Friday, 23 October 2009
Monday, 5 October 2009
A fun new social network, www.volentia.com which is for vegetarians and vegans is helpful and provides links with other veggies and vegans.
The funniest answer i have received so far, when asking if any cakes were vegan in a cafe we love visiting was 'no, they all contain chocolate'.
Quite apart from the butter and milk etc. many of them obviously contained, they did not all contain chocolate!!!
Saturday, 19 September 2009
It seems that moving towards veganism is more of a process than an instant state of being. For a long time I have thought I 'ought' to be vegan. It is the logical point to aim at from being vegetarian. There can be no milk or it's products without cows having calves, half of which will be male. They are mostly either considered a waste product or raised for veal as I understand it. Eggs lead to the same problem, there are many male chicks born which are seen as no more than a by-product, and hens rapidly come to the end of their useful laying lives. Dairy cows often live their lives in large sheds, not grazing the fields as we like to imagine they all do. They are engineered to produce around twice the milk they would naturally make for their calves, from whom they are torn. I do not want to be part of supporting this cruel industry, of lives being no more than a waste or by-product. The environmental issues are compelling too, but to me, only as a supporting one for the animal welfare case.
But, I love food, I adore nice cheesy dishes, cakes, eating out. Will I just have to accept my life is less food focused and replace my delight in eating yummy things with going to the cinema or something? It seems that, at present at least, food is even more of a focus, making sure I get plenty of nice things, checking labels, etc.
Running a vegetarian guest house raises it's own problems. I do not plan, at this stage at any rate, to make the guest house fully vegan. I therefore have to accept I will need to taste some dishes. Will I find myself with rather large taste test portions?!
Being vegan ought to be a gentle, non aggressive option. But, it seems it is the opposite in some ways - it raises uncertainty, discomfort, questions, defenses. I do not want to be seen as difficult, I do not want to be the centre of an awkward scene in a restaurant as I question ingredients and eyebrows get raised higher and higher. Being organised and arranging vegan meals when booking will doubtless help with this, and I have already been pleasantly surprised by the extent to the knowledge of one pub's staff recently.
It seems that it is more acceptable to have allergies or health reasons to be vegan than to do it for ethical reasons. We recently went to our local Indian restaurant. As I had only been vegan for a few days, I would have felt a fraud to say I was vegan, so I asked for dishes that were dairy and egg free. They told me the ones we had selected were dairy and egg free, but that one of them contained almonds. I was flummoxed for a moment, wondering what the relevance was. Of course, they thought I had an allergy to dairy products, and that I might also have a nut allergy. It seems rather sad that the health considerations of the individual are more recognised and valued than consideration for other creatures.
Another issue is waste. I am still cooking eggs for guests for example. Sometimes these break when I am frying them. I usually eat the broken ones. I cannot now do this. Is it worse to give the dogs yet more treats than to eat it myself?
Will I be able to keep making felt? I am only just getting into it, I have already stopped painting on silk, I do not want to give up using wool in felt making. I recognise each person has to do what they can, there are no absolutes. But, I know how I feel about 'vegetarians' who eat fish. Is a vegan who makes felt similar? Or, is it better I go as far as I can, possibly extending the process as I go, rather than becoming trapped and ending up not doing any of it?
There will be many more questions raised I am sure, and I will keep to 'vegan for today' for now and see how it goes, reporting here. Ooh, I am hungry. We have the most yummy bramble jelly made by Dawn, which goes very well with the homebaked bread, and the little bit of soya marge I use instead of butter, should mean I start losing weight...
Monday, 7 September 2009
Saturday, 5 September 2009
I didnt tell anyone, even Simon, as that would make a 'big deal' of it, I just wanted to keep it as something I was quietly doing. We have vegan guests staying, so it is easy to have what they are eating, as we usually do, but then not supplement it with the butter etc., I usually use. Simon now knows, as I showed him some of the horrendous images which make me cry and which lead him to say we should be vegan, and I told him my plan!
I plan to blog about it, mainly as a way to record how it is going for myself, with no expectation of the blog being read by others. if it is, that is great!
One day in, and it seems fine so far. But, what will happen when we go out or have vegetarian guests eating supper? What of the wonderful chocolate Brownies at my favourite cafe at Trebarwith Strand? I can have their veggie burger though, it is vegan...
And my main anxiety - will I forget?!
Sunday, 7 June 2009
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Monday, 20 April 2009
Just a little grumble. Why does politics and inter-personal strife have to creep into everything, even the most innocuous of local activities? That is the nature of people I suppose, and I'm sure I'm not entirely innocent of all blame. Entirely, notice. Ie, I think I am mostly innocent!
This fellow is entirely innocent. Even though they have their own blog now, they still find their way onto mine. Whatever has happened to his mouth?
Monday, 6 April 2009
vanesser fownd this blog, bi a bear. she thincs we rite similarli. now, that is so rewd, he is just a stuffd beer. i am a propa, reel, living kat. he dus seme to be a bit ov a selebrety bere thow, so may be i wil suk up a bit. luvli beer.
I am praktising mi evill luk. befor bel. evill luk did not werk.
Sunday, 29 March 2009
card made using insides of old envelopes
I recently sent some to the Plymouth Oxfam, and received an unexpected and very grateful letter in return. They are struggling to get enough stamps for the packs they sell, and have had to use some from their store. So, please do send your old stamps to them, they will be very pleased.
My parents worked in the Oxfam shop in East Grinstead for many years.
I have now found the perfect solution to all the stamps that my mum had sorted into countries of origin but never mounted, as well as the vast collection of old stamps from this country. I have boxed them all, ready to go off to Oxfam. I shall feel virtuous, Oxfam will have a source of stamps for a while, we shall all be pleased. I have just got to go and do it...
One stamp I shall not be sending, among others I shall keep for now, is this Gadsden Purchase one. My maiden name was Gadsden.
'The Gadsden Purchase (known as Venta de La Mesilla, or "Sale of La Mesilla", in Mexico) is a 29,670-square-mile (76,800 km2) region of what is today southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was purchased by the United States in a treaty signed by President Franklin Pierce on June 24, 1853, and then ratified by the U.S. Senate on April 25, 1854. It is named for James Gadsden, the American ambassador sent to Mexico at the time. The purchase included lands south of the Gila River and west of the Rio Grande. The Gadsden Purchase was intended to allow for the construction of a transcontinental railroad along a very southern route, and it was part of negotiations needed to finalize border issues that remained unresolved from the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War of 1846–48.
As the railroad age grew, business-oriented Southerners saw that a railroad linking the South with the Pacific Coast would expand trade opportunities. However, the topography of the southern portion of the Mexican Cession was believed to be too mountainous to allow a direct route, and projected southern routes tended to run to the north at their eastern ends, which would favor connections with northern railroads. That would ultimately favor Northern seaports. A route with a southeastern terminus, in order to avoid the mountains, might need to swing south into what was then Mexican territory. '
courtesy of Wickipedia.
Saturday, 28 March 2009
I will be supporting this, and have encouraged others to do so too, but it can only be valuable if it has a longer term impact, at a personal, national and international level.
At a personal level, I grew up with parents who were perhaps ahead of their time, but it infuriated me at the time. They switched off everything if it was not in use, they conserved everything, reused everything, rescued everything that might be of use, ate an excess of lentils. The war had an enormous impact on them which was long lasting. Thus, I have an awareness of how right it is to take care of our world, but a bit of me has also rebelled against this abstemiousness. The devilish temptation to leave lights on because I can, to eat sweet things because I can, buy something new because I can (not that I can afford to at present!), just sometimes takes over. And I am 52! I am still going through their things, six years after my mother died, and sending them off to the charity shops.
I try to do a little. I send my used stamps off dutifully to Oxfam as I always have. I rarely throw anything away that could be used again or sent somewhere that someone else could make use of it. Running a guest house, I need it to look welcoming to potential guests, so do keep the outside light on and the hall light on into the evening, but we do turn others off if we are not in the room. We reuse, recycle, reduce our purchases, I always have tended to, despite that little devil, I suppose it really is a tiny, shrinking devil who surfaces less and less!
On a national and international level, the picture seems bleak to me at present. Even there, small changes could be effected without too much trauma. Although churches and public buildings look lovely floodlit, do they need to be lit so much, for so long? The Peak Oil situation, see http://www.oilcrashmovie.com/ is alarming in the extreme. The local response, the setting up of Transition Towns, is a positive way for people to take some control over what happens, before control is taken out of our hands, as it must eventually be if no changes are made.
The current financial crisis may be good for the planet. We are all more careful with what we do, what we buy, I suspect the amount of rubbish going to landfill is decreasing. I am a huge supporter of Freecycle, and am one of the 'owners' (daft term, I do not own it!) of the Wadebridge site.
One thing I do not like is the tendency to out 'green' each other. I am sure I am guilty of it, but I do try not to fall into this trap. We all do what we can, well, most of us do, but there is always someone who will criticise our efforts and have to do it better. There are so many contradictions, so much to learn that seems full of jargon, it can be almost impossible to know what to do for the best. I guess though, that this has been the case throughout history and it is only hindsight that will tell us what we should have done.
Friday, 27 March 2009
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Friday, 20 March 2009
No, of course this isn't me! Thank you Internet for lending this image, hope it is OK to do so.
Friday, 13 March 2009
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Recently I seem to have been using Facebook at the expense of my blog! Sometimes I am more drawn to one, sometimes the other. I have got some blog posts in my head, but that is where they will have to stay for a couple of days at least, as I have guests arriving today and a house that is far from ready to receive them.
Our craft group is going along really well, it is great fun. We focus for a couple of weeks on one topic and then move to another. It does work best when at least one of us is a bit ahead and can introduce the rest of us to a subject. I have done this with felt making and will carry that forward as well as leading a session on card making. One week we had a go at mosaics, this was less successful, as it looks easy and we were all a bit over ambitious. We did not really have the most suitable materials, just multi-purpose grout from a DIY store and loads of old bits of crockery etc!
We are learning about each other too. The group laugh at me for the amount of materials, books, and general stuff I have for some of our subjects. We did patchwork last week, and I found some templates and books (and a few little half made hexagons of Laura Ashley fabric!) from way over 30 years ago. Well, I was able to get on and have a go and share my materials. I was very modest in my efforts, only aiming to make a piece to use on a card. I will add it here once completed. We do have a great laugh.
Friday, 27 February 2009
1 - I can't think of any things about me, let alone 25. OK, I lived in Sarth East London for 17 years.
2 - I went to just one school all the way through, for 13 years - a Steiner school
3 - I often eat peas, friom the freezer, briefly boiled up, on their own. I also often eat sweetcorn straight from the tin.
4 - I grew up a Quaker, and still feel a strong affinity, if it weren't for the God bit
5 - I had osteomyelitis, twice, when I was 14, and was in hospital for Christmas. It was quite fun
6 - I was good at art at 5, and had pictures all over the walls at school. My art teacher wrote something along the lines of 'despite her lack of ability...' when i was 14ish. I love art now, and paint, love pastels. I have sold 7 of my pictures!
7 - I have never, ever, eaten meat - well, OK, once, by mistake.
8 - I have never, ever, been tempted to eat meat. It just doesn't seem to be anything to do with food.
9 - One of my favourite places is the Victoria Falls, from the Zambian side
10 - I was adopted, age 6 weeks. I met my birth mother when I was 32. she died 8 years later, she was lovely. The process brought me closer to my adoptive parents as well.
11 - When I lived in the New Forest, I loved going to Monkey World.
12 - When I was about 12, I wanted to be a geologist. When I was about 14, I discovered it involved maths.
13 - My favourite place is Cornwall, Trebarwith Strand is hard to beat.
14 - I have an MA in Mental Health. I am proud of this. My dissertation was on the impact companion animals have on the daily living skills and self esteem of people with mental health problems.
15 - Yesterday, I bought some squeezy bottles from Lakeland, like they use in Masterchef, in the hope it will transform me into an exceptional cook
16 - I make nearly all the greetings cards I send. I love making things.
17 - When I trained as an Occupational Therapist, we spent 6 weeks doing basket making, a skill I would later strenuously deny when ribbed by non OTs!
18 - I love blogging. www.nessienoracraftexplorer.blogspot.com
19 - I love animals and get desperately upset about animal welfare issues, factory farming, abuse generally. I could never be active in this field, as I would get too upset. My bit is running my vegetarian guest house and doing what I can in my own life and gently raising awareness.
20 - I have not shopped in Tesco for nearly 2 years. This was initially because I learned they stock live turtles in their shops in the Far East, which cannot be humanely killed. But it is now because of a range of additional issues, their refusal to stock only free range eggs and poultry, their treatment of suplliers, their apparent attempt at world domination, judging by the number of Tesco lorries we see when we are out.
21 - My favourite meal is a jacket potato, with rich tomato sauce (with capers, sun dried tomatoes and loads of garlic), cheese and vegetables. And something with chocolate for dessert.
22 - I use a monocular to view distant objects, I only use one eye at a time, so two lenses is wasteful of limited world resources. I had an operation to correct my squint when I was 37. On the way home from it, I heard that John Smith had died.
23 - I would love to make Michael House posher and more luxurious
24 - I love the music of Geoffrey Oryema, Schubert, requiems, oratorios, and the kora, and Radio 2!
25 - I grew up going on Aldermaston Marches - ban the bomb - and first went in my pushchair. I am a fan of Tony Benn.
26 - I hate getting up, and rarely get to bed before midnight. Only 25, oh, it's 26! I'm only just starting...
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Philippa and Peter
paws can be accounted for by
a - being away for a week
b - being busy on return with guest house
c - having serious Man Flu for that past few days
normal service will resume shortly.
Ted has been a very good nurse, or so he thought. Sleeping on my face, further restricitng my breathing, did nto really help though.
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Friday, 23 January 2009
- laughing and chatting with a person I often see but rarely talk to much, as we were both getting soaked walking our dogs.
- making my first reasonably successful sheep in felt
- having a craft room all to myself, still in a mess, but getting there.
Notice how I still manage to qualify these, with 'reasonably', 'still in a mess'...
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Sunday, 18 January 2009
Monday, 12 January 2009
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Pastels are really messy to use, the dust gets on everything. I have not fixed any of the pictures, so have difficulty moving them about without them getting smudged. These two may get framed, but the ones which are not good enough I do not know what I will do with. I use most watercolours I have completed for a variety of purposes. The ones which I cannot frame get chopped up into cards, or used in my die cutting machine to make flowers or other shapes, used for backgrounds, etc! There is little waste. I will just have to ensure that all my pastels are good enough to go behind glass. There are fixatives available, or you can use hairspray, but these apparently dull the colours, I have not tried.
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
For anyone reading this who thinks I may be mad, well, I probably am, but, that aside, there is a little widget to the side of my blog which is counting down the days until George Bush leaves the Whitehouse!
Monday, 5 January 2009
The image shows a tiny section from the rear of the building, so gives a limited impression of the place.
We went there yesterday. We brave the place about once a year, usually seeking specific things, but then finding a few other 'essentials' we didn't know we needed. It is not as bad as Ikea in that way. Ikea manages to have loads of things I didn't know existed, but then realise are essential. Fortunately I do not go often, I have been only once since moving to Cornwall five years ago. At least Trago only has familiar things!
I think I still fall into the loathe it category, but I did quite enjoy our visit. I think my experience was improved by the friendliness of the staff, which I have never felt they were on previous visits. Perhaps in 2010 I will venture there again.
Sunday, 4 January 2009
He is looking quite healthy, his wings do not appear to be damaged. It is forecast to be very cold tonight, hope he will be OK. What I am also noticing, is the rather shabby paintwork he is having to sit on. I have plans for that...
Saturday, 3 January 2009
I want to develop my business and take more risks, not just stay in the safe niche i could choose. I plan to offer cheapish evening meals to local people again, e.g. curry evenings, and make Michael House available to groups of people to have meals or arrange meetings or other events, craft weekends etc. i am planning a curry evening at the request of someone locally, probably for the beginning of February. I am also aware of the need to consolidate what I have achieved so far, and need to establish which of my marketing strategies is most effective, by keeping better records of how people found us.
I want to develop my creativity. I don't only mean in making things or painting, but also in tackling the uncertainly of the coming months in financial terms, reducing dependency on new things, using what I have effectively, altering and improving things, be it clothes or decorating parts of the house, which is due a freshen up. I need to get my craft room working properly for me, make it feel inviting and less cluttered, so that I get more of my ideas into reality.
These are things I feel positive about, not just chores I could rewrite each year with no progress.
Perhaps reverse psychology is called for here. For example, I usually stay up until midnight, but, on New Year's Eve, because I was trying to stay awake, I wanted to go to bed early. I spoke to several people who felt the same! Let's start with the following New Year's Resolutions:
Procrastinate. Never do today what I can put off until tomorrow.
Be less creative.
Spend more time on Facebook.
Eat more, exercise less, go to bed later.
As soon as I set myself a target I seem to need to rebel against it and do the opposite. Trouble is, I know I am only kidding myself with the above! I will leave the sensible plans to another post.
Thursday, 1 January 2009
I can't believe it is 2009 already. I haven't got used to it being 2008 yet, I'm only just adjusting to the 21st Century! Am I showing my age in this?!
I plan to add some resolutions, once I think of some I might stand a chance of keeping. The mental health charities advise against making resolutions in January, as being fuel for feeling even more miserable if they fail at a time when moods are often low anyway! But, if I don't make them now, there is no likelihood of me doing so in, say, August when the sun might be out. The 'eat less, lose weight, exercise more' type will not feature, and can be taken as read.
Happy New Year.