Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Tuesday 3rd April 07

An active day, a fair amount of housework during the morning, and a SUMA delivery. Gill and I have for several years been running a food co-op for ourselves and some friends, and we get a few regularly-used items like peanut butter, loo paper, muesli base, pasta. As we buy it in bulk it means we can afford to buy organic, supporting agricultural practices which do less damage to the environment and are better for wildlife, and fair trade, which gives a better deal for the producers.

After lunch went to St Nicks as agreed with John the Centre manager, to chop some logs. I'd suggested I could do this for St Nicks, as I sometimes take logs off the pile which is regularly added to by tree-surgeons offloading their unwanted tree wastes, and it is only fair if I give something back. A poplar had come down and been sawn up into rounds, and needed splitting.

The centre has many visitors, today it had a group of youths, teenagers, who had come into contact with the authorities through anti-social behaviour or misdeeds, and were under the care of 'Crossroads'. I know nothing about this, they seemed like fairly ordinary young adults to me, and I was assigned several volunteers to teach how to split logs and stack them. These tasks may seem simple but there is a knack to both. For instance, rounds with a side branch split best when done in line with the side branch, so it splits too, rather than at right-angles to it which can be more difficult as the knot may extend into the log. Rounds with side branches also split best from the lower cut surface, ie with the log upside-down as the branch leaves the round at an angle and having the split start where the branch begins to leave the trunk seems best to me.

Also stacking a logpile is quite an art if it isn't to fall down. The activity attracted a queue of participants, male and female, all wanting a go at smashing the rounds in two. Even the leaders had a go. We also had to use the centre's 'log grenade' too, a wedge in a sort of pyramid shape which is incredibly effective at blowing apart difficult to split rounds.

We all had a lot of fun, I gave lots of positive feedback and encouragement, and just occasional direction, mainly putting the rounds in the right orientation for easiest splitting, and getting out of the way quick. I was pleased to meet a friendly leader, Chris from Crossroads, who seemed fascinated by my lifestyle and told me he'd invite me out for a drink, I hope he does. He said that the youth service should be paying me for the help I'd given, and I gave him my Professor Fiddlesticks card as I may get some paid work with the group.

I'd cycled to St Nicks with my boys, my mate Simon and his son. Simon spent time with the three boys, playing, exploring, keeping the peace. I am very grateful to Simon for being a lovely responsible grown-up with my boys, I couldn't have done the logsplitting work without his help.

Got home and quickly made a nutloaf with bread, peanut butter, onions, rice, grated carrot and seeds, bound with egg and microwaved and then put in the oven along with a chocolate cake Gill was baking. Had this with a cheese sauce and new potatoes.

Put the boys to bed early as we've a busy day tomorrow with an early start.

Enjoyed learning about the connection between Tourettes and creativity. I have an interest in such disorders as I have many of the traits of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and I am a very active, enthusiastic and creative person. I haven't had a diagnosis but I would love to know if I do have ADHD. Lots of the people who know me think I do, and I feel more comfortable with that label than what I have previously been called, such as 'eccentric'. ADHD is thought to be connected with lowered levels of dopamine in the frontal lobes of the brain, and Tourettes is also connected with dopamine, but increased levels in temporal and frontal lobes. Interesting stuff.

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