Friday, 24 September 2021
Thursday, 23 September 2021
- Change building regulations so that all new builds have the latest version of photovoltaic cells on their roof (which are 3x more efficient than the originals). Every new house should also be built with a small S-shaped wind turbine, while blocks of flats/offices and business parks should have at least one large wind turbine. All new builds need to have off-street parking - say, one space per bedroom - with vehicle recharging points incorporated therein.
- All Government paper products should be made from recycled paper, whether it’s toilet paper purchased for use in a hospital or a leaflet to be distributed to the general population. Lead by example.
- Government procurement has long been driven by price. Instead, the first factor to consider should be carbon footprint. If xx costs a few pence more but is made locally, then that should be purchased instead of shipping it in from China.
- Ban the use of insecticides on state-owned land. Organic practices only. (I will permit weed-killers because some invasive species of weed just won’t die without them.)
- Invest in hydrogen technology and have all Government vehicles hydrogen powered. Batteries can’t power everything and their creation/recycling generates a massive amount of pollution. Battery powered lorries/trucks are impractical (very heavy) and battery powered vehicles can’t tow.
- Ban the shipping of recycling abroad. Specifically plastics should be recycled “in country”. Many British councils ship their plastic recycling abroad, where it is found years later, breaking down on a rubbish dump somewhere and hasn’t been recycled. This is a waste of resources, waste of shipping miles and creates another type of pollution problem..
- Where available, I buy recycled paper products (toilet paper, kitchen towel). Everyone should. Save virgin paper for books.
- I’ll wash and re-use the plastic bags that bread/bagels comes in, before eventually recycling them.
- Most of my clothes are bought to last, making me a follower of “slow fashion” and they get worn to death. I look for classic designs, made from natural fibres. (Today, I’m wearing hand knitted socks, a pair of jeans bought in 2018, a t-shirt purchased in 2003 and a cashmere cardigan purchased in 2019. My bra is 5 or 6 years old and my knickers about the same.)
- When I can buy clothing secondhand, I will. Three of my work suits come from charity shops, as do several t-shirts and my sheepskin jacket. (I nearly bought another suit from a charity shop yesterday but the jacket was too tight.)
- When I do buy new clothes, where possible I buy natural fibres and wear those clothes until they die. (I’d rather be considered classic than fashionable.)
- Make the best of what I have for as long as it lasts. For example, my iPhone is 5 years old. I won’t consider changing it until Apple stop updating the IOS. Why should I? It does everything that I want it to do and, last night, updated to IOS 15, guaranteeing me at least another year of use.
- Buy smart. I don’t buy something because it’s the latest widget; I buy it because it fulfils multiple purposes and does exactly what I want. This saves money as well as resources. It doesn’t matter if it’s clothes, a kitchen widgets or IT kit. If it doesn’t do what you want it to do, you’ll never use it and/or you end up replacing it three times.
- Years before electric vehicles were readily available, I went for a car that was fuel efficient, had good build quality and a low carbon footprint. (When Lucky dies, he’ll probably be replaced by a hybrid. Meanwhile, I’ll keep him running for as long as possible. Pollution isn’t just about carbon; it’s about the other components he’s made from, too.)
- With the exception of weed killer, I garden organically. (I’ll only use weed killer if the weed burner fails.)
- Buy local. Consider where something is grown and/or where it’s made. Most of the yarn I’ve purchased over the last 10 years was grown and spun in the UK. Prior to the Pandemic, my veg came from a local farmer’s farm shop. He also sold me eggs from his mate’s farm, about 5 miles away. (Sadly, they closed due to the Pandemic.)
- Grow/make your own. Not only will you appreciate it more, it cuts the carbon footprint. There is nothing nicer than a just-harvested potato.
- Avoid buying food that is heavily processed. Not only will your body thank you; all those “e-numbers” are chemical additives that have to be manufactured.
- If you eat meat, then eat the whole animal, offal included. Anything less is wasteful. There is more to a chicken than just chicken breast fillets! Don’t like liver? Do you eat pate? Well, that’s liver. Get over it. Personally, I love Haggis but many people shy away from it because it’s made from offal. They’ll eat that offal when it’s in boring, supermarket sausages, but not in something as nice as Haggis.
- Do the passive things that will cut your carbon footprint. Compost your vegetable peelings and grass cuttings. Wash your laundry in cold water and air dry it. (We do. We don’t own a dryer.). Walk to the shops, instead of driving. (We walk the 1.5 miles to our local Lidl and lug our shopping home in backpacks.). Use public transport where practical. (Nobody in their right mind would drive into central London.)
Tuesday, 21 September 2021
You can see that they’re related. The third sock yarn, used on the feet, was from these socks:
Monday, 30 August 2021
Anyway, I had 20g left of the blue and 35g of the grey. I’ve been itching to use it up. My standard socks use 63g-65g of 4-ply. Since I only had 55g, I thought that, if I shortened the leg by 15 rows, did the cuffs, heels and toes in the grey, then alternated between the two colours row-by-row, I should have enough to make another pair of socks. I’ve just started the toe of the first sock. It’s not gone according to plan. I began getting worried about the quantity of the blue, so stopped using it 15 rows into the gusset. (There’s 10g left.) Ten rows into the foot, I started panicking about the grey...
Rummaging through the stash, I found the unlabelled end of another grey/black/white shaded sock yarn - maybe 5g - and alternated rows with that for 24 rounds. I think I’ve got enough to do the same on the second sock, but I won’t know for certain until I finish the toe on the first one and can weigh everything.
Wish me luck.
- Pip (Hopefully I’ll be able to share photos at some point.)
Tuesday, 27 April 2021
Do you think that I could find the recipe mentioned earlier? No. These jars remained unopened, in the pantry, for years. Fast forward to the end of last year when, in a fit of inspiration, I decided to search the internet again for a pumpkin bread recipe. On someone’s blog, I found a picture of a recipe, cut from an ancient magazine. Oddly, they didn’t give directions, just the photo.
(Sadly, while I saved a copy of the photo, I didn’t make a note of whose blog or I’d credit them.)
1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- The day before, prepare your butternut squash:-
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Cut it in half lengthwise. DO NOT PEEL.
- Scoop out the seeds and discard them.
- Place the squash, cut side down, onto a baking tray and bake for an hour.
- Allow to cool before removing from the tray.
- Once cold, use a spoon to scoop out the pulp. Deposit it into a bowl and weigh it. The original recipe requires a 440g can, but I’ve made it with 450g, 350g and with 530g of pulp. All three versions have been successful.
Saturday, 20 March 2021
It's a year on Tuesday (23rd March), since Britain first went into full Lockdown in the fight against COVID-19. The television is full of it this morning, which got me thinking... What have I done differently, since we went into Lockdown? There are a lot of things that I did before, that many people have adopted during this time (cooking from scratch, baking, knitting, etc), but here are a few things that I do now, that I didn't habitually do before Lockdown:-
What about you? What are you doing differently since you went into Lockdown?
Sunday, 7 February 2021
How’re is your February going? Are you coping with the bad weather, the never-ending Lockdown and the inevitable tightening of belts? I’ve always found February to be a tougher month, financially, than January. In January, you run out of cash early because you were paid before Christmas and end up in debt/overdue on payments; February is when those debts have to be paid back. (You may remember me mentioning that tough February 30 years ago, when Dumbo left me with little more £20 to get through the month. It was the inspiration for several years of the “£50 February Challenge”.)
We went to the Butchers’ yesterday, spending £55.70 from the Meat Fund. Since our meat shopping is all about getting the biggest bang for our buck, I thought I’d share what we bought, what the plans are for it and how many portions we’ll get. The butcher doesn’t do an itemised bill, so I’m only recording prices where I saw them and can remember them. Remember, there’s only two of us in this household.
- 1 large roasting chicken - £7.99 - dinner tonight (we’ll eat the legs), chicken fajitas on Tuesday and chicken risotto on Wednesday. That’s at least 10 portions, plus stock.
- 1kg minced beef - at least 16 portions when padded out with veg, lentils/beans, etc
- 1 rolled, stuffed, boned breast of lamb 1.2kg - £13.60 - minimum of 4 portions of roast lamb. The butcher cut it in half for us, so we have two roasts.
- 8 chicken breasts, average weight 200g each - between 16 to 32 portions, depending on whether I double up in a recipe. I usually only use one in a stir fry or chicken pasta dish that serves 4.
- 8 large chicken thighs - 8 portions of chicken tray bake.
- 4 pork chops - two will definitely be served as chops, while the other two may get chopped up to make pork-and-beans and a stir-fry. Either 4 or 10 portions, depending on the outcome.
That’s between 54 and 80 portions of meat-based meals. As I said, it’s all about getting the biggest bang for our meat-buck.
With the exception of tonight’s roasting chicken, I have just finished shoehorning it all into the freezer. Everything has been “bagged and tagged”. I had to do it in stages to maximise space/freeze things in shapes that will stack and fit together, especially since the freezer was pretty full already with lunchboxes, tubs of soup/cooked pulses/homemade ready meals and sauces, not to mention the haggis that threatens to leap out at you... The mince was divided into 4 and carefully stuffed into freezer box to form 4 rectangles. The chicken breasts and chops were bagged separately and frozen to be as flat as possible. The chicken thighs were bagged in fours, while the lamb was stood on its end, to freeze upright.
As you can see, once again, I win at freezer Tetris.