Monday 26 March 2018

Present day conspiracies

Apart from all the stuff about Facebook, certain people in Cambridge rigging election campaigns, etc, etc; this is stuff on a smaller domestic scale but that also has a vast implications for us and our our planet.

Cleaning products.

Photo from:

We, who like to think we are environmentally aware, have been happily (well, not happily - uninterestedly, perhaps) buying various cleaning products over the years thinking they are invaluable and necessary to the household chores. I have always, or certainly in the last few years, bought items said to be non-harming to land, water, flora and fauna - and that are also housed in 'recyclable' plastic bottles.
But why do we feel we need all this stuff? Adverts presumably, and that our parents used such things - actually, I don't recall my mother using anything at all other than a bit of washing up liquid, but then she was rather Quentin Crisp about cleaning - after five years the dust doesn't get any worse, I think he was quoted on saying.
Some years back a group of friends in our region got together and started growing, collecting and drying herbs to make into a general house-hold cleaning product; mixed with vinegar - a easily found by-product of the wine industry here - culminating in an excellent product called VAM. At the local bio store you can buy an initial bottle, then keep going back for the re-fills. It's brilliant for floors, surfaces, everything, especially used in conjunction with bicarb of soda - and you get an exciting little fizzing chemical reaction for added excitement.
Maybe it's not 'spring meadow' (chemical)-perfumed or not quite as mega-grime removing as some of the more caustic products, but how deep-cleaned do we all really need to be? Yes, maybe in a hospital, but probably not at home.
I once saw a program about anti-bacterial sprays where the crew went around an average house and checked out what was lurking in places that people usually get scared about - sinks, loos, et al, and nothing harmful was discovered. The program's maker also suggested we invite a lot of our own modern-day allergies through being over zealous with spays, air-fresheners and wipes.



Do we really need (thick) plastic cat-head crunchies containers - small cardboard box? 


Violently-coloured, huge plastic drums containing body-building . . . stuff including calf's whey

Where to start? We all know from the zillions of films circulating about seas full of discarded plastic, and rubbish dumps as high as office blocks that we and our planet have a massive problem, but if we could all make small changes, the message to manufacturers would gradually, or possibly, rapidly, seep through.
Here's a picture of Mark's home-made ketchup (mainly tinned tomatoes, onions and tom paste) housed in the LAST ketchup bottle we will buy. And my attempt at home-made deodorant (lemon juice, bicarb and err, can't remember now) - perfectly effective on a day-to-day basis, although I might occasionally resort to something stronger for scary bureaucratic, bank loan situations, etc.


Friday 16 March 2018

Instant goosebumps

Works for me anyway. Sadly no moving image of the Fanfare Cioc─ürlia but close your eyes and enjoy . . .

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Finally . . .

A recent picture of me that I not only like, but feel looks like ME - if you know what I mean, seated at my writing table in the corner of the front room next to the wood-stove, and map of London/ book-scribblings on the wall above me. Thanks Penny - great friend and brilliant people-photographer.

Leave me a comment if you wish to know more about her work.

Monday 5 March 2018

A step in the right direction

I've been listening to a lot of talks lately about farming practice and Permaculture, partly in relation to  my own research for writing about a speculative world in 2070, and partly because of the amount of information revealed to us all everyday about how we are - through overuse of pesticides, petrol-based fertilisers etc - basically killing the surface of our one and only human home - and I'm not one of the folk who think we'll just piss off to Mars when this globe's kicked us off.
Therefore, I was really excited to find on one of my favourite dog walks up in the hills that some enterprising and sensible bod had introduced their flock of sheep and lambs into a huge area of vine fields - fenced off and patrolled by one of the calf-sized sheep dogs of this region, the Great Pyrenean hound, or Patou, in local speak.
What could be more sensible? The sheep eat the weeds - usually treated with roundup or some similar poison, (weeds, not the sheep) and then the animals crap thus fertilising the soil . . . It's beautiful in its simplicity and a joy to see rather than some tractor grunting up and down the striped fields spraying clouds of death-juice into the atmosphere.