Archive for the ‘General Rambling’ Category

This really matters…

November 13, 2018
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Allotment-grown goodies…

Get Food, Growing, Cooking & Nutrition on the School Curriculum

OK, I’m back! This little petition request (above) popped into my inbox this morning, and really lit a fuse under my still-somewhat-sluggish mind. It’s a subject dear to my heart and woven throughout the fabric of my life; food, and the production thereof, is THE most fundamental factor in our collective health after clean water. Even above sanitation & the miracles of modern medicine; if you are healthy & well-nourished, you stand a far better chance of fighting back effectively should misfortune strike.

But what people seem to lack today is the power to make sane & sensible food choices, because they have no basis to make those choices except advertising from the manufacturers & purveyors of junk foods. Thanks to the steady downgrading & elimination of Home Economics, Domestic Science and the like from our school curriculum (subjects that enabled people to stand on their own two feet at home and often went far beyond that) many people actually seem unaware that they do have choices apart from what’s in front of them on the supermarket shelf, no matter how devoid of actual goodness it may be. Not to mention the fact that they usually have no time to spend pursuing more sensible (and usually more delicious) choices, or actually cooking them, or experimenting to get the best out of them. And many people lack the space & time to grow their own.

How can small local food businesses, selling decent produce, survive in a marketplace dominated by giant supermarket chains unless people know there are other choices available? How can farmers stand up to the ever-growing pressure to reduce costs by cutting corners if we don’t care enough to reward them?

How can children appreciate good food if they’ve never tasted it? We all know the battles we’ve been through to get reluctant children to try something new, something that their friends perhaps don’t eat, but we also know that mostly, with persistence, that battle can eventually be won. I have fond memories of administering a “green box” scheme, where the farmer delivered to & the customers collected from my doorstep; one of my sons, then aged four, would prowl up & down surreptitiously to identify the customers who didn’t like kale, then happily inform them that, actually, he did. Nine times out of ten, thanks to his big blue eyes, we’d end up with extra kale to stir-fry to crispy with garlic & soy sauce. Naughty boy! But he still loves kale now, aged twenty-six and halfway through a PhD…

It doesn’t just come down to money, although time is definitely a big factor. We all know people who eat well & thrive on a tiny budget, and people who have plenty of money but are suffering from all the ills that modern society can inflict on them. That’s not to say that there aren’t people who genuinely do not have enough money or resources to eat well, or at all, much to our collective shame; there are far too many, for far too many different reasons, mostly not self-inflicted. But for the vast majority of people whose weekly trolleys are laden down with junk, it’s lack of awareness that there is another way that’s hammering them, from both the health and budgetary angles. Or lack of confidence to at least try… and that’s what could so easily be addressed at a young age, if the political will to act is there.

To put it in terms that even a politician could understand: people cannot make sensible choices if they are not aware that there are choices…

It’s no good insisting that this education should take place in the home, when many young parents have never learnt themselves to cook or budget. This is not necessarily a new problem; witness my poor mother‘s experience. (Luckily for us, my “aunt” Ethel was a good & dedicated cook…) The lack of importance given to this subject for many years, the downgrading of domestic knowledge and inspiration, the idea that domesticity equals drudgery have all played a part in crippling us. As has the idea that seeking to make the best of the resources available to you is somehow “cheapskating” rather than just plain sensible.

Personally I think the time has come to get angry about this; we are all, or have been, suffering because we don’t know any better, or we’re not confident enough to try – and we could be, so easily…

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Home-grown tomatoes, home-made preserves…

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Aaargh…

October 27, 2018

Please forgive my absence for a while; I’ve had a bit of an unpleasant shock. Suffice it to say that a “routine” medical investigation revealed something rather nasty & I shall be having a little lie-down in hospital for a day or two next week. Apparently the signs are all good and I seem to be otherwise in good shape & should recover fast. I’m lucky enough to be supported by a very professional & helpful team, and even luckier to have lots of willing help & company at home, but still, it feels somewhat like a slap in the face with a wet fish.

Back when I’ve got my head around it and found my feet again! In the meantime, here’s a pic of a very cuddly & almost-fullgrown Poppy…

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And time has passed…

March 27, 2018

…again. Winter seems to have gone on forever, but at long last Spring really is in the air. I’ve been a bit quiet because there’s been a lot going on at home; my lovely mother has taken it into her head to move, aged 92. This is All Good, because although her “retirement” flat is lovely, and the on-site carers are absolute stars, she’s been so very lonely there since my stepfather passed away. Her new home is under 100 yards from the home of one of my brothers, and much closer to the other two as well, although further away from us. There are several other family members and friends also close by, so she will have people of all generations popping in all the time, which will be so very good for her. We’ll have to travel a little further, but we’ll get to see more family members when we go, so overall I’m well-pleased.

And – Him Indoors is running the London Marathon next month. This has obviously involved a lot of training, and a fair bit of fund-raising too, but more to the point, it’s been a huge learning curve for him in the field of social media. So I’ve spent a fair bit of any time that might otherwise have been “spare” mentoring him on his cyber-journey. He’d resisted all involvement up to now, but his “team” communicate & encourage each other via a Facebook group, so his time as a avowed technophobe has had to come to an end. I’m very proud of him; for tackling such an enormous thing in the first place, but also of the leaps forward he’s taken into cyberspace. (See¬†Pete’s Marathon ReRun if you’re interested!)

I’ve also been clearing stuff out of my “work” shed, the garage and spare bedroom/sewing studio. Some has been sold, some given away and a few items, I’m afraid to say, actually did have to be dumped, as mice had got into the boxes. That does make me feel a little guilty; there’s not much point “rescuing” stuff if I only end up ruining it instead. It’s a little worrying to realise that though I’ve been working on it for weeks, I’ve probably only cleared about a quarter of what needs to be re-homed. And needless to say, I’ve somehow managed to acquire a fairly large rug/tapestry loom to replace the one that was too big to keep.

A decision has been reached to re-brand the remaining traders from the old Boscombe Vintage Market as the Velvet Magpies Vintage Market, as we don’t trade in Boscombe any longer. We haven’t done anything as a market over the past year, but we’ve all missed working together, so the time has come to start planning & moving forward again!

Anyway, the clocks moving forwards have brought one huge benefit; we can go for a stroll along the riverbank after tea! My seedlings are coming up, my allotment beds are being cleared; life is returning, and with it my writing mojo…

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