Thursday, 30 September 2010

Relocation Relocation

Today I went to Lidl to buy their cheap pansies and walked back past the newly-opened florists which were also selling pansies.  Wracked with guilt at not having "shopped local" I went in and bought some lilies, freesia and gypsophila.


This afternoon at school, Barbara and I uplifted lots of strawberry plants and a clump of chrysanthemums which were taking up too much room in the vegetable bed.  We replanted them in one of the huge tyres in the playground - only to discover it is to be removed.  Ho hum.  It serves us right for taking a guerrilla approach but I couldn't help thinking that of all the empty planters in the playground (there's at least eight) we chose the one destined for removal!

But...I'm an activist,  not a moanivist, so the kids and I returned to the playground after school and replanted them to in the half barrels dotted about the playground.

⚘⚘⚘

I have finally gotten round to reading Ed Miliband's speech.  I particularly liked

"We have a responsibility to leave our world a better place and never walk by on the other side of injustice."  


(One injustice bugging me is the £42 BILLION lost to the UK economy through tax dodging by the super-rich.    Sign a petition here.)

 ⚘⚘⚘
 
The highlight of the day was hearing and seeing the Pink Footed Geese overhead.  Lucy remains unconvinced that they come here to escape the cold and was trying to convince me they were Scottish birds on the way to Africa.

Event Publicity

So, you're organising an event in Prestonpans - how do you let people know about it?

Here are a few event listing websites I use (in the order they tend to be ranked in Google):

Where Can We Go
Ents24
Brit Events
Flock Local
S1 Play
East Lothian Buzz  - which probably generates the greatest response
Zvents
Edinburgh 247
The List

I also use Netmums and Prestonpans.Com.

Unsurprisingly, the local church is great at 'spreading the word'.  A mention at the the church service or newsletter is a huge help.

The school is always happy to include community events in its newsletter and you can usually get them listed on the relevant edubuzz blog.

Posters have limited success in my opinion but I still put them up the Mercat Gait, the community centre, the Pennypit, Harlaw Hill Day Centre, the public toilets, the library, The Small World, Drum Mhor caravan park, Hall's newsagents, Aldhammer House.  (And one of these days I will track down an elusive email address for Prestonpans Community Council and find out how one goes about getting a flyer in the locked noticeboard on the high street.)

Emails and texts to the movers and shakers of Prestonpans is crucial, as is a mention in the two local papers: The East Lothian Courier and The East Lothian News.


That's just the legal stuff.  Guerrilla campaigning is another post...

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Has H&S gone mad?...and other stupid questions

It is Ask a Stupid Question Day.  "What's 'Ask a Stupid Question Day'?" I hear you ask - well, doh, it's well, oh, JFGI.

I have used 118 118 to find the location of the nearest cash machine in an unfamiliar town but they are used to getting far stranger enquiries.  You can see what people are asking at the 118 118 Live Feed.  When I took a look, the strangest question was "How can I contact Jeremy Kyle?" (Please don't).

Danger! This Product Contains CHOCOLATE STICKS!
I'm considering calling to ask how many confectionery-related fatalities have been recorded.  I scoffed a box of Matchmakers the other day which contained a lame game printed on the packaging.  The game involved standing a Matchmaker stick on its end and guessing which of the four segments it would land on (why???).

The game was accompanied by the following warning:

"Please act responsibility and carefully in order to avoid injuring yourself or others when playing games."

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Stitched Up

It hasn't been a very nice weekend.

Daughter #1 has been trying to orchestrate an argument for days.  She has been petulant, rude and temperamental.  And of course, in a family of five this means that Daughters #2 & #3 get overlooked while #1 is having a diva strop and the grown-ups end up miserable and exhausted.

I escaped briefly today to visit the Prestonans Tapestry.  It is very impressive.  The quality of crafts(wo)manship involved is incredible.  It was really lovely to see panels which had been stitched by talented friends.


And, no, this is not a picture of the Prestonpans Tapestry - it is from  MorgueFile which offers free stock images for either corporate or public use.  Unfortunately, I can't reproduce an image of the Prestonpans Tapestry here without paying a whopping fee to 'partner' organisations.  You can however, see a slideshow of the tapestry here.

I really hope the tapestry finds a permanent home so I can visit it again and appreciate it fully.  I hope the stitchers involved are justly proud of themselves and that their work gets the attention and audience it deserves.  So often 'community' projects get hijacked by 'partner' organisations with their own agenda.

Top of my agenda is housework.  I have been informed that my in-laws will be visiting.  ETBA (Estimated Time of Broomstick Arrival) TBC.  This means I have to clean, clean, clean.  Cue more tantrums and arguments.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Nominations!

Join Labour - Join the fight for Britain’s future.
Labour has a new Leader. I'm feeling hugely positive about the future.  Submit your message to Ed Miliband (a.k.a. future Prime Minister) at http://bit.ly/newleader

You still have time to nominate an East Lothian Council employee for a STAR Award.  I can't find the form online (no award for the IT Department then) but you can email your nominations to corpcomms@eastlothian.gov.uk (by Monday 27th September).  You need to state who you are nominating, why they deserve recognition and which category (Customer Excellence; Community & Partnership Working; Innovation; Celebrating Youth; Culture, Sport & Wellbeing; Council Worker of the Year and Team of the Year).

Friday, 24 September 2010

Disappointment

Today, in a public place - I don't wish to elaborate where - some young (8 or 9 year olds) drew our attention to a pile of discarded needles.

East Lothian Council's Anti-Social Behaviour Team were brilliant though and despatched a crew to deal with it.

Telephone 0845 601 8518 or send an email to asb@eastlothian.gov.uk if you have similar problems.

I'm sure grownups know not to touch any needles they find but I wonder if they have given their kids similar advice?  The kids I met today were picking them up.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Harvest Festival

Nigel took the day of work to go the Harvest Festival assembly at the Infant School.  It was really nice.  The children spoke confidently and sang happily.

Rev Simpson talked about food shortages and produced a small map with a hole cut in the middle representing the band of countries round the middle of the earth where people routinely don't have enough to eat.  He then stepped through the map.  Yep, he used the old 'stepping through a piece of paper' parlour trip as demonstrated below.



In the Small World a new volunteer joined our happy team and started today.   Things have been tough in the shop recently but I think we are entering an exciting new phase.  Or perhaps the full moon or Jupiter or something is making me crazily optimistic (and just a teeny bit restless).

Lucy is really keen to look through her binoculars at the night sky.  It was too misty to glimpse the Harvest Moon this evening so I put on  'Uncle Milton Moon in My Room' instead.

I really enjoyed Alan Davies' Teenage Revolution and it's coverage of the Poll Tax march.  One of the first political pamphlets (we didn't call them 'zines' then)  I read was Poll Tax Riot: 10 Hours That Shook Trafalgar SquareI still remember "I Booked A Babysitter" - one woman 's account of the riot which which marked the beginning of the end of the Thatcher years.


hαppψ αu†umη εΩuïη⊕x!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

World Car-Free Day

When people discover that I don't drive the next thing they say is always "How do you get to the Fort?".  My stock response is "I don't really need to go to the Fort".  It was ironic then that today on World Car-Free Day, I visited the retail park. 

Heather the Blether and I went for coffee in Thornton's  - I never knew Thornton's had coffee shops!  I tried not to think about the calories (the Treacle Tart was absolutely wonderful).  Then we had a look round Clintons (mass produced awfulness - best avoided). 

Our final trip was to Asda where I was quite restrained buying only a laundry basket (which I plan to use as a garden trug) and a pack of recycled paper plus some groceries.  Generally speaking, when I'm grocery shopping I don't like to be overwhelmed by a huge choice but I enjoyed the novelty of being in an enormous superstore.  And it was nice to catch up over a coffee.

I was pleased I was able to buy a bag of pine nuts (which had eluded me in Lidl) because Emily was making homemade pesto tonight. 

It is the second night Emily has prepared dinner.  Last night's homemade tomato soup was seriously good.  Tonight's dinner was a deliciously carb-heavy Pepperoni Pasta with a side dish of Pesto Toast on crusty bread with roasted peppers and mozzarella. 

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sew Far, Sew Good

I've been waiting patiently for a second hand sewing machine to come up for sale either on eBay, a charity shop or even on Freecycle but with no luck.  Then, this morning, I went to do some grocery shopping at Lidl and saw they had some SilverCrest models for sale at £59.99.

I went home and cooled my heels for a while and with Nigel's encouragement, returned to the shop to buy it.  I'm so glad I did.  It is just what I need and really easy to thread.

I'm an absolute beginner.  My knowledge of sewing and haberdashery is on a par with my knowledge of cars and motor sports.  Just like driving, I have yet to master speed control, position in the road and I haven't tried reversing round corners yet.

But I can sew!  Sort of.  I made my first shopping bag (from an upcycled top). 

Undeterred by my obvious lack of talent, my loyal girls asked me to make them 'something'.  My attempts to create a small stuffed bird were a tad ambitious but the resultant 'seahorse' was well received.

I'm going to have great fun with this - just don't expect to see my work on Etsy any time soon!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Customer Service

You might think that if a foreign body is found in a food tin, whether it be rodent, finger or piece of glass, this might come fairly high on the Damge Limitation Scale of a major supermarket.

You might think it is fairly irrelevant whether the item in question came via Musselburgh or Manchester - or whether it was won at a tombola stall.

You might not see the relevance of the question "Do you still have your receipt?"

Not so when the retailer is Tesco it would seem.

On Tuesday, I was stirring a tin of chopped tomatoes when I noticed a meatball-sized lump.  Unsurprisingly, it put me off my dinner.  I telephoned the grocery helpline who could offer no more help than getting a nameless duty manager to phone me the next day.  Which he didn't.

So, on Wednesday I phoned back.  Apparently the nameless duty manager was on leave and would "probably" call me on Thursday.  He didn't.

Nor did I receive a phone call on Friday so I emailed Tesco and received this response:

Unfortunately because this is classed as a unassociated foreign
body then we are unable to deal with it by email as there are 

special form called an RP125 within is dealt with in store at or 
Customer Service Desk.
 
They send the form by email to our Head Office who will then
contact you by call or letter within 7 days .They will then fully
Investigate why this has happened and then offer some sort of 

gesture of goodwill to yourself.
I replied to this email with a photograph of the suspect body.  I then received a telephone call.

No, Tesco could not send me the elusive RP125 form.  Nor could they explain why no-one in Tesco seems to understand Tesco procedures.  I was told the only way to progress matters was to go to my nearest Tesco (despite the fact I use the home delivery service because it is not convenient for me to shop in store).

As I was busy on Saturday and Sunday, the earliest I could travel to Musselburgh was today.  With 3 travel sick kids, on a bank holiday at a cost of £6.60, carrying a mystery object which had been decomposing for the last six days.

At Tesco Musselburgh, the Customer Service person asked me if I had my receipt.  My heart sank.  Did they really not understand that this is not about me getting my 33p refunded?!!  In any event, receipts proved a moot point as I was informed that Home Shopping is dealt with by Dalkeith and he couldn't complete the legendary RP125 form as the tin did not bear a Best Before Date. 

So that is that.  I have done everything I can to reunite the tin with Tesco.  They aren't interested in how whatever it is got there.  Perhaps I should just have performed an autopsy and posted it on You Tube.

Dishearted, weary and wanting to make the day not entirely miserable, I took the girls to Musselburgh Doll Museum at 1 p.m. (the timing is pertinent).

As we sat down a staff member came over and asked if we had a reservation ("only about eating chopped tomatoes").  When I said we hadn 't she said we would have to move as the table was reserved for 2 p.m.

Two o'clock?  I was puzzled.  Surely we could eat a panini in an hour?  We moved to a new table and waited.  And waited.  At 1.20 no-one had taken our order and it was becoming apparent that we might indeed overrun with the 2 p.m. reservation - possibly even a 3p.m. reservation.  So we left.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

A Dirty Weekend

before
While other folk were having a lie-in or heading off for the start of a long weekend, on Saturday morning Jan H was taking delivery of a 20 yard skip (if you didn't already know, these things are huge).

after
We had set aside two days to blitz the overgrown area where the Community Garden will be sited.  It became clear quite quickly that this was a bigger job than any of us envisaged.  Fortunately lots (over a dozen households) of people came along to muck in .

After hacking down the shoulder-height nettles, we discovered all sorts of weird and wonderful objects including a fire extinguisher, a games piece from Connect 4 and Pure Garage Rewind Back to the Old Skool CD.

Any initial fears about ordering too large a skip proved unfounded as we soon began to fill it with weeds and debris.


We also discovered this little fella....a shrew who must have been a bit bewildered at seeing several children all peering at him.

There were shrieks of "Can I hold him?" and "Look at the funny-looking mouse!" (n.b. shrews aren't rodents) from the kids.

As shrews have a high metabolism and need to eat every few hours (some of these little mammals will perish if they go without food for as little as two hours), we retreated from the vicinity to let him find a hidey hole.




After four hours of tilth and filth it was apparent that we needed a second day so back we came on Sunday to begin the painstaking job of removing the nettle roots and levelling out the mounds of earth.


The area in front of the burnt trees is a horrendous mess of masonry, metal, Tvek-like material and broken glass - all of which seem to be fused together after the many arson attacks.  Clearing this section is going to be a long term project.

We've still a lot of work to do but we are almost at the stage where we can put in some raised beds and get sowing some vegetable seeds!

Next step is for East Lothian Council to remove the fire-damaged trees; and for the Friends of Cuthill Park to thin out the foliage along the wire fence ready for planting the edible hedgerow in November.  Why not join us?  We're a friendly bunch and you could be part of a fantastic community project.

A HUGE thank you everyone who came along over the two days.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

C-100

We can mention the 'C' word from today.  No, not Catholicism......Christmas.  It is one hundred days until ConsumerFest.

Where possible I'm going to by handcrafted or vintage this year.  I might even make some of my own presents with help for cool sites like Craftbits or Cut Out and Keep.  For inspiration I like checking out the sites of talented folk like Just Something I Made and Whip Up.

Of course, I'll be visiting my favourite artists and outlets including Leah Halliday (I heart her hand stamped gift tags, fabric birds and cute tissue covers), Frugal Cool and, of course The Small World.

Other things catching my eye include:

Transport for London Shop - I love the Itchycoo Park\East Ham mug

Online marketplaces for up and coming designers are old hat nowadays but I still really like Not on the High Street for personalised gifts and Bouf for funky modern design.

I love love love Pedlars with its heady mix of vintage gems and boho chic.

Keri Smith is an extraordinary artist whose "Wreck This Journal" was a huge hit with Emily so I'll definately be revisting her site.

Lovi is a Finnish design company which creates enchanting 3 dimensional objects from birch plywood. Their trees make quite a statement but, unless I win the lottery in the near future, I can only stretch to their beautiful birds. 

Staying with the tree theme, and more in my price bracket, Adam Frank has some gorgeous wall stickers.

But what, I hear you ask, does the woman who has everything want for Christmas?  Ah, I'm so glad you asked.  I've drawn up a wee list... 
  • The slabs covering the old pond to be removed
  • Sewing machine tuition (and a sewing machine if at all possible)
  • Up-to-date photos of my nieces.
  • Project management for  Cuthill Park
  • More customers in The Small World
  • Health and happiness
Oh, and world peace

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Online Games for Kids

Ideally, I'd prefer my kids to be picking blackberries, playing outside (see here for playground games) or making crafts inspired by the fantastic Woodland Trust's Nature Detectives site.  But I'm not a big meanie and occasionally I let them surf t'Internet.

At their request, here are a few children's websites that are safe, vaguely educational but mostly fun:


Click here to visit RNLI ShorethingRNLI's Shore Thing website packed with games


UK Parliament website - Take a tour of the buildings. Become a Member of Parliament for a week.  Or swing from a rope to clean Big Ben.  Games cover a range of ages and topics.

The Scottish Parliament website (Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) has a non too exciting games zone which features SP-ingo, (SP-ingo) a wordsearch (Lord-fhacail) and matching pairs

Tate Gallery - as you might imagine, is rather cool.  You can be an Art Detective, go on a treasure hunt in the Sculpture Garden, create your own imaginary worlds and lots more besides.

Edinburgh Zoo has a couple of nice spot the difference puzzles as well as a fun Sliding Penguin game.

Dogs' Trust site Learn with Dogs has a variety of interactive games for one and two players.

The Pod is aimed at teachers and contains games, videos, images and other resources, all designed to make schools greener.  The games in the Gamezone are all on an environmental theme.

Direct Gov Kid's site takes a while to load but is well thought out and worth a look.

Sadly the The Department of Transport's 'Hedgehogs' campaign has gone into hibernation but there are several road safety resources at the Think! Education site.

But my favourite is Scottish Water's RoboPoop
Screen Dump

Monday, 13 September 2010

Hauswhiffery

My attempts at being a perfect housewife are being thwarted. 

Admittedly, the biggest thwarter is my inner Riot Grrl who insists on browsing anarchist websites (LadyFest's 'Feminist cardigan workshop' caught my eye) but the main hurdles have been phone calls, emails and, erm, Pedlar's catalogue - it really is too gorgeous and simply demands attention.  And a cafetiere and a biscuit or ten.


I have done some hauswerk though - I used Ecover's Linseed Oil Floor Soap on an intricately carved table (i.e. a mare to clean) and can thoroughly recommend it.  It smells wonderful too.


Happy Roald Dahl Day!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Festivals, Fun, Fair Trade, Films

Friday

May the auspicious occasion of Eid , bless you with peace and bring joy to your heart and home

My scythe has arrived! I opted for a traditional, low tech, non-electrical way of cutting the long grass and so far I'm pleased with it.  It's hard work but I could do with burning off a few million calories - and  it will come in handy at Halloween.
http://www.iasp.info/wspd/

Saturday

The Open Day at the Small World shop was fun with lots of familiar faces including Bernice, Charlotte, Pauline and Susan.  It was lovely to see Emma and Tabitha with whom I traded camels for apples.  I love the barter system! 

While I was at the shop, the girls decorated milk bottle elephants which became a centrepiece for our Ganesh Chaturthi feast of tarkha dhal, chana dhal, apricot pilau, mushroom pakora and roti.

This evening we to Prestongrange Museum for a 'Lights Out, Doors Open' event which included crafts, a glow-in-the-dark trail and a torchlight tour of the Beam Engine.  It was a lovely evening and the walk home through the pitch black woods was extraordinarily spooky - and we saw a shooting star!

(The next event at the the museum is the Family Multi-Cultural Day on Sunday 10th October which includes Bollywood dancers, Egyptian bellydancing, classical Indian dance, an African women's choir, Chinese performers and East Lothian's Sangstream Choir.)

Back home, Nigel and I watched the atmospheric Birth.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Forthcoming Local Events

Friday 10th:
19:00-21:30. Charity Fashion Show, Port Seton Centre .  Tickets 815220

Saturday 11th:

10:00-15|:00.  Open Day at The Small World, Orchard Crescent, Prestonpans
19:00-20:30.  "Lights Out, Doors Open", Prestongrange Museum.  Bring a torch.
Rail Engineering Work.  Replacement Bus Service in Operation North Berwick-Edinburgh

Sunday 12th:
Rail Engineering Work.  Replacement Bus Service in Operation North Berwick-Edinburgh

Monday 13th:
09:45. 'Freedom Writers' Film at Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh with post-screening discussion

Tuesday 14th:
09:30. 'The Counterfeiters' Film at Brunton Theatre with post-screening discussion
19:00.  Community Council Meeting, Aldhammer House, Prestonpans

Friday 17th:
13:00. Macmillan Coffee Morning Town Hall hosted by Ian Gray MSP and Fiona O'Donnell MP

Saturday 18th
13:00 - 18:00. Site Clearance, Cuthill Park.  Bring tools.  WEATHER DEPENDENT
Rail Engineering Work.  Replacement Bus Service in Operation North Berwick-Edinburgh

Sunday 19th:
Second day of clear up at Cuthill or Beach clear (tbc). 
Rail Engineering Work.  Replacement Bus Service in Operation North Berwick-Edinburgh

Monday 20th:
Local holiday

You can see a comprehensive event's listing for the entire county at East Lothian Buzz

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

New, Old, Recycled

Musselburgh's North High Street is great for a spot of indie shopping.  Retailers include a butchers, chocolatiers, florists,  stationers, wine merchants, the lovely Lily & Grace gift shop - and now Frugal Cool.  It's easy to find the 'Emporium of Sustainability & Design' at 147 North High Street, Musselburgh - it's the pretty shop with bunting. It opened today and I went along to have a wee look.

It is a showcase for environmentally-friendly products with an emphasis on the three 'REs': REcycled, REpurposed and REmade. 

I ♥ these cardboard shelves!










I bought two beautiful textile brooches, a clever little sewing kit disguised as a Ration Book and some lavender in a can.  The purchase I was most pleased with was a set of reusable bread bags.


We bake bread most days (after discovering the One Minute Ciabatta recipe), and how to store it is a conundrum.  These bags are exactly what I've been looking for (and, if like me you give loaves as presents, they could double as a gift bag).

Nicky kindly gave me a copy of Cloth Magazine - I've not seen it before and was very impressed with the easy-to-follow advice on sewing and sewing machine techniques.

Sign up to ReMade: Frugal Cool's fortnightly update on local sustainability and design.  I did and I've learned about all sorts of local happenings that might otherwise have passed me by.

After saying goodbye to Nicky I bought some Wawel chocolate from the Polish shop, had a quick look round the Debra charity shop (purchases=one sparkly pink party dress - £2.70 and a Cath Kidston mug - £1) and then went to the Fisherrow Centre.

I have renewed my membership at Borders Scrapstore for a further 3 years.  It's a great resource which is always looking for paperstock, textiles and just about anything that could be used for arts and crafts.  I bought some fabric in lovely autumnal colours, some paint and other bits and bobs.


Back in Prestonpans, former volunteers of the Small World were invited to come along today for tea and cake.  It was lovely to meet them and hear about the changes in the shop since their time working there.


It is Be Bothered Week - my act of botheredness was to send my ink cartridges back to InkNToner to raise £ for Caring or Kids.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

It rained heavily this morning and I got drenched after walking to school with the girls.  But, SHOCK...HORROR.....I didn't melt away, dissolve or otherwise deteriorate in the downpour.

Inevitably there is always more traffic on the road during bad weather - and the drivers don't appear to reduce their speed to take account for the road conditions. 

I was very pleased to see one of the screen thingies that displays the speed of the passing vehicles outside the neighbouring school this morning.  

"29 MPH - Thank You"
Now if we could just convince some more parents to walk or car share.  Or perhaps parents could be paid to walk to school. 

Can you get grant funding for bribery?  I'm going to check out East Lothian 4 Community website...

Speak to Me!

I've ticked a box on the setting to enable all four of my blog readers (you know who you are!) to leave comments if they wish.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Small World - Big Re-Launch

Colin Morton, Sandra, Irene, Rosemary, Carol Morton
In 1986, Carol Morton, wife of the then minister of Prestongrange Parish Church, set up The Small World in a room in the former Council wages office in Prestonpans.

Carol was back in the shop today to celebrate it's grand re-launch thanks to the donations from Prestonpans Community Council, B&Q and an anonymous donor.

Unfortunately I couldn't be there for the ribbon-cutting ceremony as Lucy was off school with a cold but we did pop in briefly after collecting Georgie from school.  The event was well attended and it was great that Iain Gray MSP could make it along.  There was also representation from the Community Council, the library and the Infant School which was very welcome.  

Disappointingly though, I could see no representation from either East Lothian Council or the voluntary sector (although its feasible they had been along earlier - it's all guesswork as people don't seem to rsvp anymore).


I had a chat with Margaret about the Prestonlinks Woodland Group which we are hoping to get kickstarted again next month.  If you are interested in helping to manage two orchards, a small woodland and an area of wildflower meadow (all near the Coal Store of Cockenzie Power Station) then come along to a meeting in the ante-room in Prestonpans Town Hall on Tuesday 5th October at 6.45 for 7.00 p.m.  If you want to be involved but can't come along then give Stuart Macpherson, Biodiversity Officer a call on 01620 827242 or email him at smacpherson@eastlothian.gov.uk

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Bhopal - still not Fixed

One of my favourite items of new stock to arrive in the Small World shop is a satchel made from recycled tyres.  It's funky, functional and a fairly traded bargain at £35.

It is made at the Bhopal Rehabiliation Centre which was established in 1985 following the world's worst industrial accident, with the aim of assisting in the rehabilitation of victims.

Ever since reading Dominique Lapierre's Five Past Midnight in Bhopal, I have been touched by the plight of the people of Bhopal, may of whom are still suffering the long-term after-effects of the chemical leak.   I find it outrageous that the site still hasn't been cleared 25 years on and that no-one has been brought to justice.

Last night Nigel and I watched The Yes Men Fixed The World during which Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno with the help of a fake Dow website, secured a BBC interview.  During the live broadcast the 'Dow Spokesman' accepted responsibility for Bhopal and pledged financial contribution to the victims thus shaving $2billion of the Dow share price.

The Yes Men are often described as pranksters but I prefer to think of them as social justice extremists, using culture jamming tactics to make people take notice of the stuff big business don't want us to take notice of.


Please read Wikipedia's comprehensive account of the Bhopal disaster and remember that the struggle or justice continues.

A varied week

Monday

Georgie started school full time today so I found myself for the first time ever, having lunch all by myself.  It was a pleasant day so I sat outside with only the guinea pig and 4 butterflies for company.  Weird.

Tuesday

All my work yesterday shampooing the hall carpet was undone today and there are now great muddy footprints.  Proof, if it were needed that housework is really a complete waste of time.  I'm going to view it as a sign that I shouldn't try it again.

Wednesday

Good News: I received a letter from Lidl saying they would contribute £20 worth of goods for Cuthill Park.
Bad News: I received the letter after I had already been out to the shops.
Good News:  Twenty quid goes a long way in Lidl.  I purchased a garden spade, a pair of telescopic shears and heavy duty garden sacks which will be very useful over the next few weekends as we attempt to smarten up the park.
Bad News: My beautiful walk home from the shops was ruined by dumped items on the beach.

Seeing the swing and office chair dumped on the beach demonstrates the need to have a skip when we do our 2-day clear up of the beach and park next week.  East Lothian Council don't seem to realise that the kind of rubbish we are likely to encounter won't fit into a pink refuse sack, and have yet to even  return my phone calls.

In the evening I met up with Tequila Mockingbirds Jan H, Carmel and Tracy at the Thorntree for a gin and tonic and a blether.  Jan had brought with her Tom's drawing of Cuthill Park.  I love it!

Friday

I took advantage of a visit from my sister to make a long overdue trip to the hairdressers.  The girls loved being collected by their Auntie Laura - and I was grateful for the opportunity to get my roots done in pinkissimo.

While we waited for the 124 with Laura, we replaced Percy on the roof of the bus shelter. 

Saturday
It was all hands on deck this morning in the Small World as our 'Tuesday' delivery only arrived yesterday afternoon and we need to showcase the new stock at the grand re-opening on Monday.  Fortunately, we had an extra pair of hands in the shape of Laura, our newest and youngest volunteer.

Sunday

After a slow start to the day, Nigel and the girls went swimming while I read The Infinities up in the Spectators' Gallery.
 (which doubles as a sauna).

We had deliberately left the day free as both Nigel and I are pretty exhausted.  The problem with this is that we end up having a day without focus and everyone gets a bit fed up with each other.

Reminder to self:  The North Berwick - Edinburgh trains will not be running for the next four weekends (replacement bus service is not much cop for our motion-sickness kids).