At about 10, Ian came round, as planned. He's a trainee teacher and a member of People and Planet at one of the Universities in York, and he's asked me to come to the primary school he's working in and do a days work on composting. He told me he wanted to learn a bit about the subject before I came in so I invited him here before going to St Nicks.
So I started by explaining 'from the basics' what composting was, assuming no knowledge, and was surprised to find that he did have extremely limited knowledge of lots of the basic facts about climate change and some of the processes connected with composting. For instance, when I asked him what he understood about climate change (I wanted to talk about the role of CO2 and CH4 in the greenhouse effect), he asked was it to do with ozone, which is almost completely unconnected with climate change. I was somewhat shocked by this... surely student teachers should know the basics of atmospheric science? Surely someone in People and Planet should know the basics? He does care about green issues, but I don't understand how someone can care but know so little. So, he got a pretty good overview of loads of the basics, such as the Carbon cycle, oil/coal/gas, plants and living organisms, how the greenhouse effect works, and of course decomposition and the role of composting in enabling individuals be more eco-friendly.
Next we had a little look down the garden at the assorted composting set-ups, wormeries, tumblers and the like.. and soon cycled off to St Nicks to see the resources there. He was pleased to get a good pile of leaflets which I hope will reinforce some of the stuff we'd covered earlier. We discussed what I would do in each of the 45 minute slots (I'm doing 5 classes) and what he would do with them beforehand.
We came back home for lunch.
After lunch I got myself ready to go to Coppergate for the launch of the Viking Festival... I put extra wick on my fire devil sticks and had a test burn to make sure that I still had the knack of working with fire, as it's been a few years since I've done it. Then at 3.30 I gathered up the fire stuff, wooden yoyo balls, wooden devilsticks and a couple of black flowersticks (which look more rustic than some of the day-glo stuff I have) and my insurance documents, risk assessment etc, and cycled down to the Jorvik Centre to get costumed up and ready to take part in the launch event.
Fairly soon after I got outside, Gill and the boys turned up... they initially didn't recognise me in my non-gaudy clothes.
The launch went very smoothly... I did some workshops in the marquee whilst the VIPs were eating, and some more workshops outside the marquee in the arena area. Then I got the nod to bring that to a close, and the half-dozen Vikings did a kind of warrior routine... not exactly a fight scene, but a demonstration of the different weapons and shield work. They finished and the wax torches were lit and held aloft, I lit my devilsticks and did a 2 and a half minute show... quite a few drops (showed how difficult it was! ahem!) but apparently was still impressive. My son took a film of it on Gill's camera, so once we were home I was able to see the whole performance, which was good.
I cycled home, beating the rest of the family who had gone into town on the bus... and found a colleague from the Hull Road Ward Planning Panel waiting for me... I'd forgotten to deliver the paperwork to one of the other volunteers (which I had said I would do) and the meeting hadn't taken place... oh dear! Duh me.
I had a slice of nutloaf for tea and some bought pizza.. 'Yorkshire Pizza' from Thomas's, and some fruit.
Gill and I had a game of Scrabble late on (still playing at 1am) and it looks like she's going to win... again!