thanks! (I'm assuming someone actually reads this now it's appeared on a list of blogs worth reading... yes I Googled my own name again the other day!)

Not too late an evening, as more work tomorrow, over near Hull.

Saturday 21st July 07 - Masham Steam Rally

First thing this morning, after listening to the weather forecast, Gill suggested that instead of camping, I could see if our friends in Masham, who have a Bed and Breakfast Guest House, had had any cancellations and therefore a space. She rang them and there were no cancellations, but Sue offered me a space on her couch, something I've said yes to before! So I said yes and felt quite a relief that I didn't have to try and sleep whilst damp and cold, in a noisy festival site... showing my age perhaps?

Then got loaded up and cycled to the station, unloaded and locked my bike up and got my ticket, got the 9.26 to Thirsk. When there, was met by Steve who's been booked to drive a water tanker on the site, and lives in Thirsk, so he was happy to pick me up. Very pleasent guy, good chats and he dropped me off at the old station yard which is where many of the traction engines and other vehicles are taken off their low-loaders. The site was very muddy, the field was well churned up by all the vehicle movements, and I knew I was in for a tough time.

I went to the Theakston's Brewery lorry where there are demonstrations of coopering, barrel-making, with top cooper Jonathan. I left my little unicycle and bag o jugglestuff there and hopped on the big uni and cycled up to Masham, to see Sue and George and get changed into my Fiddlesticks gear. On the way there, I noticed a ceramic mug on the verge, I hopped off and was suprised to find it was a Beatles 'Abbey Road' mug! What a find... what a loss! Wondered if I should report this as a found item to the local fuzz, but when I got to Sue and George's I forgot about it and got on with preparing for the day's entertainment.

So after a quick shop in Leah's deli, for some teatime victuals, I unicycled back to the site in full costume and was ready to do as well as I could in the circumstances.

As the ground was very wet and it rained on and off, I stuck to unicycling and balloon modelling, both of which are possible in the wet, whereas devilsticks isn't. I had a good day, with loads of people commenting on my ability to unicycle in mud and on soft ground. It isn't that difficult, it's the bumps, or changes in texture which are difficult to cope with, such as from soft and squidgy to harder firmer ground, which can't be seen easily. It was good to be able to hop off and go into balloon modelling mode, got loads out.

Enjoyed lunch, the folks at MSR always provide lunch for volunteers and workers, and as I'm the only vegetarian on site (you should see how many hog roasts there are!) they do me a separate platter, with quiche, lettuce, hard boiled eggs, pasta salad, cucumber, potato salad and more..., followed by trifle, washed down with's a wonder I can get myself onto my unicycle afterwards!

The usual rally procession didn't happen, as many of the traction engines were pretty much stuck, so they didn't come off site and parade up to the town square, as they normally do on Saturday teatime. A bit of a disappointment, as this is a big crowd-pleaser. However, I unicycled up there as usual, and a couple of engines did too, and some lighter vehicles like landrovers, an old steam bus, some minature traction engines. I did lots of unicycling around and gave out more balloons to add to the fun atmosphere. I rang Gill at about 7.45 to say goodnight to the boys and tell her all was well, and retired to Sue and George's, and had a big tea of bread and bits, with some Merry Down cider, which I was pleased to find in Leah's deli at only £2.15 for the litre.

I stayed in, watched Top Of The Pops 2 'Disco Special', which took me back a few years, and went to bed quite early for me, at 11pm. Slept well on the couch.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Friday 20th July 07

A busy day working, got the 9.30 bus to Pocklington and changed to the Bridlington bus and got off at the Driffield Bus station, and was soon met by my booker Ruth, who's a mum on the Board of Governors for Langtoft School.

I recognised the school, I'd done something there a couple of years ago, and this event was a bit of a sad one as the school has been told it is too small to be able to deliver the curriculum to the juniors, so they're moving to a larger school some way away, leaving the infants.

So they had a sports day in the morning and then a party tea, which included much food flinging, then after clearing up, my shows which were well recieved and provided much fun for all, and a suitable last day. Was dropped off in Driffield at 3pm, went to Boots to get prescription, and waited for the bus. Snoozed on the bus as absolutely exhausted, home by 5, went on email to do more YGF, oh I'll be glad when it's over!

At 9pm, popped down to Heslington Road greengrocers to pick up 2 boxes of stuff left out for me, and raided a skip for wood on the way back!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Thursday 19th July 07

A tough day for me, although Gill took the boys to school which was good. I had several things to get done first thing, mainly yet more Green Festival things. Then at about 11am, loaded my Fiddlesticks stuff onto the bike trailer and set off to town, where I popped into The Anti-Gravity Shop to get a couple of Devilsticks for one of my clients next week, and from there onto Manor School for my last gig with the group I've been with since January. I just let them play freely, and made some balloon models for them.

Then on the way home I visited Graham's parents, who had my penknife which I'd lent to Graham at the last Critical Mass and forgot to get back off him. They were lovely, I've met them both before, York's a small place! They told me that Graham had recieved his degree confirmation yesterday, a 2.1 which is excellent, especially for someone so active in community matters. Well done Graham! Good chats about composting and other ethical issues over a fair-trade coffee.

Then went to pick up my prescription. On the way into the surgery, probably cycling too fast, my trailer overturned (probably on the kerb) and I came to a sudden halt, my groin landing on the handlebar stem, quite a bump. Still aching hours later. Silly fool, speeding!

Anyway, got home a little more slowly and carefully than I sometimes do, and was in time to pick up the kids.... and in the playground was greeted by 'IRA Bob' who's building the new Japanese garden, and he was very angry with me for saying to the school about the railway sleepers not being suitable. He accused me of trying to sabotage his work, called me lots of vulgar names very loudly and threatened to kill me if I ever got in his way again. This was the first time I had 'got involved' in one of his projects, and my feelings about the unsuitable sleepers were nothing to do with him as a person. They are because tarry sleepers aren't allowed to be used in playgrounds or where there might be regular skin contact. The tar is difficult to get off skin and clothes, smells horrible and can cause cancer. And as this garden is in memory of a pupil who died of leukemia, it is particularly inappropriate. So Bob was really out of order, I didn't lower myself to his level and didn't retaliate. I could not reply to him as he shouted over my attempts to explain. So, feeling shaky about his threat to kill me, I went to the office and complained to the very tolerant Mrs C and then the Headteacher, who told me that I'd done the right thing and she'd go and tell him that using that language and intimidation was wrong.

My eldest child asked if he could go to S's house with several other lads, to celebrate the last day of term. I said yes, and Maria took his bike home in her car, and was dropping it off when I arrived back home, with a trailer load of recyclables from the school bins.

I spent quite a while doing more YGF stuff, made a quick tea of tempeh and onion, potato salad and cabbage salad, and then went to town to the Blue Bell to pick up the keys for Space 109 for our last York Green Festival meeting there. The meeting was well attended, with representatives from three bands, several stewards and various others. We got a lot sorted, it is all coming together I think. However I still think the council will cancel the event because the ground will be too soggy.

Home to sort out a letter to local residents, neighbours of the park, and other email stuff.

Whilst on the computer, did a search for health and railway sleepers, and yes, there is an EU directive saying that they shouldn't be used in playgrounds or if they would be in contact with skin if they have been treated with creosote, which these had. I am relieved that my info was correct... previously I had objected because I had a memory of the subject coming up on a gardening programme. However, I reckon that IRA Bob may try to get his own back because of this... I hope not, but only time will tell.

Wednesday 18th July 07

Took the boys to school, it's sports day today, and as the field is so wet, it's all happening inside.

When I got home I started to work on my column for Community Care, my fifth, this one on Ethical Holidaying. Then Giles from the Co-op rang and invited himself round to deliver the Co-op banners and some fair-trade chocolate, recycled tyres pencilcases and Co-op labelled water bottles.

He arrived within the hour, we chatted about the York Green Festival and I gave him the tour of the garden, he couldn't stay long.

Got back to doing my column, needed to do some research on carbon offsetting and various other things, like 'The Man In Seat 61' ( who can get you info about train travel through Europe and beyond. A short break for lunch and carried on, then went to get the kids, but our youngest went to play with a friend, so came back with just our 9 year old.

However before that, did my composting of fruit and bits from the playground bins, and visited the big bins area, which had over 20 bin bags of paper just put into the ordinary bins. I went to the office to complain, and noticed that the new Japanese Garden, being installed by a chap I know is a bit of a cowboy, whom I refer to as 'IRA Bob', as he is open about supporting the IRA, had got a pile of old tarry sleepers there, ready to go in as a border. Tar-dipped sleepers are not now reccommended for use in gardens or schools, as the tar finds it's way onto clothes and skin, and it is known to be (or contain) carcinogenic components, and they smell horrible. So I told the office about them too. I hope they aren't put in, I hope if sleepers are needed, that untreated ones are used.

So as soon as I got home I bombed into town, to get a repeat prescription and marmite, and go to Out Of This World for my compostables pickup.

Home with veggie sausages and burgers, cooked them on the woodstove whilst I cycled back to Heslington to pick up our 7 year old, who'd had a good time playing.

Tea was vegan throwouts, tomato stuff I cooked yesterday and some very old/tired maize, not sweetcorn as wasn't sweet, was starchy but filling, and ok with the tom stuff on top of it. Gill put hers in the compost it was so disgusting. Best to grow own, or buy fresh, not reclain from compost collections!

After tea I spent a while loading up a 'sit and wait' compost heap, and doing some shredding of hedge clippings. Then came in and did a word count on the Community Care article, and it was 39 over. So did some good precis work and editing, got it to 344, six under my limit. Sent it in, a day early! Then did emails, watched telly and chatted on Googletalk with K over in America. Bathwater will wait til tomorrow morning. I have a gig tomorrow, have to be shaved and non-smelly. Bed after 1am, as usual.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Tuesday 17th July 07

Started the day by checking emails, to see if there was any response to my document, and I was told that I hadn't actually filled in the full application yet! I looked through the pack I was given, and found a document alongside applications to close off roads, which I hadn't filled in, so I did this, contacted a colleague who will be able to transfer the listed risk assessment into the required format, in a box format.

I am finding the whole exercise very stressful and the red tape is a nightmare. I never knew it would be so difficult.

I went to town after lunch to deliver photocopied insurance details, and a blank pro-former of the box-style format risk assessment to my mate who'll transfer the info.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Monday 16th July 07

Gill took the boys to school and I got on with finishing off the documentation to allow the Green Festival to happen, and got it in just before the deadline at midday. In the afternoon I felt strangely freed up, released, so got on with a bit of logging and then at 3 went to school to pick up the boys.

On the way back, I came along Windmill Lane towards Hull Road and there was a blue sports car half in the cycle box which is just infront of the traffic lights, and is for bikes not cars. My boys are being trained to ride on the road, so I positioned my bike directly infront of the car, at right angles to the front of it, to allow the children to position themselves infront, where they could get a safe start when the lights changed. When it went green, the car revved, the woman driver obviously impatient. As I then cycled away following the boys onto Hull Road, she accelerated and crashed into my trailer, which got partly wedged into the front of her car. I got off and remonstrated with her, opening her door and telling her I was angry with her for driving into my trailer. I asked her to reverse, and I pulled my trailer free, and cycled off as I was angry and didn't want to get in a confrontation with the stupid woman. I didn't check my trailer until I arrived home, when I found that one wheel was skew wiff and broken. I realised that I should have got her details, and cursed myself for leaving without checking the trailer.

Then my brainy 9 year old piped up that he had memorised the number plate and had written it down when he arrived home! What a darling! What a star! I phoned the police and gave them the details of the incident, including the registration of the stupid woman's vehicle.

They phoned me back and said that it was a company car and the company would give my details to the woman, who if she agreed it was her fault, would pay for a new wheel and repairs. If she contested the incident, I could report it to the police and they'd get involved.

However the trailer still rolled and the wheel was broken only enough for it to wobble when it turned round, so I cycled down to Cycle Heaven and asked them if they would be able to replace the wheel, and they ordered one.

I did a pick up, using more of my panniers and rack than usual, as my trailer might not support much weight.

Good electric storm this evening, spectacular.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Sunday 15th July 07

Today is my last chance to modify the documentation for York Green Festival to allow it to go ahead. However in the morning I had a phone chat with Green Party Councillor Andy D'Agorne, who has offered his support for the event and has offered to email the Council official who is being less than helpful, and then a Freecycling couple came to pick up some potato sacks to store their spuds in. Good to get 20 of these re-used!

Then a friend Robin whom I met through CRAG rand and offered me a load of old floorboards for the stove.... so I helped him unload his trailer and showed him around the garden, THEN got on with my work.

After lunch went to town to attend the open day at Millers Yard Healthy Living Centre off Gillygate, as Dylan had asked me to go down for 3pm to do a talk on home composting, as I compost his orange halves and coffee grounds, voluntarily. However the wet weather had reduced the numbers of people present and no-one wanted to have a home composting talk. However as I was standing around with a coffee waiting to see if there were any latecomers to the talk, my ex partner of 10 years turned up, as she is moving back to York and for a while we have both known that we needed to have a chat to put our split behind us, so I could apologise for behaviour I now know was unacceptable, and give her the chance to tell me how she felt about it, all these years later. I hadn't expected to see her here, but we had the neccessary conversation, and she was very mature about it and not bitter, which moved me to tears. I explained as much as I could about my situation/condition and how I saw things now, and was able to make my sorrow and regret known. Felt like quite a relief, a weight off my mind.

After 4pm went to Fishergate to pick up some Freecycled audio-cassette tapes dumped unused in a skip by students, and rescued by a Freecycler.

Then to Heslington to pick up my eldest son who's been to Rowntree Park with a friend and needed bringing home for tea. We all had tea together, it is supposed to be good for families to do this but I find it stressful as my boys are difficult to be with, kicking me under the table, being messy and getting upset when I ask them to eat with their face over the plate to stop stuff falling on the floor, etc. I much prefer them to eat first and then we eat later, in peace.

Spent lots of time on the computer, on dialup, trying to deal with various projects including YGF.

Frustrating that when sending large files, the dialup has short timeouts which mean the process starts all over again, so frustrating.

Saturday 14th July 07

A reasonably early start, as got a train to Peterborough, where I was picked up by a nearby resident who has a child at Bourne Grammar School, and she took me up to Bourne to entertain at the music festival they've put on.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Friday 13th July 07

A day. The best thing was going on a time trial on my bike, 7.9km, organised by Clifton Cycling Club. It started at 7pm, actually a little later, and I was 18th to start, with people starting every minute. I was soon overtaken by the 19th, a large young lad, and after that by the 20th, which spurred me on to go a little faster. I came 35th out of 40 riders, not suprising as I was on my ordinary bike with lights/dynamo, bell, mudguards, and non-aerodynamic clothing. However I did take off my trailer and panniers! My average speed was just over 19mph or 30kmh. I kinda didn't enjoy the cycle as it was tough, but enjoyed the camardarie afterwards.

Earlier in the day I did a cycle through town, collected my compostables, popped into Cycle Heaven and got home for lunch.

Did only a small amount to try to rectify the YGF situation.

Feel depressed about it. Anyway, I have done my best.

The only other thing of interest was that on breakfast TV there was a short report about the lack of services for 'adult sufferers of ADHD, many of whom are condemmed to a life of chaos and even prison'. It made me cry, I feel that wobbly. Not a good feeling, and the 'condemmed' and 'chaos' feel very close to the truth right now.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Thursday 12th July 07

I took the boys into school and then went back to bed as exhausted.

Got up as I couldn't sleep and wasn't feeling restful, rested or restable, infact I had to go and check the emails to see if any of my friends/colleagues had sent me anything to assist in the making of the Green Festival Document to make it better and more likely to be accepted by the council.

There was one email, from Tim the council person who'd volunteered to take responsibility for organising the children's festival area, and he was pulling out. I felt depressed, rats leaving a sinking ship crosses my mind. Anyway, emailed my friends who are still supportive, I think, and asked for help.

Then it was lunchtime and after that I popped into town to put a pile of cheques in and visit Dylan at Miller's Yard and the tax office, to discuss how I deal with the impending purchase of my next bike, which will be used for Fiddlesticks, 'John the Composter' and for non-work rides. Over a phone helpline the system was explained about 'capital allowances' and how some purchases aren't considered simple expenses, but are treated a bit differently for taxation reasons. It is complicated but we'll cope!

Came back via Hes Rd Veg, Martin's Rotten Old Gunk shop and arrived back just at 3pm, in time to pick up the boys... all go... never stops!

In the evening I went to the St Nicks Volunteers event, to discuss volunteer policies and have a social. A good time was had.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Wednesday 11th July 07

Took the children to school, my 9yr old dressed like a 'Punk' as part of his classes theme on 60's, 70's and 80's. Then home to get into town to deliver my map/plan of the YGF07, deliver some SUMA stuff to Peter at York Credit Union and meet up with ITV people in Out Of This World, to start filming.

We did a few shots of Duncan and me cycling through York, towards the ethical supermarket, and then some footage inside, with me greeting Marianne the manageress, and introducing Duncan who presents the programme. The programme is expected to be called 'Wood You Believe It? with Duncan Wood (hahahahahohohoho!) and will be broadcast in late September or early October on ITV Yorkshire. Duncan interviewed Marianne and then we went round the back to film the loading up of the bike trailer with 'unsold fruit and veg' (mustn't call it waste!) and then we did a couple of takes with us cycling past Clifford's Tower.

The next stop was at Martin's Country Fresh on Heslington Road, another two or three bags of unwanted materials for recycling. On the way back home I found some wood in a skip, but we decided that it would be too complicated to include that, so we did another take arriving back minus the wood, with just the compostables. I think they got some film of unloading and taking a barrowful down the garden, and there was lots of me sorting through the stuff and putting some aside for drying and eating, with an incredulous Duncan who hadn't yet sampled the delicious dried fruit I make on top of the woodstoves. They also did a couple of shots with me coming out of the compost toilet, and Duncan 'sampling' the 4 or 5 year old well-composted humanure and sawdust mix.

Then it was time to go to school, Duncan and I cycled down and the producer Charlie and camera person Tony ( I think) went in their car as they had loads of equipment. The TV company had cleared the filming with the school, and I did my usual daily routine of taking compostables out of the bins, putting them in the compostables bin and putting it all in the composter I installed to encourage the school to take more responsibility with their environment. The school has not taken their responsibilities seriously, including not electing me into the Board of Governers under a 'sustainability' ticket, and I am extremely angry that they aren't doing more to promote recycling and energy saving, which is why I do my daily compostables retrieval as if I didn't I'd explode and it would all get messy. So we filmed this routine! I explained that the school was good with their 'multicultural' education but not good when it came to sustainability, and I was determined to assist the school with reducing their carbon footprint, even if THEY weren't that bothered. I do feel a bit odd about this, but the school has had loads of chances to do better and they just haven't risen to the challenge. So I think I am justified. But there are bound to be repercussions.

The boys, Duncan and I cycled home after Duncan tried to interview them ,relatively unsuccessfully. Gill was filmed picking loganberries, we did some filming inside about the stove and the dried fruit and water heating, and finally back outside to check out riddling the finished compost and leafmould. All this will be condensed into 12 minutes apparently.

I enjoyed the process, and they found me quite easy to work with as I have had quite a bit of experience already.

When they had gone I dared to download my emails to find out if the Council have allowed my risk assessment. They haven't, and have found more wrong with it. I just am at a loss at to what to do. It's a nightmare.

I was as close to depressed as I've ever been this evening because of the difficulties I'm having with organising York Green Festival. I passed the message to my colleagues and asked for help.

Tuesday 10th July 07

A lovely day working in a local school, a circus day for year 3 children (7 yr olds) who have missed out on a school trip, so instead they had a fun day with me, dressing up, face painting etc.

I first did a 1 hour show and workshop with all 28 children, then came back for lunch. Then just before 1pm I went back and did 2 circus skills workshops with 14 children each, followed by a balloon show and workshop with all of them. A very satisfying day, quite reasonably paid, for lots of fun.

Had an early tea and was picked up by Erin the Recycling Officer in her car to go to the Ward Committee in Dunnington, to present a York Rotters info talk and questions session. Lots of interest in the Rotters stall, very satisfying.

Home to the stress and difficulty of my last chance to improve my documentation for the Green Festival later this month. Spent til 2am finishing it off and drawing the plan of the event onto the map of Rowntree Park.

Didn't write my personal blog, as no time.

I don't want to do this Festival organising thing again. I feel I have had very little help, and almost obstruction from the Festivals Officer who has been sarcastic, rude and quite unhelpful. I will complain about her when all is done.

Monday 9th July 07

Recovering from a busy weekend in Sheffield and Warrington, and spent the best part of the day doing the Risk Assessment for York Green Festival. Difficult.
Was told by the Council that what I have submitted so far is not acceptable, and if I cannot get something better in by 4pm on Weds, then they will cancel the event.

At teatime I went down to the school in Heslington to help with a York Rotters stall at the Ward Committee open air info day. I got my bike 'tagged' by the police so if it gets stolen and found, it can be scanned and it will come up as mine.

Home to write my paid blog which was about Live Earth and Sheffield Green Fair.

Then spent til 2am trying to make the Green Festival document fuller and more like a risk assessment that I was given last week as a template.

Not an easy task, frustrating and needed lots of concentration. Didn't write personal blog, no time.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Sunday 8th July 07

Oh such an early start... I got to the station to catch the 6.58 train to Manchester, but it went the long way round to Leeds because of engineering work, and when we left Leeds we got stuck for 20 mins with some late finishing working so our train was late getting in to Manchester and I missed my connection so had to wait an hour for the next one, so arrived in Warrington at 10.40 not 9.40, so started the event at 11, not at 10 which is when the Disability Awareness Day starts.
However got going and did lots of unicycling aroung and being loud and silly, making people laugh and interacting humourously, devilsticking and greeting people.

Then did some inside stuff, in the Arts Marquee, and did assorted workshops, had sandwiches for lunch and then worked solid all afternoon. It is a brilliant event, so many interesting people and happy kids.

Sabrina's band 'The Heroes' played their last gig and I enjoyed that, and went soon after. The free bus was waiting for me and as I got on several people cheered!

There was just a 20 min wait at the station before the train came, no changes, so got to York at about 7.30. I popped into Out Of This World to see if there were any recyclables, and there were lots of out of date things, and plates, and serving cutlery, and lots of other things, so came home very well loaded.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Saturday 7th July 07

Quite an early start, as going to the Sheffield Green Fair today. Cycled to the station well loaded up and got my ticket before getting the 9.44 (I think!) to Sheffield. I sat next to a pretty young woman and chatted to her. Jane from Newcasle was off to a wedding in Birmingham, a Muslim friend, she worked as a lorry driver. An interesting and unusual woman, we enjoyed the hour we spent together. When got to Sheffers, walked for 15 mins to get to St Mary's, Bramhall Lane, arriving there at about 11am. The event was supposed to start at 12, so I had a good wander round and was happy to meet Jude on a composting stall who has helped John from St Nicks with a funding bid, and reccomended St Nicks for an award, which it got along with £2500!

Other composters there too, including a WRAP chap who works with Isobel Bloomfield, and the gent Richard Clare, who several years ago sold me the Jack Edwards Climbing Pea Beans which I have distributed widely. I told him the story of my Dad, who grudgingly took some dried Pea Beans from me, saying they won't be as good as Runner Beans, but would try them anyway. That year he agreed they grew well and tasted good.. A subsequent year it was too dry for his runners to do well and the Pea Beans did very well, and he was converted, and now grows fewer Runners and more Pea Beans, and he's been distributing them amongst friends and neighbours. This little story made Richard's day, apparently! I bought several more types of self-saved seed from him, which I look forward to trying out.

Towards midday I got changed and did some unicycling around and then did parts of my show and workshop, stopping at 1, when my friend Lorna arrived. It was really good to see her, as she's going through some difficult times and needs the support. My long-term friend Dawn arrived, it's always lovely to see her, and she and Lorna chatted as I started work again and did another batch of circus workshopees. At 2.15 I did my full one-hour show, including working with a young girl with cerebral palsy, which was difficult but the audience gave her a big round of applause, and later in the show I got her back out to do the yoyo balls (Astrojax) which she was able to hold and do, getting more applause. When I got paid at the end of the event, this girl's Mum had told the organisers how pleased the yougster had been to be included, and she was really happy... therefore Mum was too, and thank you very much!

The circus show finished at 3.30, which is when I was due to start the Balloon Show inside, but the inside people were running late so there wasn't a problem, spant 15 mins blowing up balloons and then did about an hour of balloon modelling activities, also went down well (well, most of them stayed up, some popped, only two went down... hahahahaha!) and there was one Mum and daughter in the audience who appeared to really enjoy it, laughing and offering heckles, lovely to see. When I'd finished and walked to the station, they were there, and getting on the same train as Sophia, as Mum was called, lives in Crowle near Doncaster. We had a right laugh on the train, and chatted to another couple Lee and Jill who had been cycling a 300 mile Sustrans 30th anniversary journey near Bristol, and who were going back to Newcastle. They had 2 young kids who'd done the journey with them, so the 'quiet carriage' was actually full of chatter, laughter, childrens noises and eventually it all got too exciting and the children added crying to the noise. There was another person who joined in with the party, Alison from Chesterfield, off to Scarborough , and she also enjoyed the 'up' feel to the journey.

I cycled back home and arrived at about 7pm, Gill had created some cauliflower cheese and this was very welcome!

Enjoyed 'Live Earth' on the TV.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Friday 6th July 07

Woke at 4.30 am and couldn't go back to sleep, as birds noisy outside and my lovely wife snoring, so I got up and got dressed and went into the garden and did some composting for an hour, then came in for breakfast. Whilst watching the early morning news and reading an interesting magazine called I found myself drifting off so I went back upstairs as Gill was getting up, and I got another couple of hours sleep.

But was awoken by my 9 year old yelling at the top of his voice at Mum that she was an auful mum, so I came down to see if I could help and support and defuse...
He'd been hitting his younger brother, Gill had told him to stop, and he'd continued, so Gill said 'oh I give up' to which he erupted with his hurtful comment. His anger was so intense that I sent him to his room and said he wasn't going to school with mum, so Gill cycled to school with the younger one only. When the shouting had stopped I went to talk to him, to give him a hug and some reassurance, and to see if I could find out what had happened to set him off. Gill came in and took him into our bed, as he'd apparently also been awake very early, and she cuddled him to sleep, he slept for a couple of hours, and had lunch at home and was taken into school at lunchtime. What a todo! What do we do? We need help coping. Help! We have asked for help and are going to be rung up next week by child mental health services.

At about 11am, the producer of ITV's 'Wood you believe it?' (I think it's spelt like this, as presented by Duncan Wood) called Charlie came round to suss out the scene here, as they are filming next week. They are interested in the composting, cycling and woodburning as part of our low-impact lifestyle. The programme will go out in Aug/Sept on ITV1 Yorkshire at 11pm.

She stayed til after 1pm, and then I went on the computer to try to keep on with the risk assessment for York Green Festival, but 3pm came around so soon and I cycled to school to pick up my sons.

When I got back, I went straight into town to do my Friday compostables pick up from Out Of Date World, came back with a trailer full of delights, ate some of them and went immediately into town again to take part in the monthly Critical Mass Cycle Ride, which this month had 17 riders, joined later by another two, was a good ride, with only one appallingly behaved car-driver, in a red car, very aggressive and should have been reported for dangerous driving. We gave him as good as he gave us....

Back by 7pm, boys heading for bed within the hour and I spent the hour clearing up the piles of crap and wet cardboard into a new heap.

Washing up and blogging in the evening, will try to finish risk assessment over weekend... when I don't know, but will try! I went on the Live Earth website and registered my support and pledge, and took a few minutes to do the online carbon calculator, which gave me a 'one tonne' score... quite low. My 'points' score was 126, very low. Not sure what this meant, but it tallies with a couple of other calculators I've done.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Thursday 5th July 07

Another fairly early morning as noisy downstairs so I got up and took the boys to school, although they were pretty horrible before setting out, and both apologised to me when they got to school. My youngest had spent so long not putting on his socks that I put them on him for him, in anger and he wasn't happy, nor was I. But we got to school on time, which is better than some people who are still coming to school when I'm coming back home.

Spent most of the day on the computer trying to sort out the bloody risk assessment which is not easy as I think I should be detailed and include everything which could affect the punters at the festival, and the boss at the council says I should only include those things connected with the Festival and what we bring onto site. I find her difficult to deal with, she's sarcastic and I don't like this approach. But she's the boss and could cancel the Green Festival so I cannot upset her!

Got the kids at 3 and then did some more sorting, this time talking to the PA person about Portable Appliance Testing and how we can ensure that all the musicians get their instruments certificated as electrically safe. Then sometime after 4 went to Scarcroft Green for 'Green on the Green', to see my CRAGger friends, Rotters, St Nicks-ites and other greenies.

At 5pm, when the event finished, Jo, who was working on the York Rotters stall, and she came to the Rowntrees Park with me with the maps she's printed off for me. Walked round in the rain checking out the venues for the live music, stalls, solar cinema and DJ area. Talked to the Park staff about power points and access to water.

Then cycled home and got in shortly after 6pm, and Gill had created a good tea of bulgar wheat, veg and chestnuts.

Went back on the email after this, and bombed into town, picked up the Space 109 keys and went to get on with the meeting. The meeting went well, several stallholders attended and we had a good meeting. This will be reported in my other blogspot blog, the York Green Festival blog, when I write it up.

Then went to the Blue Bell pub with Martin and Graham, and had some really interesting chats about relationships and the various different styles of relationship which now exist and are named and described. Fascinating, thought provoking.

Came back tipsy and had a good email and Googletalk session with K, didn't get much else done though!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Weds 4th July 07

I took the boys to school and then did housework and some email answers, put some info on the CRAG forum on woodstoves, about wood and its burning characteristics, including a great poem about logs, which I got from a workshop on wood fuel at Askham Bryan College a while ago.

Then at 11 am, Max from YellowTom came to pick up my cheque and we didn't spend much time together but he did demonstrate his brilliant Blues Piano playing skills. He liked out 'honky tonk' type piano and told us it sounded fine, didn't need tuning (for his type of playing anyway!)

Then I went for lunch with Jo, at her house for the first time, and was fed well and we had some good chats until about 2pm.

After lunch I zoomed into town to do my pick ups from Out Of This World and the greengrocers and got back in time to go and pick up the boys. Asked the head-teacher if ITV are allowed to film me next Wednesday doing my usual routine in the school playground after school and cycling back with the boys. I told her that the TV people would be ringing her.

Spent most of the evening trying to do the difficult risk assessment.

However did have some good communication with K. in US of A over Googletalk, which was lovely.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Tuesday 3rd July 07

Gill took the boys to school as I was up late last night, trying to do various work on the computer, and failing dismally, so I think she felt sorry for me. But their protests before leaving awoke me at 8.20 and I came down and did some washing up with last night's hot water from the woodstove, then had an interesting phone call, planned, from an Australian PHd student called Carmel, who's researching environmentalists and their beliefs. This took an hour and twenty minutes, I enjoy being interviewed as it helps me think about my motives, why I do things and whether my values are reflected in my behaviour.

Then I went onto my computer and got on with the risk assessment, which is really difficult. This went on til 3pm when Gill cycled to school and I needed a break and went to the Co-op, and then did a bit of work in the garden. I filled up a dalek and then dug out a large pallet bin with sit n wait compost in, and turned it into the next bay.

Came in at nearly 10pm and had a shower and sat with Gill for a bit, then got on with work.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Monday 2nd July 07

Well, a tough day, I took the boys into school as I won't be able to pick them up, and Gill and I share everything as equally as possible. At about 9.15, a Freecycler called Andrew called, who'd advertised for stuff for his garden, so I'd offered him some compost. He had the tour, and was as suprised as most people are about the range of things which are compostable... and he drove away with a sack of the stuff suitable educated and promising to put more materials on his new heap! Just the outcome I'm wanting.

Then went on the computer and tried to keep going with the Risk Assessment, adding several bits I'd forgotten. Did this for the best part of the morning and then after lunch went into town and picked up my Out Of This World stuff, then at 2 had a meeting with Tim Waudby who's co-ordinating the Children's Festival, and was having a meeting with the providers of the children's activities. Only one provider turned up though, but it was a good meeting anyway, we got some stuff sorted out. However he had been sent an email from Liz, who's in charg of all the Festivals in York, and she had slated my risk assessment, saying it wasn't nearly ready to give in. Oh dear!

Got home at the same time as Gill and the boys got back from school, and I had to get going on the risk assessment to make it more like something acceptable.

I've also got a paid blog to do, so started thinking about this, all I could think of was that I'm under pressure, so late on I logged onto the Community Care site and did my blog. I read it out to Gill, who said it was good, and as I pressed the button for 'save' the screen went blank and 'internet explorer cannot display this page' came up. After a bit of looking into the site a few mins later, I discovered I'd lost it. Felt really down. I had also had a lack of success trying to send a large 'attachment' containing a picture of the Rowntree Park to Baz, who's helping with stewarding, but the email was taking 20 to 30 minutes to send, and the line kept on closing for a second, and the email failed and I had to restart sending. Tried this half a dozen times before giving up. Tiscali dialup connection not brilliant. My mood not brilliant, despondent.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Sunday 1st July 07

No lie-in, cannot seem to sleep much later than 8am so came down and joined the family who weren't warring, as a weekend! However, the boys wanted to do some stuff on the 'Uncle Tom' computer in the loft, so they had 40 mins... and so did we!

Then I had to get ready for my gig which is near Selby, and I had decided to cycle there, so I had an early lunch and got going before 12.30, and went via Elvington, Wheldrake, Thorganby, Skipwith and then Cliffe Common. Between Wheldrake and Thorganby I stopped for five minutes at the Lower Derwent Nature Reserve car park and had a conversation with a gent who'd driven there to try to go for a walk, but found it too flooded. I had a heated discussion with him as he declared that carbon emissions weren't changing the climate and that he was going to keep on driving and eating meat, as he didn't believe the hype! I decided not to get too involved and spoil my cycle ride, and wished him a safe drive and cycled off. In Thorganby it rained hard but I just kept going, and minutes later, the breeze and sun was drying me off again.

Got to Cliffe caravan site at 2.15, and had some nice chats with Christine my employer and her shy 8 yr old daughter and more bolshy 11 yr old son.

The party started at 3, about 60 children came, and 20 grownups, and the show got started with 3 warm-up acts at 3.15. An excellent show, went really well, and finished after one hour, but the sausages hadn't arrived, so I did a bit extra with more unicycle workshops and everybody who wanted to try the unicycle was able to, maybe 30 children.

The food went down well, and I inflated about 80 balloons, just with my lungs, as this is now easy and faster than the pump. At the start of the balloon show, about 7 children tried to inflate a balloon, but couldn't, it was quite funny as they all puffed hard and went really red in the face!

The balloon show went well, but a lot of children didn't want to make their own, so I had at least 20 models to make in 15 mins or so, nimble fingers Fiddlesticks! Finished the competitions on the dot of 6, and then finished off the balloonless stragglers for 5 or 10 mins... a very busy few hours. My work was appreciated as both the children said it had been good and both parents did too, and were generous with the pay packet, which is always good!

A lovely cycle home, wind more behind me and got home at 8pm, after a short skip-stop (sounds like an eco grand prix!) to stock up on wood (fuel!).

Gill had a stew ready for me, which was lovely, and I watched a bit of telly, and after this popped out to pick up more skip contents... then did blog and had a long chat with K in America, really good communication at the moment!