Treasures

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Getting hold of a wider range of goods and services without using the car usually involves a journey across the estuary, and what a delight it is. A short walk takes us to our local ferry and a bumpy ride over the sea transports us to Fleetwood, a town packed full of interesting architecture and a good range of independent shops.

Designed by Decimus Burton in the 1830’s, the town was originally designed to accommodate the working classes in  ‘golden sands, sea, air like wine and breath-taking views across Morecambe Bay on clear days.’ It certainly felt that way as we enjoyed a beach side picnic today.

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A train load of books in Fleetwood Library…

And so to more domestic matters…..

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Planning this year’s harvest- inspired by the permaculture movement we are going to plant some full-size trees this year..more later

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Finding a much prettier alternative to filter cartridges

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A handwritten letter from a dear friend on the most gorgeous notepaper

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Making naan to go with our lentil and tomato curry.

The Beauty Of Zero Waste – part deux

Having a family can certainly add to the waste we produce, an estimated 1/2 tonne of disposable nappies are produced every year per child- nappies in landfills take up to 500 years to degrade and around 200, 000 trees are lost each year to make disposable nappies for babies in the USA alone. The arrival of a baby often means that we are inundated with ‘essential’ items from well-meaning family and friends or from exhausted shopping trips in a vain effort to secure the one item which we believe will make our lives easier.

The simple truth is that having a home with just a few good-quality baby items make parenting much easier on both our health and pocket.

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Baby bathing essentials: muslin cloths, baby balm in a glass jar from a good friend, coconut oil and a gorgeous washbag made by a lovely lady.

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Toddler mealtimes- metal cutlery and enamel ware espresso size cup – perfect for little hands

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Washable nappies from Bambino Mio and bamboo wipes from Ma Petite Chou

For those precious spare moments….

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Fountain pen from Allan Lloyd in Kendal, ink, blotting paper and writing paper- for those times when only handwritten letter will do.

 

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Shopping kit

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Woodstore, wormery and apple trees ( taken last May)- for time spent in the garden ( either alone or with my little boy) – bliss!

The Beauty Of Zero Waste

That’s the thing about sustainability, it’s just so darn nice to look at. Alternatives to plastic are usually far more beautiful as well as kinder to the pocket and the environment. According to the Greenpeace Energy desk news, the UK government quietly reduced recycling targets for plastics last year- meaning that even more plastic is finding its way in to landfill.

Concern over plastic in our food is highlighted in the BBC’s ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor ‘ – in the programme scientists drew attention to how plastic leeches into our food and disrupts our endocrine system, or in other words, our hormones. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. The episode particularly drew attention to the need for pregnant women to be careful about eating food wrapped in plastic.

A great start to reducing plastics at home begins with swapping your single use items for their more beautiful alternatives:

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Bamboo toothbrushes ( available from here), baking soda, body lotion ( made by the lovely Clare) and crocheted cotton rounds.

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Cloth napkins, tea towels, knitted dishcloths and cotton food covers.

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gorgeous bamboo sanitary towels, made in the UK from recycled fabric

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Shopping bags

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Soft, laundered vintage handkerchiefs

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Air fresheners and medicine cabinet.

These lovely items enhance our home environment and ensure that no waste is generated. If properly cared for, these items should serve us for many years to come ( and personally they just make me smile every time I use them).

 

 

Ulverston

There is something about a day out which begins with a train journey which turns the whole event into something out of an Enid Blyton story, (you can almost taste the potted meat sandwiches and lashings of ginger beer). Travel by locomotive features regularly in the best fiction- Harry Potter’s journey to Hogwarts, evacuation at the beginning of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and the elegant and exotic scenery in Murder On The Orient Express.

Travelling to Ulverston via Arnside you experience stunning vistas from your seat in the carriage as the train goes over two lengthy viaducts. It gives you the sensation of floating over the sea- the route is truly spectacular.

Ulverston itself was a Georgian marvel, packed full of independent shops and peppered with fantastic architecture.

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Travel with a toddler ensures that our progress is slow, regular pauses enable us to savour our surroundings and appreciate the smallest details. He approaches everything with enthusiasm, willingness to learn and a zest for living. He’s an inspiration to us all and a seasoned traveler who, like Poirot himself, insists on regular stops for rest ( a wonderful stop at the converted water tower- Bikestation– a marvellous fusion of bike repair shop and cafe), impeccably punctual mealtimes with only the best local offerings ( today care of the inestimable Poppies cafe). What a privilege to travel with him, CC and my father today!

A Few Lovely Things this week…

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Treasures on the beach- mermaid purses (shark eggs)

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Veg boxes- two ways

A delivery from Growing With Nature ( plot to plate less than 2 miles)

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Learning…

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Building wooden towns -and then knocking them down…

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music two ways….piano by CC, gramophone by me..wish I could play the piano!

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Finally getting around to stripping the lavender flowers from my dried bunches.

Into The Woods

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

W.B Yeats

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It’s been a week of contrasts. Reading the brave words of Tina Rothery as she recounts the days spent fighting energy giant Cuadrilla makes me feel so very sad and proud in equal measure. The brave team of people who are slow walking the trucks in an effort to save our water and air are heroes observed by many in Lancashire; as a mum of a small child, it wouldn’t be safe for us to be there during the week, but we can show our support on Solidarity Saturdays.

As activists we need to continue to thrive, take time for ourselves against the seemingly endless onslaught of bad news. We need to make sure that our families engage with nature and learn those precious lessons that only being outside shows us. After all, it is our love of the natural world that will save us, we only protect and cherish what we know and love. Being outside is so very good for our physical and mental well being and reminds us all of what is at stake.

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Time spent nourishing our minds and bodies strengthens us and makes us more effective.

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Today we spent time in the woods and baked a nourishing loaf. All my love to the activists in the world today, wherever you are. XXX

Raisin Bran Loaf

In a large bowl mix together;

1 cup sugar

1 cup of sultanas ( or any dried fruit such as dates)

1 cup of bran fibre (all bran)

1 cup of milk ( soya or cows milk work equally well)

Soak for one hour.

Add 1 cup of sr flour and a teaspoon of mixed spice.

Bake in the oven at around 160C for about 1 1/2 hours.

Finding The Joy In January

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Watching Lapwings against blue skies along our beach.

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Savouring the final winter crops of sprouts.

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The texture of chunky teal-coloured aran.

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Feeding hungry winter birds from the birdtable (a gorgeous Christmas gift from my brother)

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Baking Aunt Bev’s Country Seed Bread with my little boy.

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The first British daffodils in a Cornish jug.

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Adventures with family in the Yorkshire Dales- Settle Station.

A Small Change With Huge Impacts

Firstly a confession, I have been getting it wrong, very wrong in fact. Expending energies on taking glass containers to the shop,buying second hand, eating mostly vegetables…..seeing my part in the fight for the planet as one which could be fought within the boundaries of my own home, within my own village. I’ve changed my mind…img_3762img_3735

These actions in themselves are not wasted, they have sparked an interest in the health of our communities and environment, the health of our families and societies and the health of our natural world. Like many environmentalists before me, my journey began with re-cycling and continues with taking action against the giant corporation which is trying to store gas underneath my village, campaigning vocally on blockades and joining in with demonstrations.

However, if we are to make an impact on the health of the planet and our communities we must act TOGETHER, our belief that the environment can be fixed by personal solutions is a fallacy, only collective action will bring about the titanic changes which are needed to save us from annihilation.

A deliberate, systemic message has pushed the need for solutions onto the individual consumer, thus placing the onus on personal consumption and deliberately hiding the much greater impact of corporations and the consumer economy of growth at any price. In his article ‘Forget Shorter Showers’, Derrick Jensen explains how we have been subjected to a ‘campaign of systematic misdirection’- consumer culture has taught us to substitute personal lifestyle choices for organised resistance’ . Explaining further, he uses the example of water consumption in the USA; as individuals we are encouraged to think that taking shorter showers will fix the world’s water and energy problems, but since only 10% of water use is domestic, this is a deliberate ploy to hide the 90% used by agriculture, the military and industry. In another example he explains that of the waste produced, only 3% is actually domestic- so that even if everybody turned Zero Waste overnight, we would still only be reducing our waste by 3%.

Jensen states that if everyone were to follow every single suggestion cited in ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, it would only account for a 22% fall in carbon emissions. Scientific consensus is that emissions need to fall by at least 75% worldwide if we are to save the world in which we live.

Collective resistance is the only answer, we must get together to force our governments to act now. We must join together with as many others as possible to ensure that we save our planet from the selfish few who would seek to annihilate us for the sake of greed and profit.

I believe the capacity for action lies in all of us. I believe that even amongst those who say that they are looking for a ‘quiet life’ a strengthening voice is crying for the need for change. We feel it to our very core, something is very, very wrong with a society which sits back and watches while our Earth is destroyed for the sake of profit and power. I urge you to make that small change today- join in and fight for what matters most- our families and our environment.