Archive | March 2008

The Throwaway Generations

Yes – I’m talking about us. You, me, our children (but not our parents or grandparents).

I can see a real contradiction in today’s society. In the mixed messages we are giving the next generation.

We preach recycling like a religion, and yet the amount of packaging we discard every week is a disgrace. What on earth was going on with Easter egg packaging this year? It seemed more extensive than ever before. Thick cardboard boxes; preformed plastic inner shells that were at least 200% larger than required to hold the egg; accompanying sweets in separate compartments when we can all remember when they used to be encased within the egg.

Imagine a seven year old child. A new brain, just soaking up information from school, tv, books, newspapers etc. This child has, let’s say, six Easter eggs similar to the one I described. All that rubbish to throw away – even if the cardboard does go in the recycling bin. It doesn’t take a superbrain to realise that producing easter egg boxes uses energy! Now, this is confusing. Adults talk about global warming, climate change and preserving energy and resources. They tut, tut and say how worried they are about future generations and the world they’ll grow up in. The seven year old must think – hey – this is my world you’re talking about!

Then we just carry on – chucking things away when they stop working, and produce everyday items with so much packaging we need two wheelie bins and two smaller containers to fit all the family’s rubbish and recycling in each week.

I can remember when I was a child we only had a single metal dustbin – and that wasn’t full most weeks.

Our seven year old must be very confused. Adults are saying one thing and then doing the complete opposite and it’s obvious in everything around them.

My tumble drier door broke this week. The machine is only about 3 years old. It can’t be repaired and a replacement part costs 75% of the cost of the original appliance! I found myself saying “oh, let’s just get another one and take it up the tip”.

This is absolutely disgraceful. This is only my second ever tumble drier. The first one, bought in 1979, lasted nearly twenty-five years – it had new seals, a new control panel and only ever broke down once before the casing went rusty and it looked really skanky in my nice new utility room! It was actually still working perfectly well when we gave it to my sister-in-law’s parents and they kept it in an outhouse.

What happened to mending and repairing? My dad was always trying to mend things – as was my grandad. It was unheard of to chuck things out if they could be repaired. So much nowadays can’t be repaired or reused. An example is electrical plugs. An appliance now comes (heavily packaged) complete with a plug. Whatever happened to re-using old plugs? There’s just no point now, so they get chucked out when the appliance fails, along with the appliance.

So our fictitious seven-year old grows up not even knowing how to change a plug.

So come on bloggers – let’s come up with some ideas for saving the planet for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

My idea for starters is to start selling appliances without plugs again.

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Children and Labradors

‘Granny, Zakky wants some milk!
Tyler called me from the kitchen. I hauled myself up from my armchair and went into the kitchen.
‘Sit’, said Tyler, copying his grandad and raising his hand in a hand signal.
Zak’s bum hit the floor and he looked at Tyler expectantly.
‘How do you know he wants milk?’
‘Cause he told me.’ Tyler jumped up and down. Zak rose from his ‘sit’ and did the same.
‘Dogs can’t talk.’
Zak looked at me with huge brown eyes and then deliberately looked at the fridge. He did this twice and then wagged his tail.
‘Ooooohh. Granny. They can. They talk to little boys and girls and say Oiiiii, I want some milk.’
‘But Zakky doesn’t drink milk. He drinks water from his water bowl when he’s thirsty.’
‘I know that Granny, but he told me he really likes milk.’
‘I didn’t hear him go woof, woof, woof.’
‘He told me in my brain.’ (Tyler’s still got a thing about his brain – remember the dead fish?)
Zak went over to the fridge and sniffed the door. I gave in.
Now, every time I go in the kitchen, the blasted dog asks me for milk!

Giving nature a helping hand

We sat eating breakfast on Saturday morning watching a thrush trying to build a nest in a climing rose bush in our garden. It had found a piece of blue plastic about six inches long – this piece of plastic was obviously crucial to the nest-building infrastructure.

It tried to drop this piece of plastic in just the right place for about half an hour. The plastic kept falling down behind the rose bush. The thrush just kept trying and trying, to no avail.

After breakfast, I had to giggle when standing at the sink, because Rob had grabbed a handful of grass and weed cuttings, stuffed it in the place where the thrush had started to build its nest, and then placed the piece of plastic in the centre.

After about five minutes the thrush came back with a beak full of fluffy stuff of some sort. It sat on the fence – puzzled. After a while it looked around and then descended on the nest built with a strange human hand. Twenty minutes later it was proud as punch of its work. It must have thought it was its lucky day!!

I just hope the neighbours’ cats don’t interfere with nature too ….

Childhood Deprivations

My kids ganged up on me the other day laughing about all the little things they weren’t allowed to do/must do when they were little. Apparently I was an embarrassment when they were younger because I wouldn’t trust their friends parents. But in the light of all the child abductions in the news recently, they admitted that perhaps I was right after all to ring up parents I didn’t know to check that when they went round for tea they wouldn’t be allowed to play in the street!! (Cringe – I don’t remember doing that ….but it was only when they were little!!)

It got me thinking about my own childhood. What things were you made to do/weren’t allowed to do? Here is a list of mine as a child of the 1960’s:-

Forbidden things

  • Bubble gum/chewing gum
  • Comics like Beano, Dandy, Beezer (Bunty and Judy – OKish)
  • “Modges” – might have been a made-up word – meaning sweets/crisps/biscuits that ruined your tea
  • “Rubbish” – meaning flying saucers, pink shrimps, fruit salads and black jacks
  • ITV after school – frowned on – BBC was more educational
  • Eating chips in the street
  • Playing outside on Sunday afternoons
  • Playing in the street – until I was ten – yes ten!!!
  • Lucky bags
  • Swearing
  • Talk to “strangers”

Musts

  • Clean socks/vest/pants/hanky every day
  • Eat greens
  • Eat bread and butter with jelly
  • Read all the classics (I preferred Enid Blyton)
  • Brownies (hated it – refused to go in the end)
  • Always say please and thank you
  • Sunday school

A Writing Room of my Own


(well – almost)

My hubby has a room in the house where he’s set up his drawing board and works from home since he took early retirement last year. He shifted everything out and decorated it last week. He put up more shelves and re-organised the room. I came home on Friday lunchtime to a lovely surprise.

Look at my writing corner. Isn’t it just perfect? I can escape here in the evenings and get some peace and quiet when I write. Technoson has also installed wireless networking, so I can use my laptop in bed if I want to; or sitting at the kitchen table with the TV on.

I feel like a real writer now. Do you know why? It’s not really that I’ve finally got some space I can call my own, although that’s fantastic. It’s because at long last Rob and our offspring have begun to take my hobby seriously.

Belly Button Goo and Gore

I’m posting this so Lane can show her daughter.

Emily had her belly button pierced, without telling me, when she was about fifteen. I found out about a week later (as mothers do). I didn’t say anything to her because I wanted to teach her a lesson. She had an infection – a bad, bad infection.

Emily became ill, had a temperature and wanted to stay in bed. I made her get up and go to school (as mothers do who are not supposed to know that their daughter has a belly button infection). She went to the doctors and got antibiotics – I know because I saw them. I also smelt the antiseptic stuff in the bathroom, so I knew she was treating it.

I threw tales of septicaemia from tattoos and piercings into the conversation a couple of times. She gave me strange looks, but I just pretended to be a daft mother.

I never did tell Emily that I knew, until we were both out having a lunchtime drink two years later. Amy (who I work with) was there too. She had just had her belly button pierced.

I said to Amy, “ooooh – that’s nice …. Emily show Amy yours ……”

Emily’s jaw hit the table. “How did you know I’d got my belly button pierced ……..?”

I confessed. Emily said I was a bad, bad mother.

So – Lane’s daughter. If you are going to have it done, … and I know nothing will stop you if you’re determined … PLEASE PLEASE DON’T DO IT BEHIND YOUR MUM’S BACK AND PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T GO TO A DODGY TATTOO SHOP TO GET IT DONE!!