Thursday, 19 June 2008

Thursday 19th June 08

A busy day... Gill feeling grotty so I took the children to school and came back to do washing up and prepare some food for teatime.

Something on my mind, though. An anonymous comment to this blog arrived yesterday.. the commentator asked me not to reply (publish) so I didn't, but today I have decided to copy and paste the comment into today's post because I think it does deserve a response:

"John, it's none of my business, but reading your blog upsets me. It's all you, you and more you. You're doing gigs, going out to meetings, chatting on skype, composting, etc... You're never doing things with your kids. You're obviously a great bloke and you're doing great things, but your children won't want to be around you when they're teenagers. Why not spend time with them now and ease back on all the other stuff? Don't reply to this - just put in your blog that you played scrabble with your son and not Scrabulous on Facebook."

Well the blog is about my life, not those of my wife or children, and I make sure that I attempt to repsect their privacy as much as I can by not naming the children or going on about them too much. Although I do mention some of the difficult times we are having as parents, I do not go into detail nor do I discuss all of what's going on. I do do things with my children, however, a few days ago I did ask my eldest son if he'd like a game of Scrabble and his answer was 'Why would I?' He doesn't like word games, he doesn't like anything that we suggest at the moment... he's nearly a teenager in many ways, with hormonal changes, self-image issues and a heck of a temper. But he knows that he's loved, as we tell him this often, and demonstrate it regularly, such as not flying off the handle when in a fit of anger he threw this laptop, causing it to have a fault which persists, making it less easy to use. He also tells us that he loves us. I find it very difficult to 'cut back on the other stuff' and why would I want to? I do do things with my children, when they are willing to do so. I try not to force them to do stuff with me which they say they don't want to do... that would surely be counterproductive? I play Scrabble and spend time with my wife, but when she falls asleep in the evening I go on the computer and do allsorts. I don't play Scrabbulous when the kids are around. They are in bed by 9pm-ish and I rarely sleep before 2am. Gill often sleeps in the evening and always gets up early. I would like to be a better parent, hence both going on a parenting course earlier this year. But school says we are good parents and that reassures me that we aren't 'bad' parents. I welcome comments, they make me think and do help me develop as a person. I will try to spend more time with the children, so thank you for reminding me that parenting is hard work and the time to do it is now... they don't remain children for long.

The other thing is that if reading something upsets you... don't read it. No-one makes you read something... it is your choice! I deliberately do not watch scary stuff like horror films or Dr Who because I don't like it, it upsets me. So I either don't switch on, or, in the case of Dr Who, which my family enjoy, I do something different.

At midday I had a visitor from Yellow Tom dot Com who do online advertising... I've had an ad with them for a couple of years and decided to renew, even though my advertising costs use up nearly half of my net profits from Professor Fiddlesticks.. next year I might drop one of the directories as some of them bring in relatively little work.

A late lunch and then got stuff ready for Green Thumbs, including three clear plastic bottles for doing 'compost bottles' to see the process at work. I melted some holes in them for air to get in and juices to get out... and hope they'll work. I have never done them before!

The Green Thumbs Gang session worked well, I demonstrated a compost bottle and then the kids split into two groups and did one each, layering woody/twiggy bits with cardboard and chopped-up apple cores and other fruit waste from the 'Fruit for Schools' scheme which gives youngsters free fruit. I have a plastic bin at school and service this every day, filling one of 3 compost bins... recently the school has started putting used paper towels in as well, and the kitchen staff put carrot peelings etc in my plastic bin as well. This generates 6 to 8 kg a day. The three 'dalek' bins are not really enough, and getting enough dry/brown/carbon rich material is also difficult. So one reason I'm helping with the Green Thumbs is that I hope we'll get a compost tumbler which will allow the fruit-rich mix to drain and mix with air more easily... perhaps next year now!

The second half of the session was planting up more seedlings in the big planters I filled yesterday, and weeding and watering planters already burgeoning with spinach, lettuce and potatoes. One of the other groups withing GTG, the 'sales' people, came to pick some of the lettuce and spinach for our first sale tomorrow afternoon.

Got home at about 5, Gill asked me to go to the veg shop for assorted stuff. We all ate together as a family (something we do do sometimes, but don't feel the need to tell the world every time it happens!) and then at 7.15, went to Derwent College at the University to attend a talk on the future of transport policy in York. A very good presentation from John Barrett from the Stockholm Environment Institute, on Carbon Footprinting and the way in which different transport policies will affect this. Then Simon Bowen from Friends of the Earth talked about solutions to the problem. It finished with a Q+A/discussion and ended at 9... I decided to come home to spend time with Gill rather than go for a drink.

Had a good Skype chat with K at midnight for an hour, once Gill was asleep. I got to bed relatively early, at 1.30am.


Anonymous said...

I do agree with the anonymous comment on your Blog,that your Blog is all about you. I have often thought the same things, especially when you do make comments about your children and often in the next sentence say ' and then i went outside all evening to make compost' or ' then i went out to a meeting' (i am paraphrasing).

it just comes over as though you dont give the kids enough attention, and as you have told us your kids are challenging sometimes, it does make one wonder what it is you actually do as a family, together, and how much time you do spend with your lads.

you recent blog about going to a science museum was just a few lines, we didnt hear if your children enjoyed it, if you had a happy day or not with them, it just comes over as though you are the only thing that matters in your world.

a most recent situation which made me wonder what the heck you are actually doing is when your lad damaged your laptop - you were at a complete loss as to what to do about it, and just went into your own world and avoided the problem.

look, its not nice to have people post nasty comments on your blog and ok, we dont have to read your blog if we dont like what we are reading, but as i have said before if you put the information out there in the public domain, people will comment, and you must by now have quite a following that like to read about your lifestyle and get tips on how they can reduce their carbon footprint. likewise if you are talking about your kids, people will want to comment, some people will be nasty because thats what they are like but some people will want to try to hep or maybe they want to understand a bit more why your lads get so uptight and what you are doing about it. maybe their kids are giving them a hard time as well! its not wrong of people to ask you about this.


Compost John said...

I am probably not the best dad in the world. I could indeed spend more time with my family. I am not a bad dad though... I help out with lots of things in the home and do spend time with other family members. However I am not overly authoritarian and do not force my children to do things they don't want to do.. so if I suggest going to the park, for instance, and my boys say no, I don't force them to come. I sometimes ask 'what would you like to do today?' and often hear 'dunno' or 'nothing' or 'play with my brother in the garden'.. so what do people advise me to do in this type of situation?

My family members did enjoy being at the MAGNA science centre. However, neither of my children said very much about it afterwards and have not mentioned it since. Therefore it has not featured in my blog.

Any help in being a better parent gratefully received!

y said...

knowing john as I do his children are very important to him and he spends a lot of time tending to them and their needs, even when not with them. to not know this is to not know john. that said however, john does also have his passions which he pursues with vigour. I am sure he spends a good amount of 'quality time' with his children, although john i do not know to what extent they have a say in negotiation, I'm sure you'll let us know! that said, this is a blog on low carbon living not family life and I personally think you should leave out all references to them.

Compost John said...

Thank you 'y' whoever you are.

I use this blog as a journal and therefore sometimes my family members will get a mention, although I am careful to not put stuff which identifies them or could lead to bullying at school etc, as far as I possibly can.

I do try to negotiate stuff with Gill and the boys and don't always do what I want to do, many's the time I do things which contribute to family life. I am still learning how to be a good or better parent though. Parenting is not easy!

Thank you for your positive comments. Hope you enjoy reading the blog!