Friday, 1 June 2007

Friday 1st June 07

An extrordinary day, such a lot happened.

Firstly, the first copy of CommunityCare magazine popped through our letterbox, it has my second column in it which is about household appliances and energy saving, and also an excerpt from my weekly blog... this made me very happy as it is the first time I have seen it in print. Wow! I now feel like a published author... slight delusions of grandeur but I do have a right to feel pleased with myself, not everybody has a column and a blog in a national magazine!

see for my blog, as for the column I'm not sure if it's available on the net, it might only be in the printed mag. I'll find out.

Soon after that arrived I got a phone call from Lucy from the BBC, Inside Out, who are filming at tomorrow's St Nicholas Fields' Junk Swap, sorry, Big Recycle Day! I am performing as Professor Fiddlesticks AND John the Composter, and will be miked up all day. I then popped round to St Nicks to give them my confirmation letter about tomorrow and pick up a NewScientist I left for them to photocopy an article. I took a load of cardboard tubes which i had taken out of a skip a few days ago, as I know somone will use them for an art project or something.

After lunch I did a bit in the garden and then at 1.30 set off for the centre of town with the boys as we all had an eyesight test booked. I have one every year as I have family members with glaucoma and it's heritable, and the boys both had their first sight test. We left our bikes in the Out Of This World carpark and walked round to the opticians. The tests were fun and interesting, and all our sight is OK.

Then picked up a couple of bits from OOTW to take back for recycling, and I was given my monthly honourarium, a small payment to thank me for volunteering to do their recycling for them. As well as compostables, I also take a few glass bottles and steel and aluminium cans home. All but the aluminium cans go in the household recycling kerbside box, but I keep the aluminium as it's valuable and every now and then visit a scrap metal dealer and get a few quid for every sack. When on a low income, every pound counts!

Bought some vegan ice cream for Gill and carefully cycled home. I am so proud of my little boys, cycling on the road and developing good road manners and sense.

Then, within an hour or so of getting back, I set off for the Minster to meet up with folks participating in this month's Critical Mass cycle ride, and whilst I waited I chatted to a woman visiting York from Glasgow, and helped somone who had lost their watch by suggesting going to the De Grey Rooms Tourist Information Centre, as they'd be the nearest help place to perhaps leave a message for the police, incase it was handed in. Then the Critical Mass set off, only about 20 of us but with music playing and bike bells tringing we slowed the traffic down momentarily (ie no more than 5 mins at any time) and pulled over to let buses through. Critical Mass is relatively small in York but very effective in London and bigger cities. Lots of people gave us thumbs up and positive comments, and as always some folks vent their anger and call us names. We always keep smiling and upbeat, it's based on having fun. We ended up going up Huntington Rd, down Haxby Rd and Gillygate, Bootham and Clifton Bridge, through Leeman Road and then down to the Millenium Bridge and up New Walk, a good hour's cycle ride.

I peeled off and came home up the Heslington Road, and as I came onto the Hull Road and got ready to turn right into my house, witnessed a car crash... probably known in the trade as a 'shunt'. What happened was a car driver who had apparently been driving very very cautiously saw me coming down in the opposite direction with my hand out to turn, and perhaps assumed that I was going to suicidally turn in front of them, so they braked sharply. The car behind them braked to avoid a collision with the cautious driver, and the driver behind her, who was far too close, couldn't stop or just didn't, and rammed hard into the bigger tougher car. The driver at fault completely smashed the front of her car... she was young and inexperienced, but the more careful driver just had the bumper taken off. The driver that stopped unneccessarily just drove on and dissappeared, and they were ultimately responsible for poor driving in the first place.

I stopped and said to the driver who had been driven into that I would be a witness, and I then helped the very shocked driver-at-fault by giving her some support and offering her access to the phone in the house. My neighbour's son Graham and I pushed the smashed car onto the pavement and I swept up plastic and glass shards. The front driver was able to drive away but the younger one was offered a lift by Graham back to her house in Fishergate. Much as though I don't like cars (and accidents like this are just one reason!) I would not wish this experience on anyone and felt very sorry for both shocked women. Not a nice thing to happen at all, but no injuries to speak of.

So came in, now 8pm, and made a quick burger from an out of date tofu thingy and some granary bread. My youngest child needed some goats milk as we'd run out (he has this as he's less phlegmy at night using goats' milk) so I went to the shop. The young lady in the queue in front of me tried to pay with a card but it wouldn't work, so I offered to pay for her groceries and said she could pay me back. She and the staff were astonished, but she gratefully accepted so she was able to go home with her £15.40 worth of groceries, plus my business card which has my name and address on. She came round within half an hour saying that she could not draw any money out and couldn't pay me now, very apologetic. I told her not to wory and to pay me back when she could, and we chatted for a few minutes about composting... potentially another convert!

So an amazing day, and late on in the evening a good and friendly chat with my friend in America, and then watched telly with Gill.

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