A busy day... Gill feeling grotty so I took the children to school and came back to do washing up and prepare some food for teatime.
Something on my mind, though. An anonymous comment to this blog arrived yesterday.. the commentator asked me not to reply (publish) so I didn't, but today I have decided to copy and paste the comment into today's post because I think it does deserve a response:
"John, it's none of my business, but reading your blog upsets me. It's all you, you and more you. You're doing gigs, going out to meetings, chatting on skype, composting, etc... You're never doing things with your kids. You're obviously a great bloke and you're doing great things, but your children won't want to be around you when they're teenagers. Why not spend time with them now and ease back on all the other stuff? Don't reply to this - just put in your blog that you played scrabble with your son and not Scrabulous on Facebook."
Well the blog is about my life, not those of my wife or children, and I make sure that I attempt to repsect their privacy as much as I can by not naming the children or going on about them too much. Although I do mention some of the difficult times we are having as parents, I do not go into detail nor do I discuss all of what's going on. I do do things with my children, however, a few days ago I did ask my eldest son if he'd like a game of Scrabble and his answer was 'Why would I?' He doesn't like word games, he doesn't like anything that we suggest at the moment... he's nearly a teenager in many ways, with hormonal changes, self-image issues and a heck of a temper. But he knows that he's loved, as we tell him this often, and demonstrate it regularly, such as not flying off the handle when in a fit of anger he threw this laptop, causing it to have a fault which persists, making it less easy to use. He also tells us that he loves us. I find it very difficult to 'cut back on the other stuff' and why would I want to? I do do things with my children, when they are willing to do so. I try not to force them to do stuff with me which they say they don't want to do... that would surely be counterproductive? I play Scrabble and spend time with my wife, but when she falls asleep in the evening I go on the computer and do allsorts. I don't play Scrabbulous when the kids are around. They are in bed by 9pm-ish and I rarely sleep before 2am. Gill often sleeps in the evening and always gets up early. I would like to be a better parent, hence both going on a parenting course earlier this year. But school says we are good parents and that reassures me that we aren't 'bad' parents. I welcome comments, they make me think and do help me develop as a person. I will try to spend more time with the children, so thank you for reminding me that parenting is hard work and the time to do it is now... they don't remain children for long.
The other thing is that if reading something upsets you... don't read it. No-one makes you read something... it is your choice! I deliberately do not watch scary stuff like horror films or Dr Who because I don't like it, it upsets me. So I either don't switch on, or, in the case of Dr Who, which my family enjoy, I do something different.
At midday I had a visitor from Yellow Tom dot Com who do online advertising... I've had an ad with them for a couple of years and decided to renew, even though my advertising costs use up nearly half of my net profits from Professor Fiddlesticks.. next year I might drop one of the directories as some of them bring in relatively little work.
A late lunch and then got stuff ready for Green Thumbs, including three clear plastic bottles for doing 'compost bottles' to see the process at work. I melted some holes in them for air to get in and juices to get out... and hope they'll work. I have never done them before!
The Green Thumbs Gang session worked well, I demonstrated a compost bottle and then the kids split into two groups and did one each, layering woody/twiggy bits with cardboard and chopped-up apple cores and other fruit waste from the 'Fruit for Schools' scheme which gives youngsters free fruit. I have a plastic bin at school and service this every day, filling one of 3 compost bins... recently the school has started putting used paper towels in as well, and the kitchen staff put carrot peelings etc in my plastic bin as well. This generates 6 to 8 kg a day. The three 'dalek' bins are not really enough, and getting enough dry/brown/carbon rich material is also difficult. So one reason I'm helping with the Green Thumbs is that I hope we'll get a compost tumbler which will allow the fruit-rich mix to drain and mix with air more easily... perhaps next year now!
The second half of the session was planting up more seedlings in the big planters I filled yesterday, and weeding and watering planters already burgeoning with spinach, lettuce and potatoes. One of the other groups withing GTG, the 'sales' people, came to pick some of the lettuce and spinach for our first sale tomorrow afternoon.
Got home at about 5, Gill asked me to go to the veg shop for assorted stuff. We all ate together as a family (something we do do sometimes, but don't feel the need to tell the world every time it happens!) and then at 7.15, went to Derwent College at the University to attend a talk on the future of transport policy in York. A very good presentation from John Barrett from the Stockholm Environment Institute, on Carbon Footprinting and the way in which different transport policies will affect this. Then Simon Bowen from Friends of the Earth talked about solutions to the problem. It finished with a Q+A/discussion and ended at 9... I decided to come home to spend time with Gill rather than go for a drink.
Had a good Skype chat with K at midnight for an hour, once Gill was asleep. I got to bed relatively early, at 1.30am.