301 green bottles standing on the wall

Well more like collecting rainwater and snails in the back of Jess’s garden – so last weekend we decided to put them in the car and lug them to the nearest recycling point (straight down the hill, I was tempted to freewheel down to make it a 100% environmentally friendly journey but it wasn’t possible).

My impromptu survey showed that the residents of Western Road more than enjoy a fine ale (brown bottles), red wine (green bottles) and sometimes even cooking with pasta sauce (a few white bottles).

I would say that I was reasonably aware of the environment and try to manage my consumption of the earth’s resources. I don’t have my own car (ok,ok so I’m insured on one but it hardly ever gets used); I cycle everywhere, I take the train (though these are hardly environmentally friendly really.), I recycle, use a terrible weak shower (ok so I’d rather have a power shower 😉 )

Us British citizens have a hard time when it comes to recycling. Generally mocked by our superior environmentally-aware European neighbours, we are told we are the landfill dumping, waste burning cretins. However there appears to be no policy on recycling. In Reading we have red boxes (collected fortnightly) which you can put newspaper, plastic (bottles only), tins BUT no glass. Sheffield has bright blue wheelie bins (collected monthly?) for newspaper and card ONLY. In the Wirral they have blue bags (had them for about 10 years now) for newspaper only. A real mish-mash.

For the rest, you may or may not have recycling facilities near to you – but don’t drive there – the petrol your card expends is probably more than the saving your used products will reduce. I tend to save up the glass for a fortnightly walk to the park. Saving the environment doesn’t come high on most businesses priority list, in fact it’s probably more of a hindrance, but I think this sector could be a real growth industry in this century as landfill sites are full and people realise they cant just live in a throwaway society. It’s virtually impossible not to throw huge amounts of stuff away each week – knowing that it’s going to waste.

I think plastic bags and bottles should have a deposit on them (10p?) – it would involve large shifts in thinking but would reduce waste and maybe make people think more about the stuff they are throwing away. This has worked well in Ireland although our government is not keen on imposing such specific green taxes.

I’d really like to have a compost heap but I’ve never lived anywhere where it’s been really feasible. It’d be good to see the waste getting broken down and reused (although I don’t like the idea of rats nesting in there)…

You can see the size of your ‘footprint’ here . I came out at 2.4 earths which I wasn’t that pleased about really. Think that is the long haul flight fuel which burns as much as 1 car does in a year!…. Quite shocking really… well maybe not from the person who has just received another ‘free’ mobile phone when the other one functions perfectly well.

Lo-Tech in the Lakes

In a world virtually devoid of Internet Access (fast anyway), mobile reception and GPRS no-body can hear you scream. Even more so if you lose your GPS navigator in a waterfall. Yes the lake district was the perfect place to get away from the shackles of modern technology for a few days. [Ok so my SIM broke and I didn’t want/need to check the net but it was nice not to have the option for a bit].

Camping Barns are the way forward; you can forget your luxury penthouses or modern city-living apartments. When you have a kettle on an electricity meter, a solid wooden roof and a mattress protected by plastic sheeting, what more do you need! We stayed in 3 different barns, 1 called Murt in Nether Wasdale (webcam here), Cockermouth and Rosthwaite. Despite some rain (when we took a trip to the beautifully situated Sellafield Reprocessing plant) we managed to do quite a lot of outdoor stuff.

The days were spent walking around the Lakes and the nights in the pub sampling the excellent local bitters (not normally an ale drinker but I thought i’d give it a go and really enjoyed it – and the apparant lack of hangovers the next morning)…

We also dipped into the world of geocaching. However this came to an abrupt halt when I was clambering up a wet, moss lined set of rocks near to a waterfall when the GPS receiver slipped out of my pocket, bounced several times, passed Hobson below and into the deepest part of the Waterfall, never to be seen or received again.. It was good while it lasted (pretty much like the weather really)….

tour of england

Had quite a manic few days travelling from place to place like a nomad – stopping for less than 24 hours before being moved on by the authorities for having an illegally seatbelted rabbit in the car.

thusday pm : train from Reading to Sheffield. Meal at the Strines Inn. Drinks in Cobden View which has a great place for a drink and a lock-in (until 12.45!)

friday am : Sheffield. lots of tea and bacon sarnies at a few peoples houses while Jess recorded vocals onto a demo track. Drive over to the Wirral.

friday pm : Wirral/Liverpool. over to liverpool – had a look around the town, went to the new Tea Factory for a glass of (amazing) red wine. Had a curry in a great restaurant on Renshaw Street called the Cubicle Restaurant where every group of diners has their own cubicle with curtain to eat their meal in virtual privacy. Only problem is the curtains aren’t quite wide enough to cover the gap.

saturday : Spent time in West Kirby, New Brighton (more run down than last time I went – though the 2p machines are great fun) and then drove over to Liverpool. Went and saw Antony Gormley’s Field at Tate Liverpool. Had lunch in Quiggins (which is great and really shouldnt be knocked down to be replaced by another clinical shopping mall, went to a couple of museums (The Conservation Centre and the Liverpool Museum). Then drove to Northallerton.

sunday am : northallerton. easter day bizness. fixing jess’s car (well more like watching jess’s dad do the repairs), fantastic sunday lunch with lots of gravy and yorkshire puds and then drive to sheffield to drop the rabbit off.

sunday late : nottingham. Dirty Rascals party aboard a boat on the River Trent. Was quite good fun and certainly different!

monday : bacon/eggs/supergirl and back to sheffield. Chilling out!

tuesday : Amazingly sunny morning – walked down to the botanical gardens which is a great place to read the paper on a sunny morning.

Off to the sunny (erm.. no) Lake District with a few mates tomorrow for some chilling out, walking and of course sampling the local ales. Full report on return! (if we get down from Scarfell Pike)

PNT (post noctural ticket-buying)

So the tickets have been paid for (£117 quid in total!) and I have caught up on the sleep (but the weekend didn’t help). Had a late one seeing one-half of Orbital at the Fez Club on Saturday night. Wasn’t a very good atmosphere and it was also the first time I have wore my earplugs out. They make everything clear but you sort of lose the loudness basically! He didn’t get the crowd going and the MC was jokes 😉

I watched Manhattan on Sunday night. I was quite impressed by the whole production of it. I liked the black and white (even though some scenes were too dark), the wide shots of New York (although nothing like Taxi Driver made me feel). He (Woody Allen) seems to have a way of drawing you deep into his mind both through the direction of the film, the gripping storyline and his acting role.

I’ve been reading FreeCulture. I book released freely on the net (under the print.
Lawrence Lessig is a leading US lawyer and has written an in-depth book about the state of the copyright laws and the future of ideas as we move into the internet age. Anyway it’s free so you should read it or buy it!

Nearly time for a well deserved 10-day holiday when I’ll be heading up North for some relaxing, partying and a trip to the Lake District. Bosh!

glasto update

Oh my gosh! I have just heard that everyone I wanted to get a ticket for Glasto has managed it. I stayed up until 6am and thought that I hadn’t got one. In between distant dreams of engaged phones and broken net sites I woke up to ring engaged phones and try broken web sites. Then I checked my yahoo mail account and in the junk mail folder was an email…

This email said thank you for your ticket purchase at 3.48am… I read it several times to make sure. Yes I have two tickets… But I wouldnt be happy until everyone had got theirs. The websites are still playing up but finally we are off to Glastonbury at the end of June. That calls for a double bosh! 😉

Shame I stayed awake for 2 hours after I had actually got a ticket, not sure though if that email took hours to write. Today I am having a bad moment when I dont trust technology anymore – if anything were to happen (such as a bomb, electricity going down etc.) I’m just not sure how our infrastructure would stand up….

Never again will I spend 10 hours on the telephone… It reminded me of a film I watched last week (Metropolis) where they toil for 10 hours moving the hands of a clock – think it’s supposed to illustrate the banality of the life of the proles in relation to the city.. well i felt like that anyway but the outcome is more than worth it (please dont rain…..)