Monday, August 27, 2007

Ta Dah!!!


Feeling VERY proud. What have I learnt from this room?

a) I can plaster

b) The best tools for grouting are your fingers and thumbs

c) A room can look good despite being devoid of cream or red (my decorating favourites!), which room next? :-)

Speak out

Pondering on yesterdays post, and rummaging further into the lesser-signed petitions on the 10 Downing Street site, I thought I would post my top 10, to see if any of you want to sign any too...

1) Hands off Herts - see post below

2) We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to make solar panels compulsory on all new build houses & to subsidise fitting of solar panels & other proven forms of energy conservation on existing housing

3) We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Introduce a tax on plastic carrier bags.

4) We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to repeal the Hunting Act 2004.

5) We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to remove VAT from energy saving products and renewable energy source for the home.

6) We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to get the Health Service and medical profession to accept the WHO classification of ME/CFS as an organic neurological disorder and not as a psychosocial syndrome.

7) We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Remove NHS prescription charges for adult sufferers of Cystic Fibrosis.

8) We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to change the system of daylight saving in order to give England lighter nights both in the summer and the winter.

9) We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Show support that the English people be allowed to celebrate their patron saints day,St George's Day each 23rd of April with a Bank Holiday.

10) We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop supermarkets overruning the country and help/promote local shops and farmers markets.

There are loads more, check them out and get a bit political!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hands off Herts - DEADLINE TUESDAY

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to prevent the destruction of rural Hertfordshire through opening up existing and precious Green Belt to unsustainable and inappropriate housing development which will overwhelm the local transport, school, health and water supply infrastructure and lead to the creation of "the London Borough of Hertfordshire".

If Secretary of State Ruth Kelly has her way, many lovely areas of Hertfordshire countryside could become housing estates by 2021. The original East of England plan proposed 79,600 dwellings for Hertfordshire; an Inspectors' Report recommended 83,200; the Secretary of State wants at least another 10,000 on top of that figure, and possibly significantly more. Although she talks of preserving the integrity of the Green Belt there is no doubt that a significant proportion of these houses would have to be built on it. In particular it will lead to the "coalescence" of St Albans with Hemel Hempstead and Hatfield, and Stevenage with Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock with the loss of 2,000 years of history.

Deadline to sign up by: 28 August 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Adventures in DIY land

For those of you not following the progress of my downstairs conveniance, look away now...
Right, how cool is this! Black floor coming on Friday so need to do another gloss coat on the skirtings one evening this week, and then I have a list of things to do over the bank hols, like tiling (which having plastered I no longer feel is beyond me), towel rail and black towels, black and white curtain... but basically I am nearly there! There is no loo seat, because its in my kitchen. Having wrested for 15 mins with a screw that needs undoing to adjust where the seat sits I have finally caved that that might be something where A Man Is Required. Ah well. Nearly all by myself.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Throwing down the gauntlet

This morning I found the floor I want in my downstairs loo.... and booked them to come round and fit it. Which means I have to hurry up and finish decorating!!

Finished the plastering this morning... and put a second coat of paint on. One more coat to go (two, even three in the awkward bits I can't really be bothered with yet!)

But its looking neat!
(and in a post script... have you ever read a blog with so many photos of toilets??)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Plasterer extraordinaire

I have finally gotten around to plastering my downstairs loo. Its slowly nearing completion...

Rather proud of my handiwork because plastering aint easy!!!


I am now the proud owner of a wormery.

For those of you who think this is just some new bizarre pet scheme of mine, a wormery is a bin thing with a tap where you chuck all your kitchen scraps. The resident worms eat it, poo it, and you collect the best fertiliser for your garden/house plants from tap.
Its all part of my attempts to minimise my waste - I am down to half a bin bag a week and reckon if I didn't have a perpetual cold/hayfever it would be even less. I have a junior one, because thats about enough worms for one-two people's waste.
Can you put tissues in a wormery??

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Stock take

Something about the A level results, or having an increasing mix in the life plans of my friends, or just enough time these days to stop, breathe and think, has lead me to a conclusion.

I had the best time in the sixth form. Uni was amazing. My London years were incredibly fab. But I don't think I have ever been as happy as now.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Frustration.... solved?

Over the last year or so I have been looking for ways to make a difference to a number of things that frustrate me. I finally feel like I am making tangible progress in a lot of them so wanted to share my progress, and also hear any ideas you may have that might also help. So here goes. A lot of my solutions are organisations or charities, but it took me a while to find or research some of these so you might still find them interesting if you share the sentiment.

Q1) I don't know how nations should resolve multiple claims to the same territory (Israel, Northern Ireland, and tribal land).

a1) I still don't know the answer, and actually my research has been primarily focused on the tribal land issue as tribal groups tend to find it hardest to fight their case over land they haven't lived in for years, and with limited access to education and seemingly little motivation to terrorism. However, I rediscovered an organisation called Survival International ( Survival looks to support tribal groups through legal support and political pressure. Donations are a part of the support you can give, but (as they put it) "walking the talk" is key. Letter writing campaigns and education of western people about the struggles is also important. I love what these guys are doing, working decades to help tribes where sometimes just a few hundreds of people remain. I like the importance of history and the idea of the power of one.

Q2) I hate people who don't recycle as much as they could because "its too much effort to take the window out of an envelope".

a2) I have decided to calm my anger while there is so much more than I can do. I already do paper and glass collection from the kerb and have a brown bin for all my garden waste. I wrote to the council to make my voice heard in asking for more doorstep collections, but also researched local recycling facilities here: It turns out that I can recycle plastics, card, tetra packs, carrier bags... anything I want really all at my local Tesco. So I have transformed my understairs storage into a recycling centre and added an extra small bin upstairs in my house for recyclables to be taken downstairs and sorted. All plastic and glass containers are washed and every last item that can be recycled is. Even scraps of paper because its no more effort to put it in the paper bin than the kitchen bin. In fact its so easy that I now only throw away one bin bag a week in my MASSEEEVE black wheelie bin, something that hasn't gone unnoticed as my neighbours are asking to borrow space (in exchange for room in their brown garden waste bins). I am using the conversation to let them know about Tesco's recycling facilities and try to gently talk them round to throwing less away.

Q3) How to solve the conundrum of deprived communities globally

a3) You don't sponsor a child, you sponsor a whole community through a 15 year development cycle. And one child writes to you to help you understand the progress through the eyes of the inhabitants of the community. AIDS education, clean water, schools, vocational skills training .... you fund it all and the efforts are focused on specific communities to help them pull themselves out of their particular struggles - not spread so thinly as to produce no effect, or spent on emergency sacks of rice with little long-term view.

Q4) How can it be so difficult for farmers to earn a fair fee for their produce/How can we take the power back from the supermarkets/Why do I have to put my veg in individual plastic bags/what is wrong with an ugly aubergine?

a4) Fairly traded, naturally grown/farmed/caught, seasonal, TASTY veg/meat/fish/cheese etc, delivered to your door weekly. I love the philosophy of these guys and am prepared to pay a little more NOT because its organic but because people are being paid fairly for produce. And ugly aubergines can taste nicer than shiny perfect ones :-)

So thats just a few of the things I have discovered over recent months. Plenty more that I am looking at at the moment, including considering a wormery for my kitchen waste, ideas to bring back the community feel in my local area and fail safe ways to make people (me!) enjoy exercise.

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