Saturday, 25 March 2017

Friday 24th March 17

An excellent day.  I'd arranged to meet Michelle at El Piano at midday, but I woke up at 11.17 so I quickly chucked some muesli down, got my bike out and loaded what I needed for after Michelle, and arrived at El P at a minute to midday, just before they opened. Michelle appeared 3 minutes later and we had a tea and a mocha - and the usual excellent chats. She really is one of the most sensible and sorted people I know, although she might not see this about herself.

This wound up at about half one and I cycled over to Bishy Road to see Ben, who'd asked me to come and do his compost bin, a Komp 250 which was nearly full. I removed the top half of material and put it into bin bags.... probably about 80 litres, and then dug out the rest using a Compost Mate and a trowel, and filled 6 bin bags, so maybe 120kg, and popped those in my trailer. The fresher stuff then got thrown back, along with some dry autumn leaves. The job took just under 2 hours and Ben paid me £30 which we were both happy with. I'll be able to mature the material he didn't want (although I did put about 10kg on his garden) and it should make good compost. It was one of the cleanest batches of compost I'd seen, with very few plastic 'contraries' compared to many bins I deal with. I did find a tea spoon though!

So I cycled home with that and decanted it into a barrel I use to mature nearly-finished compost in, and then topped it with some really nice material from a dalek which had rotted down to 25% of what it was 2 years ago. 

I then chopped up some sticks from a pruning job I was doing yesterday to reduce tree/hedge height near my raised beds, as they were too shaded last year. I put those in wooden fruit boxes to dry for a few months.... they should be ready to use for kindling by next winter.

I came in at 7pm as it was getting too dark to work, and had some salad and a vegan pastie Gill had made.  I got the stove going and by midnight had got enough hot water for a bath and hair wash.  Bed before 3am, as have the Edible York event tomorrow, and a Fiddlesticks gig.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Wednesday 15th March 17

A fairly early start as I was due down at the 'Shambles Market' (which I knew as Newgate Market) in the middle of town for 10.30 with a medium sized load of compost, 5 sacks of about 20kg each. Bill from Edible York had asked me to deliver as he was setting up two planters there.

There were already several Edible York volunteers there and I worked with them to mix up my compost with mushroom compost and some sandy loam. In the planters we put two fan-trained cherry trees, up against a trellis, and some mint, bright lights chard, and a few strawberries.  Joy turned up and offered to buy some fixing ties from Barnitts, as a gift for Edible York, so I put those on, to help train and support the trees.

I then had to go to West Offices to the Treemendous meeting. After which I was happy to come home!

When I got home I was pleased to find that the nitrogen oxides measuring kit had been delivered. It consists of a tube which has a NOx absorber in, and over 2 weeks will tell what the average air pollution levels are in your area. Friends of the Earth are compiling a pollution map, so I'm happy to take part.  Maybe some of my friends will be too https://www.foe.co.uk/go/clean-air-kit 

I attended a Green Party meeting in the evening, which had a presentation from Richard from York Community Energy, and that was really interesting too!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Tuesday 21st February 17

An early start as I wanted to get going on the lottie and get a good day's work in, but I'd agreed to see Daddy, so after a bowl of cereal at Anna's I went for a coffee with Daddy for 45 minutes. Then the lovely fast cycle down to the bottom of the valley and up the other side, arriving at the allotment in record time.

I had a great day, finishing the long border, apart from one end covered in logs and wood, and cut back a huge thicket of brambles.  Cookie called me and said to come for lunch at 2pm, so I stopped then and zoomed down to hers, and chatted with Danny and Ava, sorted some paperwork and had some ginger and black pepper soup which was just a bit too hot for me, despite being seasoned with beetroot.

I got the 4.19 train back and was home before 6pm, and then went to the Hull Road Ward Meeting with the Councillors and a small number of local citizens. Good meeting though.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Monday 20th February 17

A fairly early start, 8.30 on the alarm, left Anna's house soon after 9, and enjoyed zooming down to the valley the railway line and station sits in... takes about 10 minutes as it's all downhill, and then about another 20 minutes to get to the venue in Darnall, I arrived at 9.40, before Ava did.  I was made welcome by the staff member and I got myself ready for an unusual mix of balloon show and composting workshop.

It was a tough gig.  I prefer a bigger audience as that gives a certain ambience which is lacking if there's under 10 people watching. All four children were under 5, and there were 3 mums and two people connected with the project. The venue wasn't really set up for me to demonstrate my circus stuff, but I did what I could.

The balloon show went well, but the compost info session was made difficult by the children who weren't interested in compost, and were making a lot of noise.  However, I was reasonably happy with how it went and I had a delicious lunch at the centre.I also popped round to one of the participants' house to see her compost bin.  She's just moved in, never had a garden before. The bin was full of grass mowings, hay-like, dry and not composting. I gave her some advice!

Then I cycled up to the allotment and started on the border which still has one end not de-nettled. I did 3 and 3/4 hours there. and stopped because it started to drizzle. It took 53 minutes to get back to Anna's.

Anna said 'would I like a bath?' and I was really glad to be able to have one as I was achy and mucky. And after a good soak, she fed me, pie, potato and peas, with gravy. The pie was goats cheese, spinach and sweet potato.  Lovely. What a pampered evening....

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Sunday 19th February 17

As I've got work in Sheffield tomorrow I'm going to go through this afternoon and stay with Anna, my sister, for a couple of nights.  I was getting a few things together when Ben and his fiancĂ©e Karen turned up.  This was the first time I'd met her and it was so good to see them together.  We chatted about the wedding and a few other things, but they didn't stay long.

I left before 4 to get the 4.25 train which got into Sheffield at 5.15, and it only took me 25 minutes to cycle up to Walkley, despite having a large shrub hanging from the handlebars, my laptop, day-bag and a rucksack with circus stuff in.  Anna cooked up a wholesome pasta dish and we watched a bit of telly and chatted before she got to bed.

I did the washing up and got to bed before 2am. Early for me... but I've a relatively early start tomorrow. I have to be over in Darnall before 10, and I've memorised the map so I know my route. I'll go to the station and up behind it near to where Thomas lives, and the route from there is easy.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Saturday 18th February 17

I had a relaxing but hard working day, trying to get the front garden tidied up, ready for the removal of the pointless 'Spirea' shrubs which have grotty pink flowers on them but don't serve any purpose, so that I can put in some fruit trees.

I took advantage of a Radio Times offer and bought two Victoria Plum trees, a single one was £15 but the offer was to throw in a free one, so including the postage, two trees for under £22. I'm happy with that, and spent some time looking up how to train them along wires.

I also did some composting and log stacking, and had two facebook video conversations in the evening, one planned and the other a surprise.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Friday 17th February 17

Woken early by low flying jet planes which made me think back to my childhood when there was a lot of fear about conflict, with the 'Iron Curtain' between the Communist Bloc countries and the West, and a nuclear arsenal which seemed ready to be used at a moments notice. Over the intervening decades things have become a bit more peaceful, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and a relatively peaceful European situation, despite conflicts in the Balkans.  But with Trump with his finger on the trigger in the US, I'm not feeling as safe as I used to, and the UK 'leaving Europe' doesn't help either.

But they were just planes, not warheads or bombers..........

The rest of the day was peaceful.  I went to buy Yesterbake bread and get something from the chemist, did some log stacking and then took Howard's bike to Cycle Heaven to see if I could get a new back wheel or have the axle replaced, then visited Pauline who was pleased to see me and gave me her compostables to deal with. I picked up more compostables on the way home and did assorted outdoors work.

In the evening I re-arranged this blog a bit and started putting together a new segment for Extinction Radio.