After a significant birthday and an even more significant (wine induced) brain storming session a few ideas on living a greener life started to emerge ...
Starting at the lowest level - we can recycle and eliminate waste. Easy Peasy? No - it isn't. Our first job is to put a practical mechanism in place. So a trip to IKEA will help us sort our day to day rubbish with the pull-out under sink 'Rationell' bins. The proof of the pudding will be when we don't have anything for the dustmen - sorry. Refuse collection operatives - to collect.
Our next task is progress further with growing our own vegetables. Our first tentative attempt last year was moderately successful. The runner beans were very successful but we hope that the courgettes, leeks, raspberries, blackcurrents, figs, grapes do better this year. We also plan to plant onions, butternut squash, marrow, mange tout, snap peas.
Although our barn conversion exceeds building regulation thermal requirements and we have tried to be environmentally friendly - we are still using much too much oil. So we are going to do what we can to be less reliant on fossil fuels and embrace the change.
So we will tackle the simple things first, the most obvious starting place is eliminating the draughts. The oak frames on our windows and doors have moved and created some quite alarming gaps.
We are using the wood burner much more than we used to, but the high ceilings and large doorways (with no doors!) mean that much of the heat escapes. We have plans for making the sitting room more of a snug.
As a bigger project we will be looking into natural insulation, solar, heat pumps, special glass and more ... (Did I mention the computer controlled heating, lighting and media program I am writing?)
If you don't know anything about Transition Towns you really should. Go take a look at www.transitiontowns.org.
One of our local towns - Newent in Gloucestershire - has become the UK’s 149th Transition Town. We hope to get involved in the journey and are looking to attend one of the 'getting started' courses in April.
The current system of government and financial controls have failed us badly. So with the help of a few friends, an after dinner glass of wine (or two) and the inspiration of 13-year old Erin ...
What could possibly be wrong with the way the British people have been governed for hundreds of years?
Well for a start it is based on a system that was created hundreds of years ago, and has been run as an elitist gentlemen's club ever since.
There is too much legislation, it feels to me that we are in a big brother, nanny state. There are too many civil servants - who are too far away and unanswerable to the man in the street. The men and women who bear the brunt of the rules and regulations - and taxes - without the ability to answer back, or even question the decisions being made.
The government is too far removed from the real issues that affect people at a local level. The tax burden is way too high. We are crushed by ridiculous laws and waste time and money on unnecessary health and safety issues and political correctness. And there is still real poverty.
Less central government and small agile local government. And the elimination of thousands of civil servants (well at least their jobs).
In the spirit of the Transition Town movement there has to be much more understanding of the local situation - the real problems faced by the community. These problems will be very different in different parts of the county, rural or city.
The central government should be responsible only for the national issues:
Local government needs to take a leaf out of the Transition Town movement and understand how people can work together to create a healthier more fulfilled life. Local government should be removing barriers to enpower people to fulfill their potential.
Local responsibilities would include:
Well probably not. If only the Green Party would get a move on. Otherwise I may be forced to start the None of the Above party and change my name to Tick Here.