Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Holiday Recycling

Our fortnight in St Ives was my first holiday since I started taking zero waste more seriously, and I discovered that it is not so easy to achieve as when I am at home in Bristol.

While we were waiting to collect our keys to the cottage we had a cup of tea in the beach cafe. The tea came in a corrugated paper cup which wouldn't have been too bad if there had been a paper recycling bin to pop it in, but it had a plastic lid and the milk came in individual plastic containers.

I hadn't realised how accustomed I'd grown to separating my rubbish and I missed my compost bin and wormery. We looked for the glass bottle recycling bins but they weren't where they used to be and we thought we were going to have to bin our bottles until we discovered a row of colourful recycling bins at the far end of Porthmeor Beach. There was another on Porthminster Beach. So we were atleast able to recycle paper, glass and plastic bottles and aluminium cans.

I was pleased to see that cloth shopping bags were available at the Coop, Seasalt and the excellent Fore Street Deli. They weren't expensive and were rather attractive. In fact, if I hadn't already had such a collection I would have been tempted myself.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Happy Holidays

We've just returned from a fortnight in St Ives. The weather was disappointing. There were only two days when it did not rain at all and only one (our last day) which could accurately be described as warm and sunny. However we did not let this prevent us from having a wonderful time. In fact, our inability to spend whole days on the beach lead to our doing things we might not otherwise have done. Highlights included:

  • visiting the Penlee and Exchange Art Galleries in Penzance and the Leach Pottery in St Ives (the first two were worth a visit including the cafe at the Penlee, but I wouldn't rush back to the Pottery)
  • shopping at the recently introduced farmers' market (where we bought delicious locally produced cheese, sausages, cake, curry sauce and chocolate)
  • attending a concert in St Ia's church given by the Cologne New Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra which was an absolutely brilliant performance by musicians who clearly love their music
  • walking from Zennor to Gurnard's head and back in the mud and rain
  • rising early most mornings to walk along the beach before anyone else got there
  • reading three books (I highly recommend 'if nobody speaks of remarkable things' by Jon McGregor and 'the private parts of women' by Lesley Glaister)
  • watching the Olympics
  • drinking cups of tea and playing Uno and Scrabble
  • attending services at St Ia's church and saying goodbye to Andrew Couch, who has been the vicar ever since we started holidaying in St Ives and who retires in just a few weeks

I could go on and mention sandcastles, mini golf, Cornish pasties, clotted cream ... but I will stop there before I lose you.

As you may gather from the above I positively adore St Ives and can't wait until our next holiday there.

The photo is the view along St Ia Street from our cottage in Burrow Road.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Pledge & Win

For those of you who haven't come across Mrs Green's Zero Waste blog, now is the time to pop over for a visit for, in addition to a variety of interesting and informative posts, there is currently the chance to pledge to reduce your wase and win an attractive eco prize.


We returned from a fortnight in St Ives to find the brown envelope containing my elder daughter's eagerly awaited GCSE results. She did very well (1 A*, 8 As, 1 B and 1 C), a fitting reward for the tremendous amount of hard work she has put in over the past months.

So today, as promised, we made 'pedas'. In India, where I was born and brought up, important events, such as births, engagements and success in examinations and interviews, are marked by the distribution among family and friends of boxes of 'pedas', a sweetmeat prepared from milk, sugar, pistachios and cardamom. Unfortunately we don't have any Indian sweetmeat marts in our neighbourhood, so we resorted to making them ourselves, and I am pleased with the results A sliver of edible silver paper would not have gone amiss but they look, and taste, pretty good as they are.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Busy Weekend

It's been a busy old weekend!

On Saturday we visited Bristol's International Harbour Festival. Although, as its name suggests, it's centered around the harbour, we almost missed the boats out altogether, there was so much else to do. We started with two pieces of modern dance, the first from the Martha Graham Dance Company from New York and the second from the Nacho Duato's Compania Nacional de Danza from Madrid. The photo is of one of the Spanish dancers. Next we wandered round the French and Italian street markets where we bought some tartiflette (an unctuous combination of potatoes, bacon, mushrooms, double cream and Reblochon cheese) washed down with a mango lassi (from the Indian food stall!) Finally we found ourselves a space on the grass and settled down to enjoy an afternoon's musical entertainment. First on was Asere, a lively Cuban band, followed by Beth Rowley, Bristol's up and coming R&B/soul singer, and rounded off by my favourite, Sheelanagig, a delightfully wacky folk band.

This afternoon we walked up to Goldney Gardens for the annual Amnesty International Garden Party. The rain held off long enough for us to browse the stalls, sign a few postcards, buy a few books and take a turn round the garden. Which took us nicely to our favourite local band, Fromage en Feu's, slot in the Orangery. We sat and drank tea and ate cake to their lively music before heading off down the hill. Fromage en Feu are apparently releasing their first album in September and if it's as good as their live performances then it'll be worth the investment. Meanwhile they are on at the Tobacco Factory next Sunday evening at 8 pm.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Man on Wire

Yesterday afternoon Steve & I went to see Man on Wire, the story of Philippe Petit's spectacular tightrope walk between the Twin Towers in 1974. What an incredible man who, after seeing a diagram of the towers in a newspaper in a dentist's surgery, drew a line between them and determined that, when they were built, he would walk along that line.

It has been described as 'the artistic crime of the 20th century', Petit talks about it as a 'performance' and that is what it is, a ballet dance more than 1,300 feet above ground. Perched on that wire high above our heads, his face lit up with the sheer exhilaration of his achievement, he looked like an angel.

Although the film made no reference to the fate of the towers 27 years later, viewing footage of them under construction so soon after having seen them destroyed, was very moving.

For Steve's review see his man on wire.

PS In addition to being thoroughly entertained I did also add another word to my French vocabulary. 'Funambule' is the French for 'tightrope walker'.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Blowing my own Trumpet

This morning I received an email from Timothy Latz to let me know that my application to have my blog entered in the Best Green Blogs Directory has been successful, which I am very pleased about.
I received another email from a friend who sent me the link to A Month without Plastic, Christine Jeavons' attempt to live plastic free for the month of August. She plans to blog about it and the link to this will appear later today.

Funnily enough I was planning to do something similar myself in September and use this month as a dry run, to monitor the plastic I buy and throw away, to assess the enormity of the challenge and to consider some of the alternatives. So I shall be following Christine Jeavons' experiment with interest.
Christine Jeavons is, of course, not the first to blog about such matters. One of my favourites The Rubbish Diet, features in my sidebar.