Sunday, 17 February 2008

Sunday 17th February 08

A good day, very sunny and crisp. I went to the allotment pretty early to collect my onion sets which did not come with the rest of the order. Had a chat about the bonfire issue with the person in the office and I plan to write to the lottie officer, local councillors, MP etc to see if something can be changed....

Then back in time to watch Countryfile and do some research for my column which is due in this week. Then lunch, prepared some parsnips for tea, and then some outside stuff, then at 3.30ish I went down to the veg shop to pich up the usual sacks of compostables plus some good fruit for the boys pack ups tomorrow. I took the 4 sacks of compostables to the allotment and put them all on two of the four heaps.

Back towards 5pm, and then went to Woodlands to pick up 4 trailer-loads of wood they've put aside for me. Then came in for tea, which was parsnip and potato and cheese patties with broccoli and a home-made garlic pizza base.

Spent the whole evening on the computer, with the telly on, watching Monty Don in the Amazon and George Melly (who once flirted with Gill at the Arts Centre and put his hand on her thigh!) which was sad as it concentrated on his last months of life. What an amazing man, one of my heros, in a way.


Anonymous said...

Might I suggest you just drop the complaint regarding bonfires on the allotment. you wont make any friends down there if you get all uptight about this and cause a load of fuss. allotment owners do try to help each other out - you shold try and be part of their community not set yourself up as a trouble maker. you might want a helping hand from them one day and if you have gone off and complained about them they are hardly likely to do you any favours.

there are other ways of cracking this particular nut, so step away from the letter writing!

Compost John said...

Hello 'anonymous' again!

You may suggest what you want, but I am not alone with my dislike of smokey bonfires on the allotments. You may not be aware that when new lottie holders get a plot they are told that bonfires are discouraged, as there is no need for them and the pollution they produce affects other plot-holders.

In the next newsletter, plot-holders will be reminded that bonfires are discouraged. Materials which old-fashioned people used to burn on bonfires are now understood to be compostable, either on the plot or via the green-waste skip which the council provides.

The other reason I dislike bonfires is that the carbon in the materials is emitted into the air, where it is not needed, whereas if it is composted, much of it gets incorporated into the soil, which is a good thing.

I am a persom who does not sit quietly if I see an injustice or believe that something is wrong. I get things changed, hence the starting of York Credit Union as a response to the high credit charges levied to the poorest in society, and the starting of York Rotters as I met lots of people who didn't know how to compost and were amazed at how easy it was.

I am going to use some of my energy and enthusiasm, and knowledge of sustainable development, to try to change this situation for the better and to help create a cleaner environment.

Some might possibly see me as a 'trouble maker' but others might see me as a person who is willing to fight (non-violently, of course!) for change which is much needed. These people will be happy to help me if I need help.

I do not have too much of a problem with an annual celebratory bonfire, which burns hot and relatively cleanly and is enjoyed by many. I am against small smokey allotment or garden bonfires which convert compostable materials into airbourne pollutants and can prevent other gardeners from enjoying the land. Even the ash produced is of limited use, as its nutrients wash out of the soil rapidly in this rainy country.

How would you solve this problem? You suggest you know of 'other ways' and as I'm always happy to hear/read advice, I invite you to tell me what you would do in this situation. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Well, first of all I would drop the holier than thou attitude. We all see injustices in this world, but we dont all get on our high horses and charge straight into a battle when much lower key action can get the same response.

Why dont you try simply talking quietly and rationally to other allotment owners. I am sure 99% of them will agree with you anyway. If there is the odd person who has a bonfire, and its only rarely, what on earth is the point of starting up a campaign against them by writing to your MP and sundry other organisations.

Sometimes you need to stop and think about your approach. You are doing good things and have the right motives but you are not the only one in this world who has strong feelings on issues and you cant just go trampling all over other people just because you think you are correct. You will get more done if you adopt a compromising attitude.

Incidentally I also had an allotment, bonfires were discouraged. we found the people that did light them werent quite aware of the effects, once they were informed the incidents of bonfire lighting diminished to alomost nothing. In fact now and then when someone wanted to light one, they would come and ask for permission, and we usually agreed, for the sake of a tranquil community.