Sunday, 28 September 2008

Credit where credit is due - No thank you!

This morning we received a letter from Barclaycard advising us that our credit limit has been increased by 50% 'to help you make the most of your card'.

We had not asked for our credit limit to be increased and, given that we have never come near the old limit, there would appear to have been no reason why we would require this to happen.

In view of the precarious nature of the current economic climate, tempting customers to borrow more seems to me to be highly irresponsible, which is what we intend to advise Barclaycard when we write and ask them to leave our credit limit where it is, than you very much.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Words Fail Me (... well almost!)

This afternoon I was walking down East Street. A young woman came out of baker's with a sandwich in her hand. As she walked down the road towards me she removed the sandwich from the paper bag it was wrapped in, scrunched it up and dropped it on the pavement. This was quickly followed by the paper napkin. Then she opened the sandwich, and I'm guessing she'd had her 5-a-day at breakfast because she proceeded to remove the slices of cucumber and tomato and drop them one by one to the ground.

It was the casual ease with which she carried out these actions that really struck me - as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

As I said ... words fail me.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Organic Food Festival

On Saturday I visited Bristol's Organic Food Festival. I love this annual event which gets better and better every year. My personal highlights were:
  • Listening to a talk by the West Country's very own Self Sufficientish duo where, amongst other things, I learned how to make an insect house using a plastic bottle and corrugated cardboard. They were so reassuringly down to earth and unpretentious.

  • Watching a cookery demonstration by Sophie Grigson, she of the amazing ear rings. On Saturday she was wearing ones that looked as if they had been made from a tin of pilchards. She prepared a selection of 'white' dishes - a chowder, a Thai soup and junket.

  • Being given samples of organic recyclable female sanitary products and discovering that I can buy them locally

  • Watching another cookery demonstration by Xanthe Clay, whom I had never heard of, but who created several dishes from one duck including confit, which my daughters loved during their recent exchange visit to south west France, and which I would like to recreate for them at home.

  • Discovering Dove Farm's Ezekiel Bread Mix and picking up two packs for £1 each. It's a savoury loaf which apparently goes very well with cheese.
My only reservation about the festival is the amount of waste it must engender but I was pleased to note that most suppliers appeared to be using recyclable containers and utensils and the site was well supplied with recycling bins.
PS If the mention of Sophie and Xanthe's dishes has tickled your taste buds then you will, hopefully soon, be able to access the recipes on Bordeaux Quay's website. However you'll have to wait as they are not there yet.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Zero Waist

I have decided to post my Zero Waste Challenge Week progress in a separate blog which you can find here.

Bristol's very own Zero Waste Challenge Week

Bristol City Council has just announced its very own Zero Waste Challenge Week (Monday 29 September - Sunday 5 October). For anyone who lives in the Bristol area you will find details of this challenge here.

Spurred on by Mrs Green's success I am going to see how close I can get ... and, who knows, I may even go all the way! But whatever I achieve will be better than doing nothing and I hope the good burghers of Bristol will feel the same. I hope to chart my progress on this blog and will be grateful for as much encouragement and advice as you can offer.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Hooray, I'm a Brillante Weblogger!

A week or so ago I logged on to discover, to my amazement and delight, that I had been awarded a Brillante Weblog award by Mrs Almost Average. Thank you very much. Blogging can be a very lonely pursuit and it is always gratifying to receive feedback (especially as positive as a shiny award). I shall treasure it.

One of the 'conditions' of accepting the award is that I nominate 7 other bloggers to receive the same award. Being a relative newcomer I have not yet built up a lengthy blogroll. However these are a few blogs I read regularly, all of which are worthy of this honour:

You are:

bigdaddystevieb - Steve Broadway's the man to blame for my sporadic offerings, as it was his blog that inspired me to start my own. I love reading his views on a wide variety of topics, from football, to football, to football ..... (sorry Steve, I couldn't resist!) ..... to music, to cinema, to education et al. And then there are the captivating photographs that accompany each blog.

Diakonia - Ellen Loudon's refreshingly frank account of life as a newly ordained curate in inner city Liverpool. A follow on from an equally insightful earlier blog about life as a theology student. Plus music and video clips.

3191 A Year of Evenings - No words - just beautifully evocative photos. Another follow on, from (you guessed it) 3191 A Year of Mornings.

Shouting at the Radio - Susan Harwood's pithy one-liners never fail to elicit some form of response.

Stuff & Nonsense - Blue Hands doesn't blog as often as I would like to read her, but when she does her posts are unique expressions of her life and work.

embody - A few months ago I attended an 8-week Happiness for Life Course, run by Bruce Stanley, which gave me a greater understanding of what it means to be happy and how I can achieve this in my own life. This is his blog, packed with loads of interesting stuff. And if anyone would like to enrol on his next course, starting on 8 October, then this is where to look for further details. I would highly recommend it.

Musings from a Stonehead - The tagline (the trials and tribulations of a modern day crofter) make it sound heavy going, but it does him an injustice, as there are plenty of posts to lift the spirit. Observant Observer readers will recognise him as one of the smallholder featured in today's magazine.

I'm now off to notify you of your rewards after which you are free to pass it on to others.

The 'rules', should you chose to follow them, are:

1) Put the logo on your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded you (ie me!).
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on yours.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

Thank you for your blogs and thanks again Mrs Almost Average.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Today is the first day of Mrs Green's Zero Waste September Challenge Week. While I haven't risen to the ultimate challenge, I have nonetheless pledged to do the following:

  • I will cancel any newspapers or magazines that I no longer read
  • I will offer one unwanted item on Freecycle
  • I will use washable cloths instead of disposable ones
  • I will make and send a recycled card instead of a shop bought one
  • I will start keeping and reusing old envelopes and packaging
This is a very timely dry run for my more ambitious attempt to achieve Zero (or as close as I can get to Zero!) Waste later this month. According to our local magazine Bristol is running a Zero Waste Challenge Week later this month, but despite searching the website and emailing the Council I have been unable to come up with any further details. Hey ho!