Archive for November, 2011

Recently, Shropshire Council announced that residents would no longer be able to include cardboard in their garden waste bin as it could no longer be used in the formation of compost (there’s now a perceived problem with contamination from the inks and dyes, which is fair enough).  Now a campaigner has forced the Council to open up a debate on this issue after collecting over 1,000 signatures for his petition.  (See links attached.)  As he points out, some Local Authorities in Shropshire (Telford for instance, whose jurisdiction we fall under) separately recycle cardboard – presumably (I guess?) to make more cardboard.

Leaving aside my desire to get on my soap box about the term ‘garden waste’ [in my view, there shouldn’t be any – get a compost heap!  Even better, get three compost heaps!], remember recycling is the last option – after ‘reduce’ and ‘reuse’.  In our household, much of our cardboard ends up being used this time of year to help start the log burner off (I appreciate burning it has its own environmental issues, but if you have to use something to light your fires, it may as well be something you’re going to throw out anyway!).  And I’m guessing that currently there are no EU regulations banning a householder putting cardboard in their own compost.

Let’s hope Shropshire Council can implement the same collection facilities as Telford and Wrekin – after all, it seems to work for us.  In the meantime, we’ll be burning much of ours.


Community spirit

It’s the little things which make you smile.  I love living in a rural community where you can put produce outside your gate, and leave an honesty box without fear of someone stealing it.  But I really love it when people who walk past the gate frequently see I might be running low on egg boxes, so they just leave me some.  It’s so kind and thoughtful.  I don’t know if they’re always customers, or just passers-by who want to usefully recycle their egg boxes, but whichever it is, I’d just like to say thank you to them.  I really appreciate it.

I’ve just been sent the following set of PowerPoint slides which you may have already seen doing the rounds on email. 

It gives some interesting examples of instances where promising alternative car engine technology seems to have been brought to a halt before having the chance to be fully explored.  If this information is true, it’s very interesting.  Have a look and see what you think.


So, they came to measure up for replacement windows and doors today.  We have no choice in the matter – we’re in a tied cottage, and at the whim of the Council owners.  But of course, we love the house, and all the windows at the front are the originals (as far as we know) and, badly fitting, draughty and single glazed as they are, they’re charming, and I shall be sad to see them go.  I feel guilty – as though our transient needs are taking greater importance than the integrity of the house itself.

But of course, you have to think of the flip side of the environmental impact argument.  Think of the heat that will no longer be escaping through the gaps around the door seals, the thin single panes of glass.  That’s surely got to be better – hasn’t it?

And yet, I still have my reservations.  Because these replacements aren’t going to be lovely wooden frames, are they?  They’ll be uPVC – marvellous because they’re practically maintenance free!  But plastic.  Plastic!  I hate plastic.  Hate it because it’s non-renewable.  Hate it because you can’t paint it, or repair it when it starts to look sad and dull.  Hate it because we’ll no longer be able to have a green front door (which is a bit silly, but still an issue!). 

And will the windows be a faithful representation of the lovely originals?  Well, we’ll have to wait and see.

So explain this to me.  I’ve attempted growing parsnips this year in raised beds, and overall, it’s not been very successful as many of them have grown into deformed, mad-looking veg.  But not all – some have grown into perfectly acceptable parsnip-shaped parsnips!  Why is this?

Take these two photos – all these parsnips are from the same raised bed:

Two look like normal parsnips and the other two like extras from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean!’ I realise the soil was too rich for root veg, but I don’t understand why some have managed to grow normally.  Weird! 

Oh well, the up shot is, next year they are going back in the main veg plot where they’re happiest.