Thursday, 20 September 2007

Thursday 20th September 07

Quite a good day, Gill took the boys to school and I got up at a reasonable time and did a load of stuff on the computer, with a lot of chat with my friend in America who's been working all night, and was still working at 4am.

I then went to the allotment to dig up the rest of the onions and deliver some wool carpet which has been donated to me for use as a weed suppressant. I dug onions, removed weeds, chopped back brambles intent on a takeover and built another good layer on the compost heap. This included a layer of halved oranges and coffee grounds from Millers Yard, which I visited yesterday. Cam home with about 30 onions.

Late lunch, then a quick cycle down to St Nicks where I had a good chat with Jo and a bit of a telling off from John, one of the other York Rotters managers. Apparently I have overstepped the remit of York Rotters by talking on telly about stuff which is not strictly home composting WHILST wearing one of my York Rotters tee-shirts! I might have brought the group into disrepute by mentioning the composting of human bodies with the tee shirt on. Apparently some of the councillors might not like it, and we need to ask for more funding, so I've got to be careful and appropriate, and appropriate can be difficult for me.

At 3, went to school and picked up the boys. I stayed in the house as they were meant to be doing homework, so I made a nutloaf for us all, and we tried to get them to do some work, quite a battle. Lots of shouting, it really winds me up, I have to work hard not to shout back and I feel like giving them a punishment for such atrocious behaviour. But I kept my calm, just.

I certainly do not want to spend any time with them tonight. I feel awful even thinking this.

However we all ate together very soon after this posting and the meal was enjoyed, foodwise, and we had an interesting discussion about etiquette, how to hold the knife and fork (if got both) and the fork (if on it's own) and we all agreed that they are not based on logic, but probably history and that they have something to do with different cultures and people in groups all behaving in the same way, creating a sort of solidarity, connectivity between individuals. Quite a deep conversation to have over nutloaf, sweetcorn and peas with boiled potato!

After tea it was time to do homework, which wasn't done beforehand. One had a small number of spellings to copy, the other had quite a lot of maths. Neither of them wanted to do the work and the noise and aggro was too much for me. I tried to intervene and it just exacerbated the situation, with both of them yelling at me. I consider such behaviour punishable and gave them several warnings. Gill got upset, but I didn't want to just leave it, they had their homework to do, I feel it is my responsibility to ensure they do it. Gill disagreed, as if they don't do it, it is the boys themselves. She sent the boys up to their rooms to do their work at their own desks, and we agreed that this is what we'll do in the future, not have them do homework downstairs.

I went outside and continued stacking some split logs and then got ready to go out to the CRAG meeting. Got to Priory St, where the meeting was due to take place, and found the room locked. My friend Mary turned up, and I told her that the door was locked, and she explained that room bookers had to get the key before 4pm. I had no idea about this, and of course, could do nothing about it now. The problem might have been me not reading the small-print, or perhaps CVS not giving me the info, I don't know. We made a decision to go to a pub... decided to use the Brigantes Bar, on Micklegate, as they have an upstairs room we've used before.

A notice was put on the door to let latecomers know, and we all trouped along to the Brigantes. The meeting was well attended, 21 people including our 2 speakers, Anna and Jonathan, both transport experts. We put the chairs in a circle and when all settled Alex did a little introduction and then Anna spoke about cutting car use, her speciality. She gave us some very interesting facts, including the link between car use and ill health, the pollution that car users are exposed to within the car, which is three times that people cycling on the side of the road are exposed to, and the costs of car use. The average UK family spends 18% of their income on their car use, more than on housing or on food! She also spoke on the injuries and deaths caused... there are 26,000 people hospitalised or killed by cars in the UK every year. She compared the UK experience with that in the Netherlands and Switzerland, where, for instance, when there is a collision between a cyclist and a motor vehicle, the motorist has to prove they were driving carefully, whereas here the cyclist has to prove that they weren't cycling dangerously. Also, when a motorist kills someone, they very rarely get prosecuted for it, despite it often being their fault. This developed into a discussion, which had to be forestalled as we had a second speaker, Jonathan. He is an expert in public transport, and informed us about several rail issues, some stuff about freight which we didn't know, and comparisons between planes, trains, buses and cars. Then there was more discussion, comments, questions, all in all a very interesting meeting.

I popped in to Out Of This World to pick up any recycling and came home, lit the stove and did some emailing, blogging and googletalking. I was delighted to recieve a comment from this blog, following my woes about having to censor my blog to be more ethical towards my children. The comment was from Peter, who writes a brilliant blog called Earthquake Cove, which has been voted as one of the top 100 green blogs. ( I had a trundle through this blog, and feel I could learn a lot about how to make a blog more interesting and user friendly. I'll ask Peter for some tips!

1 comment:

Joe said...

Hey John, wow you are busy!

I've been thinking for a few days about canal freight - which is clearly the most environmentally friendly of all inland freight options. The question is how to make it happen...