Another 'good side of the bed' morning... with luck this is a new approach to getting up and ready for school! I cycled our youngest into school and cycled straight in to town in order to meet Stuart who's part of Visit York, to discuss my role in the York Residents' Festival, which for many years has been the York Residents First Weekend, where locals brandishing a 'YorkCard' could get in a whole load of visitor attractions free, and some places not usually open to the public, like the Minster Stoneyard. So this forthcoming weekend there is a new-look event, with a wide range of attractions open, plus activities and entertainments in Parliament St and St Sampson's Square. They've got a huge Tepee type structure for a sort of stage area, and I'm contracted to do 5 one-hour shows over the two days.
So I chatted to Stuart for 20 minutes and then headed to the station to meet a student called Sally who's doing a dissertation on supermarket waste food, and some solutions to the problem. She'd contacted the UK Freegan website and asked if anyone in the North East would be willing to talk about what they do to reduce this kind of waste, and I said I was happy to show her. She was due to arrive at about 10am but by 10.15 she hadn't turned up so I cycled home. An hour later I got a phone call from Ivana at St Nicks saying that Sally had found her way to St Nicks after missing her first train, and could I meet her down there.
I cycled down and showed her around the centre, then we walked back home via the supermarket who sell me their unsold veg and fruit for a penny per sack, so I can use whatever I can, and compost the rest. We had lunch and I gave her a little tour of the estate (!) and answered her questions as well as signing a release form to allow her to use the info I've given her. My request was that I would like to read her dissertation once it's done.
She walked back into town and I cycled down to school to collect our little one.
A peaceful evening until homework was mentioned. Homework is the absolute bane of all our lives as when it is due to be done, there is inevitable trouble. So, we all had a nice tea... Gill made a stew with my help... I prepared some of the veg, including Jerusalem artichokes which need careful peeling as they are rather knobbly, at least the ones I grow are! Gill made a cheese scone mix to put on top of the stew... the veg cooked on the stove, then the 'cobbler' placed on top, and bunged in the oven for half an hour to cook the scone dough on top. Totally yummy, as is over 90% of Gill's cooking. Whilst she was making this, I made tomato soup for the weekend, and Melody came, her son and ours spent time on the computer, having fun with 'Club Penguin'. Melody and offspring went, having done a SUMA order and had fun on the computer, respectively. We then had tea... very nice, all together. Then time for homework and it all kicked off.
The situation became so serious that I was unable to go out to the meeting I was supposed to, as I had to stay in and deal with the difficulties that were occurring. Extremely depressing stuff as when it happens, I feel like a rubbish Dad, even though I know I'm doing OK compared to many less-involved and less caring fathers.
Of course, non-parents cannot understand, and some parents with easy children won't either... and it feels slightly better when we get sympathetic comments from those in the know as we know we're not alone. One of the problems is that both children get teased about me and my compost toilet... this is obviously the weirdest thing I do in some people's eyes, and children can be so cruel and unthinking, especially to other children. I love my boys so much it really hurts to go through what we are going through, and I feel little pangs of guilt and responsibility... some from the fact that I was a difficult child and some of my traits are obviously heritable, and also because the lifestyle I lead means I stick out from the crowd and it's easy for my sons to get teased and bullied about what I do. And neither of them actually use the compost toilet... it's absolutely nothing at all to do with them!
So, I missed the YiT meeting and spent at least an hour keeping the peace. Things did eventually cool down... no-one can keep up that level of activity for long... it's obviously exhausting.
Had a very nice sympathetic phone call from a good friend who is going through something similar. Much needed support. By 11.20pm the homework was done... an amazing piece of work, really excellent!
What an evening, what a day, what a life!