Wow, what a fab day!!! A very early start, a long day, very stimulating.
So, after 4 hours sleep, got up at 5.30 and before I cycled down to the station, I remembered that I wanted to take some extremely well rotted humanure compost with me, as I thought the children would be interested in that. I'm really glad I did!
So, with a small rucksack and two canvass bags, I set off to get the 06.37 to Newcastle, with the tickets which had been sent to me by the Sunderland Sustainability Team. The trip up was uneventful... I kept on failing to read my NewScientist as I was too tired, and the highlight was pre-dawn Durham, and then the Metro trip to Park Lane, which I got to soon after 8am. David, one of the Sustainability Team people picked me up and drove to an industrial estate where there was an office complex with a large meeting room suitable for the groups of schoolchildren visiting the assorted stalls.
I was pleased to meet Suzanne from Peta, who was doing fruit and veg kebabs and presenting information about Meat Free Mondays. There was also a nice gent called Craig from Groundwork who was making things out of waste... hanging baskets out of plastic milk bottles and paper pots from newspaper. Then there was an excellent project fronted by Richard Smith, called Dig It, They were doing seedling based stuff, parsely seeds I think. Another lovely chap was Paul from Food for Life, he did a little presentation at the end too. There were also people doing a taste test between quorn and beef mince and tasting unusual fruit.
My stall had several items of 'going off' fruit and veg including a mouldy cauliflower and a carrot with black patches, a small collection of other suitable compost items such as a loo roll, a balloon, a bit of wood, some EcoLeaf toilet roll packaging, which is compostable plastic made out of potato starch, and another small collection of non-compostables. Then there was a box of compost beasties... worms, slugs, woodlice, a few centipedes. Always popular, these! I'd prepared two compost bottles (which I think is my invention as I've never seen them elsewhere) (OK, I just found these, but my design is simpler and better!!!) (OK, I've just found loads of similar designs on the net. How could I have thought that I invented these?) I suggested to the groups that they might like to try making compost bottles. I had 3 bags of compost: one with material just a year old, then one with riddled and very mature, and finally, the bag of humanure/sawdust compost. This was just SO popular, with loads of questions and interest. At the question and answer session at the end, most of the questions were on this.
I enjoyed chatting over lunch and loved doing the composting stuff with the small groups of 9 to 11 year olds.
However, I was glad to be packing up at about 4pm, and to get driven to Sunderland train station for the 5.30 Grand Central train back to York. This got in at 7pm and I cycled home quickly, tired but elated.
Later Gill and I watched BBC2's 'Life Without Work' which focussed on York's Seebohm Rowntree's report on poverty about 100 years ago. An excellent programme, and available on iPlayer for a short while.