My 1000th blog post on Low Carbon Lifestyle. I wonder how much lower carbon my lifestyle would be if I hadn't have done all this blogging?
But hey, no-one's perfect... especially me, as today's events have reminded me.
Today I was due to attend a York Rotters management meeting, but yesterday one of the other managers rang me to tell me that there had been some complaints about me following the Big Green Market last week when I spent over four hours engaging with the public about home composting. So today, instead of the management meeting, I went in to St Nicks to listen to the accusations, and to try to work out how to deal with the issues.
So, what did I do? Well, it was acknowledged that I am an excellent communicator of composting information and there is no-one more enthusiastic and keen. But, on one occasion I was listening to another (novice) Rotter give some (incomplete or incorrect) information and when they had finished, I spoke to the member of the public and said "actually, you CAN compost that", and told them how. The other Rotter felt they had been contradicted and they didn't like it, and complained. So, first complaint, unjustified I think.
The second was more serious... I was talking to another volunteer and we were talking about ethical burials... I'm not sure who initiated the conversation, but that doesn't really matter. The problem, for the complainant, was that I talked about my plans (Gill and I have a burial plot booked in York Cemetery)and was explaining about Promession, which would be my preferred disposal route, and I told the joke which Gill made when we got the plot, that if I died before her, she'd request to be buried face down. Most people find this amusing, but some over sensitive volunteer complained. They thought it was inappropriate as another volunteer Rotter had died the previous week. I am quite matter of fact about death.. I see it as a consequence of life, but I do know that some people are not as comfortable with the thought of this inevitability. So, this complaint was perhaps half justified.
The next one is inexcusable. How I get members of the public engaged is to wait until someone looks at the cut-away compost bin and I then say "Would you like to tell me about your compost bin?" Many people stop and tell me. A few say "No thanks" and on one occasion someone said "I don't bother to compost" and on this occasion I said "So you don't like recycling then" and this I agree was unprofessional of me. Black mark against my name.
The final thing is the thing I'm most sorry about. One volunteer said they wouldn't want to be on the stall with me again, and another said that they felt like not being part of York Rotters after their experience. I am mortified about this as I started York Rotters in 2004 and love the fact we have been so successful, have lots of active volunteers and are a vital part of St Nicks.
So we sat and talked about my behaviour, the fact that I have been diagnosed as on the autistic spectrum, but don't tick quite enough boxes to be given the Aspergers Syndrome label, despite Gill, my mother, my friend Ann and probably others thinking I have all the classic symptoms. And if I do have AS, then it could be classed as a disability, and this puts an interesting spin on the whole situation. However, I am willing to try to improve and learn to be more empathic, more appropriate, and I will again look to try to secure some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy through the NHS, which might help me.
So, the result of this meeting was that I have been suspended from York Rotters for a month to see if we can resolve the situation. I cannot think of any 'quick fix' here. But in the meantime, I won't be wearing the York Rotters teeshirt, won't do any Rotters volunteering, and won't attend any social events. This is sad but if it helps, and enables York Rotters to continue more smoothly, I can accept the situation.
This was a really difficult meeting for my friend and colleague at St Nicks and I don't want to put that person through this again. Nor do I want to upset the other volunteers (whether or not I think they are oversensitive) or members of the public.
Anyway, I cycled home, had an early lunch and cycled off to see Robin who had asked me to help him install his new solar tubes on his roof. We spent an hour getting ready, with the help of his neighbour, and then when I was in his loft poking a sensor wire through the tiles, he realised he had made an assumption about the new set of tube-holders he had bought. His existing set was configured one way round, with water in at one side and hot water out the other, but unfortunately the new set was made the other way around. This means that he will have to replumb his pipework in his loft. What a nuisance. Poor Robin!
I then went into town to pay in a cheque and to get out another to pay for some advertising.
Then back home, via Country Fresh and Freshways.
I had a quiet and fairly subdued evening. I prepared some pears for drying.