horrible histories

 perhaps i am actually 9, not 32!
have really got into reading the ‘horrible history’ series recently!
started out getting them for the kids (from library and a couple v cheap off ebay) but have found that they are great for summarising whole periods of history that i know nothing about… and they’re v funny and have cartoons!

when i did gcse history it was naf as we did tons on the ‘homesteaders’ of america and a huge topic on our local town, but no overview of kings/queens of england or of the wars, etc.

i’m learning a lot! if i can remember what i’m reading now, this time next year, i’ll be v impressed with myself! (knowledge retention is not my greatest skill)

PS this is the one i’m reading at the mo… go on, test me on my knowledge of the past century… i dare ya!

the fast game

it's a game, and it's darn fast..!this is a game created by Richard, a detached youthworker, living 4 doors down from me!

It’s to use with your youth group… christian or not. I used it for the 1st time the other day with my lot (14-18s, some churched and some not) and it went down v well! It’s hard to describe, but it’s kind of a board game that makes you think about yourself and God and life and other such stuff, in a non-threatening/scary/freaky/pressuring way.

I do highly recommend it… i don’t usually like the idea of buying resources for youthwork, but this is one i reckon it’s worth getting yr church to invest in. Prob best to use it when you’re group is fairly ‘gelled’, and not when you’ve got newbies there.

To buy, go here

and feel free to mention that you saw it on my blog… i just KNOW Rich will want to buy me a box of co-op’s own fairly traded choccies for every game he sells via me!

Nearly Greenbelt!

high up!v much looking forward to Greenbelt this wknd.

i am again working on the ‘generous’ area in g:source (new name for the pulse) and will be there from 4-5pm, sat, sun and mon… and perhaps at other times. you can read more about generous here

i think what’s going in the programme is:
4pm Saturday, Sunday and Monday – Living Generously – in the Generous
space in G:Source Come and have a sit down and a chat about how Living
Generously is going for you : sharing tips, ideas, and maybe some

i am on the christian aid panel ‘carbon dating’, which is apparently to be run a bit like speed dating, tho don’t tell mark as he doesn’t know yet!! you can read more about that here

i will also be on greenbelt fm at some point, i am told

and hopefully St. Andrews will stock and display lots of my books, as they kindly have for the past few years, and will sell millions (or just a few would also be nice!)

i’ve been for the past 4 years (i think) but also went a couple of times as a teenager… last year we went with 2 other fab families from church, but this year we’ve got 25 coming from church! hurrah!

are you coming…?!
if so, tell me… we could meet up!

i am hoping GB will be a bit more chilled for me this year, as doing less than have done other years, work-wise… and hopefully that will also mean that mark won’t have to have the kids on his own so much, poor bloke!

PS piccie is not related to GB, but is, yes you’ve guessed it, from our recent tour of europe… looking at the aletsch glacier in switzerland!

BBC somerset sound

zummerzet... ooh aarrhh !got and email from Tracey last night to see if i wanted to be on her panel this morning, as some bloke had dropped out (it’s great to be wanted!). She had actually talked about me coming with her to somerset sound for a while, so i didn’t feel like too much of a stand-in.

i was on a ‘green’ panel, consisting of Tracey, who created ‘national downshifting wk’ and who lives just round the corner from me, my good self, and Gyles, director of the Magdalen Project (a few miles away from us, and where Fraser is going for 3 days on a school residential in Oct!).

We talked about stuff in the news (I selected this story where a woman had won £1.1 million on the lottery but not changed her lifestyle… i put forward the question, not ‘can money buy us happiness’, but ‘can STUFF buy us happiness?’. I was sort of making the point that it can’t, not always, even though most of us live as though it can and will). It was tricky as they only gave us the tabloids to select stories from, whereas I was kinda hoping for the Guardian, leftie snob that i am!).

any-hoo, it all went swimmingly. I mainly promoted fair trade, inc the monthly stall and bag scheme we do. I took in some choc-related FT snacks for the presenters to munch on – that seemed to go down well!

the presenter was the same one who had me on her show about 4-5 years ago, re dearbob… and she remembered! OK, so i mentioned that i’d been in before, and she said she remembered… it was the point at which I said ‘the book is very pink’ that i could see the cogs in her brain clicking before me.

i wonder if i might win an award for the most links in a post on a blog? well, it might win if i just compared it to other posts on this blog alone, i guess.

moving on… part of what was great about it was being able to chat freely about other ‘stuff’, and not just eco/FT stuff. I ended up promoting ben elton’s eco novels (‘stark’ and this ‘other eden’) but trashing his latest: Chart Throb (sorry Ben, but it’s just not as good as the rest) as well as contemplating, live on air, selling hubbie on ebay, along with his 20 or so boxes of CAR magazines currently sitting in the loft… as long as the price was right.

should you desire to listen to such varied waffle… i mean, life-changing discussion… then you can go to their website here, click on the ‘listen live/listen again’ bar, and under ‘morning Jo’ click on monday (18 June). We were on from the start of the show, for just over an hour.

Another plus to doing this sort of thing is just meeting like-minded people, like the fab mad Tracy, and Gyles, who lectures on sustainability in London when he’s not getting his hands dirty down on the farm! It’s great to make links with people who are almost literally on yr doorstep, who are keen to live simply and lightly on this planet, so that others can, as Tony Campolo once said, simply live.

8 countries, 13 days… bring it on!

here we come...!this summer we’re off around europe. yes, i have written articles on holidaying in the UK… but at least we’re not flying… our car runs on LPG, and we’re camping most nights.

i’m most looking forward to Venice and leaning tower of Pisa (and all the food, espec italian!)
mark wants to see a glacier in Switzerland, which i’m looking into.
most of my spare time is currently spent pouring over travel books, websites and maps, trying to suss out what to do, what we can afford, what we ‘need’ to eat (particularly important to Fraser and I!) and suchlike… and i’m lovin every minute!

when mark and i were off for a romantic wnkd in london earlier this year, i mentioned it on this blog and asked if anyone knew of good (cheap) places to stay. No one really had any good advice, apart from Jon , who said that when he last went to London he stayed with his aunt. He did, however, fail to give me the postal address of said aunt.

So, have any of you got any aunts (with spare rooms for 4!) in Belguim, France, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Austria or Lichtenstein?!!

or any advice re driving/camping/eating/taking kids around europe?

travelodge sale now on!

i have just spotted the face in this logo!
this isn’t a cryptic title… i really am informing my vast readership (yes, all 3 of you) re the travelodge sale.

go here and see if there’s one you could stay in during the summer hols (Rooms available for stays between 20th July and 2nd Sept) It’s £15 per night for a family room (no breakie)… not bad!

you have to book by june 24th, and you can’t get yr dosh back once you’ve paid online.

we have booked one for the night before we get an early ferry from dover. sorted.

they are generally great places to stay… mark and i stayed in one when we went to the big smoke (2 nights = £30) and it was v clean.

so go for it… explore the UK for cheap!

am i really that odd…?!

clothes... who needs 'em?!!this is a link to a ‘Times’ eco-blog, where the writer isn’t buying new
clothes for a whole year, just 2nd hand ones.

i am all for this… great stuff.

thing is, it’s funny to see things like this presented as totally wild
and crazy… a real adventure… how will she ever cope (!?!) when it’s
how i live! i don’t remember the last time i bought a new item of
clothing for myself (perhaps some fairly traded underwear last year, i
think… but even that will last me quite a while!)

and i’m sure the same goes for many others out there!

still, i’m pleased that she is raising awareness re this issue and going
for it, etc.

me on page 3!

yes, i am on page 3… no, not of the Sun (if you knew me at all you’d know i was far from qualifying for this anyway)

page 3 of ‘a view of Chard’ – our town’s free paper. My good friend Sarah and I are pictured running our monthly Fair Trade stall… oh how smashing we look!

it’s good to have advertising that you’ve not had to work hard to get… hurrah for the passing journalist (she even bought some choccie bars!)

At the news I was on page 3, hubbie smiled and started humming ‘Rock of Ages’ (the hymn). I smiled too (just to join in) but couldn’t see the connection. On inquiring, it turns out he was humming that tune, but with the words: Get your tits out for the lads (not that you can hum words, but you know what i mean).

i wonder if it’s this sort of breakdown in communication that results in marriage breakup.

i have no piccie to go with this post, you’ll be relieved to know.

Hope FM

Was on Hope FM a couple of days ago. It’s a Community Christian station, in the Poole/Bournemouth area.

The guy who interviewed me (re Generous) found Generous at Greenbelt last year, and interviewed me on Forest FM a while back.

It was longer than the other recent BBC interviews, and 100% positive, which was great!

He threw me by asking for my top 5 tips for living generously. I said:

1] Buy less. Consider buying 2nd hand (ebay/charity shops, etc) or borrowing (library, DVD rental, etc).
2] When you have to buy new and buy food, try for local products where poss… and if it’s something produced in a developing nation, buy fair trade.
3] In the kitchen – don’t overfill your kettle, and when you boil food (pasta/rice/eggs) bring it to the boil and then switch the hob off, and leave it for longer than usual… it will cook! (yes, this is 2 tips in one, but i don’t think they noticed!)
4] Don’t leave electrical appliances on stand by… switch them off properly.
5] Drive efficiently, to save on CO2 production… so take off the roof rack if it doesn’t need to be there, find out what speed is most efficient, etc etc (lots more to say on that one, see other posts on this!)

I picked these (very quickly) as they are things everyone can do, pretty much. You don’t have to be an eco warrior, just someone who is happy to do something in a slightly different way, in order to be more loving towards others.

If I’d had had more than the length of a song to work out this top 5, it might be different, I guess. I think I’d always put ‘buy less’ at the top of any list… ethical shopping is my thing, after all!

any one out there got other things that ought to be on a list of top tips? what have i missed out…?! (dare i ask…!)