Expert on green living I am not!

But the futre of the planet is still in our hands

I have just had the good fortune or should that be misfortune of trying to calculate my carbon footprint online! After completing my fifth or so survey this evening I am none the wiser as to whether the results are good or bad. I’ve done one by the World Wildlife Fund, United Nations and one called CoolClimate Calculator to name but a few. There are things I know I do that are good like getting my electricity on what is called an “Octopus super green tariff” which uses green energy measures for my electricity and carbon offsets my gas usage. Also not owning a car or a pet even and using public transport, but there are things I do that don’t help such as eating meat, purchasing goods (or should that be bads) from Amazon and flying to Dublin last year. So on the eco tour of my life choice journey it’s kind of a swings and roundabouts ride or snakes and ladders game you might say but hopefully and mostly going in the rightly sourced direction!

I do think that it’s important to try to be ethical and think about the environment consequences of what we do, thoughtful with what we consume both purchases for our homes, body and charitable donations to others too!

But it’s not that easy to work out what you need, want or don’t need or don’t want. Or know how to buy something ethically or unethically. I can shop locally for food my favourite baker on the Quayside near me is selling great fresh bread and locally sourced milk, but when I go in there one of my main problem is also not buying there delicious cakes, ummm cakes!!

Here is one someone made earlier

One of my biggest purchases last year (in size and cost) was no not a cake! But to invest in a new bed my last one was knackered with rusty springs, rusty springs I tell you. Well in need of replacement even before the pandemic started but the bed firms stopped doing disposal and recycling of old beds during the covid-19 lockdowns so it was very difficult trying to sort out getting a new bed while sorting out the departure of the old one. But how do I know what is an ethically sourced bed or not.

Out with the old and sleeping on the new

I bought the bed from a local store of a national chain of stores that had a shop in Exeter, because I do like to support stores with a local base when I can and when I know what I am purchasing, but I have no idea if it was an environmentally friendly or unfriendly purchase.

I think we just need to be mindful of what we are doing and purchasing and why at all times as the little consumers that we are, I have just remembered a phrase my Grandpa used to say about having or buying something which was ‘it’s only a bargain if you actually need it’.

So maybe I can’t be the most ethically sourced consumer on the planet but what I can do is not be frivolous with the time, money and resources that I do have at my disposal.

Villagers – Set the Tigers Free

I hope you are healthy and safe in 2022

I also hope this NYE message finds you in good heart and spirit. I have just finished doing a little home working trying to clear the work email inbox a little so there is less to do on our first day back in the office in the new year.

Things are quite on my street in my city at the moment. I am trying to psych myself up to go out tonight or decide whether I want to a NYE evening sat at home or in a local bar.

The last two years I don’t think I even had a choice as was ill 2 years ago and under a lockdown last year. So I think I will go out for a change.

I think if there is going to be a lockdown of sorts in England or changes to the present restrictions or lack of them, they will probably get announced next week. So tonight could be the last chance in a while to be out on the streets of Exeter of an evening to rish catching Covid-19!

A few pubs in Exeter have closed due to Covid-19 being caught by staff and then not having enough staff to open up their premises and so just like everywhere else covid-19 is doing the rounds here too.

Best wishes and love to you and yours and I hope 2022 is prosperous and happily eventful for you and those that you love

Huw

This suits me well!
The Parting Glass – Cara Dillon

A Covid-19 Christmas & the Winter Flues

Well since I have returned from Ireland the new Covid-19 variant seems to be travelling through to new countries and lighting up warning lights of all those across the globe that it seems to comes into contact with. There seems to be an attempt in the UK to resist the locking down of society until we have spent enough festive season money in order to give our retailers and leisure industries enough time to make enough cash to still hopefully be in a position to remain viable business even if the economy needs to lockdown again in the new year.

You hear on the news, health professionals advising us to get another jab of the antivirus, work from home and wear masks and reduce mixing in public and they also advocate the introduction of further lockdowns in order to reduce the spread of covid-19 and reduce the pressure on our health services and reduce the risk of death for citizens.

But it seems a little mad to type, let alone contemplate an opposite to a health professionals view but you have others on the opposite side of the health advocacy spectrum saying continue to go to work, party and buy presents. Because if we don’t we might risk the collapse of our economies which would result in even greater suffering and potential lose of livelihoods and lives.

I hope that there is some kind of middle ground rather than a crash and learn approach which seems very popular by UK government politicians. I think we should already have some kind of covid-19 passports and proof of covid-19 status in place as they have in Ireland for when entering hospitality venues. Ireland is very much more restrictive than the UK. I believe they have now implemented bars being closed and people out of them by midnight. Table service for no more than six people.

We do need to learn to live with covid-19 but at what cost to our economy and/or health is still to be measured. I have yet to have a booster jab and I know as I am in a vulnerable group I need to book one in at some time in the next month or two. But I feel very guilty for the luxury afforded to me living in a modern rich county on how I am pampered with covid-19 jabs and it feels slightly sickening to be being offered my third when many people in poorer countries have yet to even be offered their first chance of having a jab.

Also many on those counties have no access to healthcare services to find out if they have covid-19 let alone getting treatmetn for covid-19 and even if they could find out if they have it might have to continue working with it for risk of losing a job or having a job that if they don’t work they don’t eat. It also feels like these are all fixable situations buy wealthier nations make a calculated choice to not to help others with as much help as they could or should.

The wealthy nations or the world that I happen to live in one of are in no way free nations, when it comes to poorer nations, they are not free to trade with us as equals or to travel to us as tourists, or live amongst us as equals. They are not able to have free access to the medical benefits and advancements that we have, and they certainly don’t have as much stability in their lives as we are blessed to have due to the place we were born into not due to the people we are made up from.  

I fear if covid-19 sticks around in the long term, it will just be used as another economic statistic to prove how great wealthy countries are compared to poorer nations that will be made to suffer greater under its rain of infectious terror.

COVID-19 Outbreak World Map Total Deaths per Capita

Gabrielle Aplin – Happy Xmas (War is Over)

Trip to Dublin in Ireland

Just come back from a wonderful visit to Dublin in Ireland. This visit has been booked and planned for since July. We stayed on the other side of the river from the Temple Bar pictured above.

Memorial to Lead singer of Thin Lizzy – Philip P Lynott

Managed to do some sightseeing, and visited the Guinness Brewery. Listened to lots of live music in a few bars or from buskers on the street, tasted some of the local cuisine and drank some world-famous Guinness as well as some local beers too.

My pint from the Gravity Bar at the top of the Guinness brewery building

I travelled over with a friend called Matt and the last time we were both able to go to Ireland at the same time was about 20 years ago so it was a great opportunity for us both to go there again.

View from the Gravity Bar at Guinness Factory

Due to Covid-19 restrictions in bars and restaurants I think it was also just as well that there were not to many of us going at once. Table service was taking places in most bars and restaurants and it was easier for them to find a table for the two of us instead of a big group.

Guinness mascot the Toucan

The above photo is of some of the collection of Guinness marketing memorabilia taken from inside the Guinness factrory tour that we went on.

I really was hoping that the world was getting used to managing the Covid-19 pandemic by now, but with the new variant now blowing up and daily announcements getting worse and worse while we were in Ireland it was a little unsettling at times to be away from home.

It really is a treat to travel and I am so glad we were able to go and make memories and take a few photos, but being back home safe and well is also something to be savoured.

One of Dublins own bands – Thin Lizzy with Whiskey In The Jar

Moving They Keep On Moving!

Well a lot has happened since I last wrote in this space. Parents are both packing up all there belongings into boxes in their separate homes. Mum is moving back to Devon and Dad decided that he would move out of his bungalow into a new flat too. Who knew the stress of moving could be so much fun, no really who does know about the stress of moving as it is no fun and it’s not even me doing the move.

I thought the whole point of moving was to go to a place that you actually want to live, not just a pit stop along the race track of life. I’m very lucky in that I have a lovely flat and although it’s not my own the rental property is secure and the amount I pay is low, so I will stay here for as long as I can.  

I started trying to help my Dad move into his new place and pack a few boxes last Friday I travelled out from Exeter to Crediton. My only problem was I had picked up a cold probably from work and my voice box had packed up on me so had to screech my destination to the driver on each bus I was travelling on. I did not feel too unwell but my voice box was knackered. I took a Covid-19 rapid flow test to just to be sure I had not picked up Covid-19 and that came back as me being in the clear.

I then spent much of my weekend back in my lovely warm flat sleeping off my cold non covid-19 lurgy until this morning when I needed to join my Dad again for the actual moving out of property day to help direct the removal men to which box was going in which room in the new flat. This went well, and I feel a lot better in myself now and less worried for my Dad so I hope he settles into his new home.

Mother on the other hand although has sold her old home and bought a new one to move into will be moving into rented accommodation in December or January as the property that she is moving into will not be finished until June.

So that moving thing will be going on twice for her and no doubt I will have something to do with some parts of her move too. On the plus side the property she has bought to move into in June is a lovely house in a lovely village.

One thing over the weekend that kept on making me think my illness can’t be Covid-19 was that I did not lose my sense of taste although with everything happening all at the same time I do have to report I did lose my sense of humour, though I am pleased to report is coming back again now.

Supergrass – Moving

Invasion of the page snatcher!

At the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic there was for some very strange reason a run on buying toilet paper and just the mention of the run on toilet paper and potential shortages due to panic buying made people buy even more causing even more shortages. Well to add fuel to the fire this time its petrol stations on the shortage list for a number of economic and headline grabbing reasons.

While not owning a car and being fortunate enough not to have a relative or friend needing life saving medication or nursing treatment at this particular moment in time this so called crisis has not affected me yet. I did a food shop with Sainsbury’s and for a change even managed to get everything that I wanted and needed too.

I thought to myself on the way home today that those that can profit from such times as these will thrive and those that can’t will suffer, such is the way of things. Although to suffer through no fault of your own in such times hardly feels fair or just.

Work, health and happiness

Lots happening and finally picked up a bit of my own advice coming back to me today after I had said it to someone else when looking to support them, I think I find it easier to give advice than I do take it even when it’s my own!

Two weeks ago today I woke up in the middle of the night with a fever and feeling hot in my bed but cold as soon as I took my sheets off and all-round not feeling great. I feared I might have the first signs of covid-19 and so called to get some advice whether I needed to take a test and if so how I got about getting one. With not driving I could not just simply drive to a test centre and you don’t exactly want to jump in a car and get a lift while potentially infected or hop on a bus. By the morning I was already feeling better but still concerned not to take any potential illness into my workplace. So I took a rapid covid-19 test that I picked up at a pharmacy which brought back a negative covid=19 test. My local doctor also advised me then to take a Covid PCR test which meant they posted it to me on Thursday, it arrived with me on Friday and I posted back to the test centre on Friday and got my negative test back Saturday. It really was a superfast free service.

So no need to self isolate and covid-19 scare passed. That weekend I also submitted a job application for a job at my local council in the same team that I work in. I am looking for a chance to develop and grow and also being run down by a lot of negativity and complaints that we are dealing with over the phones. People often phone the council assuming that as they pay taxes the council is responsible for solving any or all problems that they might have.

The new job would have involved working with improving people’s homes and doing disability and environmental adaption’s to help people live in their own homes. It felt more project focused rewarding and plannable rather than the reactive work that I am doing now. I worry that I am still after 20 years of working still trapped as an admin assistant answering phones and spelling things that I type wrong and not able to escape that type of work.

So I found out this morning that after my interview yesterday that I am still an admin ass rather that a project pro. I worked from home today so just dealt with my own demons in my mind and members of the public over the phone. But for those staff that I did speak to in the office where very kind and hugely supportive, which reminds me why I like working there in the first place. Working in an environmental health setting during a pandemic really has been an unforgettable experience. The people I work with are great; we all have days that go well as well as those that don’t do so well. There is a certain type of dark humour that goes with the territory of the work but it’s more for me about finding humour in the moment and in no way laughing at people but laughing with them. If you did not laugh you would cry sometimes.  

My advice is or was, don’t take things to personally when someone is venting at you about something that is not your fault. Don’t build up your own problems all into one big bundle of pain, but take them on in bite sized chunks that you are more likely to be able to digest rather than them instead eating you up and spitting you out. Fianlly be greatful and thankful for what you have for many have nothing at all.   

Moby – Natural Blues

Taking a little time out

Well I am just coming to the end of a week off work, had an eclectic mix of things that I have done, went and caught up with some friends that I have not seen in over a year at a barbeque I made time to sort my home out a little too, taking out some stuff to the recycling centre and also some charity donations to the Oxfam shop.

Also made time to go to a friend’s birthday which was a great quite night in a local bar on a Monday where said friend was running around in a dinosaur suit, I have not laughed that much in a long time, a good night was had by all.  

Kyle’s Birthday Suit!

So I will be back in work tomorrow and a little nervous because I am so darn tired today and have not left the flat since Thursday. I have no idea why I am so darn tired. It’s been a great week though.

I have not lost any weight this week though but I think that is down to the drinking of Guinness on a couple of nights out and also eating larger meal sizes than I have been used to of late. I did not put any weight on also which is good.

Still in two minds presently about the unlocking of lockdown, it’s lovely for us all to be catching up with people we have not seen for a long time and also be just around people in general. But you just hope that the vaccines continue to work their magic and we get on top of the virus in the long term.

2nd Covid-19 jab done & how I feel about that

I had my second Covid-19 jab over the weekend all went well and no ill effects from my second oxford astrazeneca vaccine injection. I am incredibly grateful to the NHS staff and volunteers that have helped deliver millions of vaccinations in the UK and covered over 50% of the adult population with 2 injections now

So I have my little NHS Covid-19 card with my name spelt wrong on it, to say that Hugh has had his 2 jabs done now so I will keep his card safe for him just in case he needs it back.

In the last 24 hours in the UK there have been no Covid-19 related deaths for the first time since March 7, 2020. Which is really good news, it hopefully shows that vaccines are working, the latest lockdown worked and the unlocking of lockdown is not resulting in increased deaths. But you just really have to be mindful of other variants and their future impact on all societies.

I feel a little strange at the moment like the calm after a storm that I am still not 100% sure is over yet. I still remember some of the good and bad times from last year, the light and dark moments and still think did that really just happen. It’s such a weird time to live through.

I know I have been told throughout my life by peoples whose views I respect and cherish that I can over think things, so maybe it’s just one of those over thinking times. I do like over thinking, as I do like to over think positively too. To be grateful for what I have more so than I am fearful for what I do not. To be happy for what has happened to me rather than sad about what has not.

I am definitely a glass half full person rather than a glass half empty person and even if a glass is less than half full well the fact that it still has something left in it has to be a bonus right!

I hope your glass is half full from where ever you are reading this and you feeling good today.

Gabrielle Aplin singing How Do You Feel Today

Your Coronavirus Pandemic 1 Year on

On 11th March 2020 the world health organisation announced that COVID-19 could be characterized as a pandemic and that a pandemic was not a word to be used lightly.

The early stages of the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns were hard on many people, in different ways, unemployment, families trying to live, work and study under one roof or individuals having to rely on themselves and draw on their own resilience resources to adapt and absorb the enormity of the situation. There were also many other challenges severely affected the mental well-being of many people around the world and yet here we are, a year on.

It’s a tough subject to write about and one which we are all effected by on daily basis in our own uniquely uncomfortable way. It’s possible to feel both guilt for the good things that have happened as well as joy or remorse for the bad things that have happened and yet relief for the bad things that have not happened too, all in one blink of an eye on a reflection of range emotions and issues.

I do also wonder what would have happened politically, socially and environmentally to our streets, towns, cities, countries and planet had no pandemic occurred and life had continued to race on at its break neck speed into potential oblivion.

It feels like the brakes have been put on a runaway train of consumer capitalism that was our everyday race for life and although consumer capitalism is still very much our way of life and affords us to live, can we now appreciate what we have a little more and aspire to protect and value the sanctity of life in a new found appreciation of what we have and what we hold dear to us. Essential workers can finally feel that well for want of a better word they are essential to the fabric of human life and society.

Who would have thought 12 months ago that to stack a shelf in grocers store was a means to help feed a nation. If I had my way I would give all essential workers and minimum waged workers a huge pay increase not as a thank you but as an acknowledgment to the role they play in a society and economy. This would enable workers to be able to afford to keep an adequate roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. The money that the low paid earn is ploughed straight back into the economy because unlike the wealthy they don’t have the luxury of saving wealth you simply spend to live.

You could tax pollutants such as fossil fuels like they were industries equivalents to humans smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol. You could also create a new digital economy type of VAT where everything bought online had a Digital value deducted tax. It would cause prices to increase but if people are earning more this would still balance out.

Well look at that not been in a pub or had a drink of alcohol for what must be over 3 months and still getting drunk on ideas and trying to put the world to rights. Roll on the open of those bars again so I can go in and start to have a conversation about ideas like this and pretend it is because I am drunk again!   

Massive Attack – Teardrop