Environment, Social Policies, Economics

Sit down and breathe to be continued..

I SUGGEST WE ALL TAKE SOME TIME TO MAKE SPACE TO SIT DOWN AND BREATH IN, WE ARE ALL IN FOR THE LONG HAUL. As a perspective,

I now add this to establish who I am and why I am writing this it is to help) If you have read it before, you can leave it)

Born in a council house, with two other sisters older than myself. A great source of added information, we were all born 5 years apart. How my parents achieved that I am not sure, and not something you ask your parents! Only I remember is my Dad saying if you cannot afford children don’t have them! have them! A bit harsh! But my parents were born in 1923. Way before so many things we now take for granted including contraception, it was more about will power back then.

So I went to school, did well, left at 16 years started work, moved to London. Met husband, married divorced 15 years later. Had my first breakdown, became a single mum, my daughter also left home at sixteen which again did nothing for my mental health. Drinking became my solace and smoking another sin).

I move to this house have now been living here for over 30 years. Within that time and over a 9-year period. I lost one partner, in a motorcycle accident, two parents from old age, and two brothers-in-law, (who were like brothers to me) both dying before their allotted time. I had not recovered from my mental health issues or my drinking problems at that time, and so the vicious cycle of depression, stress and anxiety progressed.

Now? I am probably as well as I can be. Still smoke, still drink, and live happily within my own company. I returned to Higher Education at 55. I am now 68. My life is my life. My house is my home. We are all different as individuals. Our houses are individual. Therefore anything,  I put out is a small thing relevant to some, totally irrelevant to others.

I get weary as many must be at this moment in time. At the end of this month in UK clocks go back, whilst in Australia they are looking forward to Christmas and a BBQ on the beach. Therefore: we are all individual in country as well our homes.

We know what is ahead with our gas and electricity bills, everything is going to rise so I hope some if not all the suggestions I refer to here may assist. A bit of a story, about my life spanning nearly 70 years. With an understanding, my mother was progressive, I am progressive. I was born in a council house early 1950’s, too young in 1954 to remember the end of rationing. Only aware that my mother must have been elated with its ending. Prior to that, restrains of movement, restraints on food the war the bombings the deaths must have felt there was no end.

I personally feel that we as a nation are back there, different circumstances entirely. But it was 61 years after WWII that Britain finally paid off loans accrued to the USA and Canada.

That is painful. As one ages, one experiences the ups and downs, the roller coaster of life.) Nothing in my lifetime has exceeded what confronts us. But to go back into far, history, can assist in small amounts. I intend to contain as much as possible to my lifetime, now spanning nearly 70 years. And agree with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the same as my mother said to me, age? It is what you feel).

The future does lie with the young. But as a mum I am also aware the young generally do not want in this country to listen to the old. Whilst in other countries, respect remains for the elders. We went from talking with each other to making written down laws. Can anyone tell me? (because I am still happy to learn): Where did written law supersede word of mouth? Its seems to have started with cave drawings.

The law of nature outspans that of human law, killing animals for food was accepted. Where killing a human is not……..nor ever should be.

When, I put pen to paper or finger to qwerty I feel sometimes I should put up a CV. My life, like my nature has been full of variety. But feel sure if you follow these pages you will get the gist. In terms of properties, I have lived in obviously the home I grew up in during 50’s and 60’s, then the inevitable bedsits, four years various guest houses then a marital flat, followed by a marital house, 15 years later where I live now. I appreciate with life an increasing family desires to move or necessities to move become relevant. Yet when you stop and stay, the property you live in, with time shows up all its idiosyncrasies.

I have now been here some 30 years. And though I have always managed, these latest shocks that are reverberating through our economy, have concerned me.

I truly do appreciate that my words (whilst I hope they will not fall on deaf ears) when in the depths of despair? and what the hell will be thrown in my direction next happens?

That, all will grab hold of this piece of advice. DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP, DON’T BEAT UP YOUR PARTNER AND DO NOT BEAT UP YOUR KIDS. Mentally and certainly not physically, times are tough for many.With life as it is at present, everyone is stressing. We have two options; Go further into the depths of dispondence or slowly and surely. Look to your environment, look within your home for solutions, they maybe minute, one action, alone seemingly futile, and all I can suggest is trust. Those small actions added together especially regarding utility costs do add up.

Just take one day at a time, one action at a time. With my perspective of what Sustainability is, you may just be surprised and surprise yourself. As i ramble with my writings you will be rambling through my house, my life and I sincerely hope some will be of use,

In this specific situation, we are talking swings and round abouts. One action negating the action of another. And thereby cost. Last Christmas 2020 was particularly difficult, in fact the whole of the last 18 months has been difficult and we must all accept, next year will probably be know easier.

We now have but a few weeks and months to adjust further before we bring in the New Year and it will be as we progress into 2022 that the full affect of government policies those we know, those we are not aware of as yet will truly take a bite. Covid lockdowns, gave us a taste. And please remember my ethos. Environment 1st, then Social policy, then economics, but above all Covid is a part of nature, however it came about.

INTERJECTION: It is Saturday, 23 October 2021 a week to the hour change and I hope some have tried to prep dinner in daylight hours even if you cook when it is dark. I just realised than I fancied chips tonight, I have a faulty food processor which sometimes obliges and sometimes refuses. But did not realise as is the norm until I attempted to use it and had tried to reshape the potato to go into funnel to chop it! 

I absolutely loathe chip friers of any description. In my time far too many close shaves). But I am out of oven chips plus my 3 year old oven (Not impressed Bosch, but at least one environmentally friendly thing : when I get around to doing it! Should by law be able to buy a part now.)~

Again, a little, if an annoying thing; has ejected its seal. I always have fresh potatoes in the house. But in truth with no distractions, no young children or partner, reverting to a chip pan (in my case a wide based wok) if I do as my mum taught me, to watch the pan and the chips constantly, on the back burner, handle away from edge and telling her when they were brown, I would probably have been around 8 or 9 before trusted.

So, I dropped the fangle of the food processor no leccy to use, just a sharp knife and person power, using now the bowl to keep chips from discolouring, by adding water. And that is where my fear of chip frying comes from, water and hot fat do not mix, nor in my opinion do chip fat fryers where condensation forms under the lid.

With a big family to feed, yes safest use oven chips, yet again oven chips are cheap enough, but add the cost of heating the oven, make sure the accompanying food can be cooked in the oven as well. As a single person actually I was just being lazy, as I thought , yet life in my house stopped me).

WITHOUT A FIRE ALARM? FIND THE LOCAL NUMBER FOR YOUR FIREBRIGADE AND ASK IF THEY WILL FIT THEM FOR YOU. MOST I THINK YOU WILL FIND DO, AND AS FOR OUR BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN IN THE FIRE SERVICE, THAT IS PREFERABLE TO NORMAL DUTIES. I AM GETTING HUNGRY, TIME TO DRY OFF THE CHIPS AND THINK OF FOOD IN MY BELLY) TO BE CONTINUED…….

IF YOU THINK ENVIRONMENT FIRST, YOU CAN SAVE AND HELP SAVE PLANET

OVER THE YEARS I HAVE LEARNED

Frequently that you either have money and no time or time and no money. When I worked; I worked hard, three careers particularly come to mind catering (married, no child) supermarket worker (single with a daughter) and as a care work (single, daughter had left to be with her father), all frequently took me into 13 hour shifts or longer.

Covid has taught us all a lot. Covid to me means I do and can empathise. When ill;, please remember those five family members lost over a nine-year period. I just about got my head together when another loss, sent my mind reeling. An during those episodes, I went from well paid to un-paid and relied upon benefits. Please understand I am not looking for sympathy.

Always I refer to the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. The first time I encountered it, was when caring, it had been lovingly recreated in tapestry, by a lady with whom I had a great deal of respect. And on dark days provided me with inspiration I would recommend it to anyone. But let’s get back to small actions saving money and this planet of ours plus.

My damned Food Processor that decided today not to chip my potato. Had I not even attempted the lazy way, I would have used a knife, peeled it, cut it, job done. Knife into washing up bowl, all manually achieved. And in truth I certainly had the time, I just did not want to use that time. I was writing, but no excuse.

By using the processor, I would initially incur electricity, and a lot more water to wash the thing up. Therefore, two utility bills are increased. Had I set out to prepare the meal after dark there would have had to be a top light on in the kitchen, and if I had not used the top light, A&E would probably have been the next expense))).

Frozen oven chips are cheap enough, bar the use of the oven, unless as already suggested you use the oven to full capacity, cooking whatever is going to go with the chips at the same time. Let’s go with frozen pizza, both require high temperatures frequently at the same temperature even if the cooking times vary. Pizza can also be purchased at extremely good value for money.

The oven will usually take between 10/15 mins to reach full heat.

Sustainability Alert  You have the following ingredients to put up your utility bills. Oven, chips, pizza. Plus the cost to planet non- sustainable plastic packaging for chips, not optional, and when I last bought a pizza which was many moons ago  (But doubt the wrappers have changed that divide them in the cardboard box, a type of cellophane, usually non-recyclable.

I would be last to deny a takeaway is lovely, no cooking no washing up, just chuck it in the bin, I would be a total hypocrite if I wrote otherwise. Plus returning to covid and lockdowns, we cannot question the devastation that caused to livelihoods and the catering industry across the board.

Yet we were at home we did return to cooking, even if with no other option). Like so many subjects you can make cookery as simple as you want or as complicated as you feel confident with. Every child should have the basics of education in life. The three are Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, the 3 R’s. With cooking you need just two, to read a recipe and weigh out ingredient.

I went online tonight not to buy a pizza just to see what one well-known pizza chain wanted for there basic, small portion/personal size would cost £10. Specials for Gluten free or Vegan £4 more. Now please, oh please! Food waste, when hungry, our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs, I hope we agree.

Yes cold pizza next day is an option. If I buy a Chinese in one delivery I split it and freeze the other. Curry, now I do like that cold next day. But genuinely???? Be honest how much do you waste both in food and money, especially if you jump in the car to get it?

I so wish at this moment in time there was a boffin that could work out an equation for carbon footprint over cost multiplied by landfill x food waste etc etc divide by the cost to the planet and household bills) Far too complicated and beyond comprehension. Let’s not get indigestion. Especially over a pizza with no sides)f So, what do we do? The kids are demanding food? They want a pizza, you got home after a hard day’s work and were not expecting their desire, therefore not going to get anything, money is short. Well we scrap all the above options.

And make a British pizza . Two ways exist, if now as many do you work from home or are now altering your Helter Skelter life, working just as hard at home as at work but balancing life style.

Pizza dough when made can be refrigerated or frozen. Basics are usually available obvious one is cheese. Fresh tomatoes not in season use tinned. Toppings? Pepperani are good, want a hawaian tinned pineapple ham use imagination.

First teach children patience, over the years my experience is even if you arrange to mind kiddiwinks or even big kids. When you walk in the door they are all like a nest of bluetit chicks in a nest) all demanding attention. Do not let them hassle you,either get them to make you a cuppa or insist you have one first. Then ask how their day went, it starts a conversation. Never expect the family and this cross gender, that your nest of chicks will ask you! secondly teach them to prepare if not cook.

Thirdly, give them food. British Pizza is so simple. Thick sliced bread (preferably brown) but do not worry if they will only eat white. Fresh tomatoes if in season sliced, tinned chopped if not. Tomato puree. And cheese grated. Teach them to grate the cheese and open a tin, and teach them how to put on the grill. And put one slice per person under the grill to crisp up, melba toast style not burnt. You breathe.

You know instinctively how much the children will eat. Start with one slice for each child. Toast the bread lightly on both sides. Spread a thin layer of tomato puree or passata on the bread, then drain tinned or slice fresh toms, cover with grated cheese add any toppings and grill.

A grill will take 10 minutes max to heat up, use half the power of the oven, and everything you need are basics already in your possession.

British Pizza is basically cheese and tomato on toast with additional topping). It is just one of many things where a re-think, a bit of space and time can be accomplished with out breaking either the bank or the planet.