Thursday, 24 June 2010

Thursday 24th June 10

Up early enough to see the boys off, despite being out and about at 2am, on a mission to rescue logs from a bonfire pile on a building site. I've now taken all that I can take from there, and fully expect to see the rest of the stuff go up in smoke quite soon. The logs that I rescued I split and stacked, I think there's between 300 and 400 kg that I got from this place over the past few nights. That's a good week's winter heating, at least.

I decided to check with Catherine the York Rotters project manager about the current thinking about composting in blocks of flats, since a friend who lives in a block wants to compost and some of the neighbours do too. I confirmed what I thought, that there are a series of Environment Agency forms to fill in if they decide to have a communal compost heap or wormery, but if they do it unofficially then they'll just have to keep quiet about it and get on and do it without the authorities getting involved. Catherine reminded me that I'm currently not allowed to address public meetings as a York Rotter, because of my Aspergers and the twitchyness of the Council, York Rotters' funder, being worried that I might mention compost toilets or other 'horrific and wayward' composting subjects. So I told Catherine (and later, John from St Nicks too) that it wasn't a public meeting. However, they were still unhappy about my going as a volunteer Rotter, wearing my York Rotters tee shirt. Whilst stacking logs I had a wild thought that if they want me to go as John the Composter, which is my business, that as the 'client' isn't paying (they are expecting a volunteer Rotter) then I should invoice York Rotters... but of course I won't do that. But I am angry that I'm still being prevented from doing what I love. I do hope we resolve this soon.

Gill went to her birthday lunch with Melody, Natalie and Alison. I worked outside and came in over lunch, watched some Wimbledon tennis stuff. I heard someone with a chainsaw nearby so I went to say hello, and was promised some apple and pear logs to pick up later.

I did a bit of log stacking in the afternoon, but to do this I needed to clear up a lot of aluminium cans which I've collected over the past months. So I had a stamp-fest and filled a sack with them, and then I stacked the very dry logs from the building site. Gill came back at about 3 and I went to school to pick up our youngest... he walked some of the way home and had a lift on the pannier rack for the rest.

Our eldest went down the garden at about 6pm and came back in excited, as he'd had a close encounter with a 'bird of prey', and he gave us a quite detailed description, it was grey and had a stripe on the underside of the tail. This only matched a Honey Buzzard, in the assorted books we have... but I wonder how likely that is?

I enjoyed tea... some burgers made of rice from yesterday, along with pan-fried new potatoes and some asparagus, Gill's favourite birthday vegetable.

But then at 6.45 I set out to go and visit a friend called Owen, who lives in a flat in a block of six. He wants to do some composting, and had asked for a York Rotters visit, to which I'd agreed. I went to his flat and two other residents came to join the discussion. Earlier, I was asked/told to not go as a York Rotter but to go as John the Composter. But this turned out quite lucky really as if I'd been with my 'official' tee shirt on, I'd have had to give them advice about Community Composting and the dreadful Animal By-Products Regulations, but as I was 'just John' I was able to give them two options.

So, there are no regulations at all about what a householder can home compost in their own garden or property. BUT, if you have more than one household contributing to a compost heap, or in a communal garden, then officially, this is known as Community Composting and the ABPR comes into play. This means that any food waste which has come into contact with processed food, or dairy, or meat/fish must not be composted on an open heap or in a dalek... it has to go into an 'in vessel' system where the temperatures are controlled and measured, and any Community Compost set-up needs a licence from the Environment Agency.

So my talk explained what composting was, and how to get the best results, and why it was good... and then the choice: for one of the residents to set up a compost bin or two, and for it to be used by that person and others, if they wished, without the owners explicit knowledge (!) and not have any of the red tape, or to contact the authorities and get the permissions and get assistance from York Rotters (although probably not me). I explained about Bokashi and wormeries and tumblers. We looked at the potential positions for the bin/s and then I left them to decide what their approach would be. My guess is that a simple dalek system will be used and it will be unofficial, without the ridiculous rules and regulations. 40 minutes later I was cycling home, and I picked up the apple and pear logs which were promised earlier.

Later on, Gill and I had a game of Scrabble on a board, but it was an awful, low scoring game which I won.

No comments: