Accident insurance and mayonnaise!

pennies for me if i loose limbs!
This was published on the Generous website Nov 08:

Accident insurance and mayonnaise!

I am a member of a Unison. Generally, apart from waving a sad goodbye to some of my hard-earned cash each month, this doesn’t really mean that much to me. But just the other day I received something from them in the post: free life/accident insurance. Further investigation taught me that if I loose a thumb and index on the same hand, I’ll get £750 (it occurs to me that if I loose a thumb and index finger on different hands, I’ll not get a penny. Charming). If I loose two limbs, I’ll get a whopping £2500 (that might just cover my first week of therapy).

My job as a teaching assistant has tended to be fairly hazard-free to date. Nevertheless, I have duly applied for my freebie; perhaps the only freebie I hope never to cash in on. Watch this space/thumb/index finger/limbs…
Still, it did make me think more about the value we place on things. Or the value we ought place on them. How can a group of people I have never even met place a value on various parts of my body?

The current credit climate has forced me, yet again, to re-examine the value I place on shopping ‘generously’ and all it entails. Take mayonnaise. For the past few years I’ve ordered local/organic/fair trade food from a local food delivery service. It’s great, but with a £3 delivery charge, I’ve now decided to give it a miss. However, they are the only people who can supply us with local mayonnaise. Our local farm shop has mayonnaise… from Staffordshire. I don’t tend to count food produced 170 miles away from where I live as particularly local. Also, it’s very expensive, as was the local mayonnaise I was having delivered. My research has shown that my local Co-op (the best of the worst) do their own brand of mayonnaise, using free range eggs. And it’s cheap! (and that’s not just related to the eggs). So, I could add mayonnaise to the short list of things I do actually buy from Co-op most weeks. It would save money. Saving money is good. Firstly, because I don’t want to run out of it (money, not mayonnaise) and secondly because if I have any spare I can always give it to someone who needs it more. But up until now I’ve valued the fact that my mayonnaise was produced in the same county as my mine. So what’s more important?

Yes, I’m being pedantic; so shoot me. If you do my family will get a nice payout from Unison; they’ll be dancing at my funeral. I suspect the answer is for me to stop thinking so hard and simply to opt for the handy cheap Co-op version, until I can find somewhere else that sells it locally, at a reasonable price. Or, make my own. Recipes anyone…?!

PS For the record, I can’t recall the exact amounts of money the insurance offered me, but it was something along the lines of the above.

Tour of Britain (in Chard!)

stage 3 of the tour started today in… Chard… where i live!!

Chard is famous for being the birthplace of powered flight…. and also for the invention of artificial limbs. But today… we had cyclists in tights!

Mark and I volunteered our services and helped our kids’ school take year 5 and 6 to go and see it (about 140 kids!). It was all v exciting… not quite the tour de France (that we saw earlier this year) as pouring with rain but hey… it was groovy.

I especially liked all the police motorbikes… loads of ’em… reminded me of ‘Chips’ (american police drama of days of olde!)

a couple more piccies here

tour of britain... men in tights

Greenbelt extra!

the classic \'family wristband\' shot!
a very nice lady from CEL sent me some piccies of the generous session I did at GB this year (see previous post for details) and they are here (in one of them it really looks like i’m picking my nose but i like to think i was just giving it a good scratch, but you can judge for yourself!)

i have also just found this piccie from GB 07, generous area, when i interviewed Janey Lee Grace (author and used to be in Wham!).

finally, whilst wandering around flicker i found this piccie of someone with their v fave books balanced on their head, and one of them was dearbob, so am dead chuffed!!

nearly greenbelt!

tilly climbs big tree!
off to Greenbelt a wk today – hurray!

am doing 1 session this year, in ‘the kitchen’, SAT 2-3:30pm, with my good friend Claire.
It’s called ‘still living generously’ and is all about generous, in case that wasn’t obvious!

looking forward to things being a lot more chilled this year… hurrah-hooray. (as in, i’m not doing too much)

if anyone’s interested, i have a adult wknd ticket to GB that i’d be willing to sell for a bargain price!

this piccie is of tilly up a tree in the nearby park (she is just poking out of the top)… who says kids don’t climb trees any more?! (click on it to enlarge)

back from me hols

Sagrada Familiajust back from 2 wks camping!

we went through france, catching a stage of the tour de france on the way, to the very bottom.
staying in St Tropez (4 nights) but visited Monaco, Cannes, Nice and Marseilles also.
Then 3 nights in Roses, Spain (beach).
Then 1 night barcelona (travelodge, £16 for family room!)
then through Andorra and back through France.

highlights:
tour de france
monaco
general beach-i-ness
barcelona
alpine coaster (andorra)
just being with my fab family

observations:
in france and spain they seem to have the same cd issued the exact same to campsites/garages/snack bars full of early 80s brit pop. which is fine by me as i like most of it, but still, a bit odd.

when i was learning french at school, they kindly taught us how to cope at a hotel. but perhaps, for those who didn’t think they were going to be high earners in life, they should have given the option of learning how to cope at a campsite in france… equal opportunities and all that.

‘they’ say that when you go on yr hols, there will be someone on the beach you’re on who will know someone you know. but i STILL found it gob-smacking to happen to speak to a couple in a camper van in huge campsite in Roses, Spain, because they were english, and then happen to find out we were all christians, and THEN this led to discovery that he worked for Scripture Union (publisher of my books) and knew people I know there, etc! we’ve already become facebook friends!!

one for the ladies: if you get a mosquito bite on your leg one day, don’t shave over it the following day.

you can view holiday piccies here
and a few more here
(click on 1st piccie to enlarge, then continue to click again to view next piccie and so on)

Just had this published on the generous website:

The ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ Dare.

Would you call yourself a bibliophile, a philobiblist… or perhaps just a common garden ‘bookworm’? Welcome to the club! And now you’re initiated, how about this for starters. Did you know…

Cinderella’s slippers were originally made out of fur. The story was changed in the 1600s by a translator.
Dr. Seuss wrote “Green Eggs and Ham” after his editor dared him to write a book using fewer than 50 different words.

Or maybe you’re too busy absorbing the latest Jodi Picoult, Martin Amis or Ben Elton to have time to acquire such knowledge. Either way, like me, you’re addicted, you know it, and you love it.

But my approach to purchasing these beloved books has altered in the past few years. It began to occur to me that there are people who are suffering in this world because of the vast amount of forests being stripped of trees that are vital to their way of life. That are vital to the way of life for our whole planet, now and in the years to come. In addition to this, perhaps I was wasting my money on a book I knew I might only read once, and then quite likely never read again. If I had that kind of money to throw around, ought I rather throw it in the direction of someone more needy than myself?

Thus, more recently I find myself doing the following:
Borrowing from the library (you can borrow up to sixteen at a time from my local!)
Buying second hand (Ebay, or the Amazon marketplace).
Buying new (if I really HAVE to have the book in question, and can’t get it second hand. I’ll try to order via my local independent bookshop if at all possible).

So take a leaf out of my borrowed/second-hand book. When you go on holiday this year, learn the above De Seuss trivium off by heart, and amaze your poolside companions. Go on, I dare you…!

Why pay more?

every little helps...!
Here is something i’ve just had posted on the ‘generous’ website, re ethical shopping:

Why Pay More?

08 May 2008 by Annie Porthouse

‘Why pay more?’ ASDA enquires of us, as though we’d be stark raving bonkers to ever shop anywhere else. Despite the rising cost of fuel and food, and the phrase ‘credit crunch’ becoming as familiar as the sound of our own breathing, large retailers are still determined to fill their shelves, and our homes, with cheap ‘stuff’.

‘Why pay more?’ we generous-minded shoppers reply. ‘Maybe because the people who grew or made this item need a fair wage in order to survive and raise their families. Because we don’t want to pollute the planet with ‘nasties’ and if it costs a bit more to buy organic or eco-friendly or fairly traded, well, we’ll do our best.’

That said, ‘ethical shopping’ has never been that clear cut. Many major retailers have cottoned on to the demand for ‘ethical’ goods. Take Primark. Back in 2005, Ethical Consumer Magazine voted them the least ethical clothing chain. The following year Primark became a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative. They now have an organic cotton range. Priced from £4, they’re a classic Primark bargain, but this time with an ‘eco-friendly’ tag. We can even carry our bargain home in an eco-friendly carrier bag!

Browsing through our favourite ‘generous’ style catalogue or website, we’re unlikely to be able to purchase a similar organic item so cheaply. A dilemma presents itself: To buy that organic T-shirt from Primark, and then be ‘generous’ with the money we save. Or to buy it from our small independent ‘ethical’ supplier (Traidcraft, for example) at a higher price, but be more confident about the ethics of the company we’re buying from.

Maybe the ‘generous’ way to shop is to buy less. Taking clothing for example:

* Make the clothes we have last longer (buy good quality)
* Swap with friends
* Buy second hand from eBay, jumble sales, charity shops
* Don’t be a slave to the latest fashions

After all, Every Little Helps!

The writing pays off, finally!

yes, it’s official… i am a wealthy novelist!

got a statement in the post yesterday, informing me that the PLR (public lending rights) people have just given me a sum of money. Every time someone takes one of my books out of the library, i get a (teeny) sum of money. they add them all up during the year and then treat you with it!

£4:25.

yeah, baby!!!

never let it be said that i’m not fully contributing to the family finances. hubbie’s got stiff competition now… might have to start working longer hours to keep up with me!

And THEN…!

if only i'd had Bob to fix things...!
So, here is my evening…

Thrilled at having the house to myself for an hour or 2 after work, i look forward to chilling out. I decide to quickly finish the flyer I am working on to give to my kids’ Church Fri Club… and THEN it ends up taking me an hour and a 1/2 (DTP is not my thing).

So I get the flyers to club and go for a drink with my m8 sarah… and THEN when we’re walking back up thru town, on our way to collect kids from aforementioned Friday club, we pass some drunk people who accuse us of being sluts (or slags, i forget which) and they were a bit scary and started to follow us so we picked up our pace and lost them (the influence of alcohol slowed them down methinks!). And it was only 8pm!

So we get home, Mark is out at a meeting… and THEN i realise i don’t have key to the house so we are locked out.
and THEN i realise i don’t have my phone as i hadn’t brought it as not charged.
and so T says we’ll ring Dad on her phone… and THEN she realises it’s dropped out of her pocket (only got it at xmas, worth about £40)
so we decide to go to our friends L&R down the road as they have a spare key… and THEN on arrival we remember they’ve gone away for the wknd.
so we go to other friends nearby, T&J, and use their phone to ring mark… and THEN find he’s switched it off as in a meeting.
so phone the house where mtg is… and THEN realise he can’t come and give us key as i have the car.
so i drive, with kids, to the house where he is to collect key… and THEN i take what i think is a road that will take us back through the town to get home, but soon find ourselves in v narrow country road, heading away from the town… and i NEVER go on narrow country lanes… i am v allergic!

so managed to follow the lights and get back to town, find T’s phone in the car, get into house… and all is well.

Mind you, it’s only 9:55pm… who knows what else this eve might have in store for me…?!!

PS… Mark just got home and is making me add that it was my fault that i didn’t know where my phone charger was, and he also would like to point out that he was chairing the mtg i dragged him out of!

so sad… but so true!

YOU KNOW YOU’RE FROM SOMERSET WHEN:

… you’ve bought stationery in Bastins
….you think Bath’s a big city
… you can tell sheep from goats
… you know why to avoid Bridgwater
… you think Bristol is ‘up north’
… venturing outside of the 30 limit is just unnecessary
… chinese takeaways that deliver, what are they?
… the smell of cow sh*t makes you feel at home
… everywhere else in the UK feels cold
… you have a friend who lives on a farm
… you live on a farm
… you learnt to drive in a field or on a beach
… you live in a cottage
… your home has a thatched roof
… you think nothing of paying £20 for a 2 mile taxi journey
… you’ve been stuck behind a stupid tourist on a country lane
… you saw the total eclipse in ’99
… your local newspaper’s is ‘cow falls off bridge’
… you turned to drink, drugs or heavy metal at an early age
… your friends say you sound like a farmer
… you have nothing to do after 5:30pm
… you think pink wellies are a fashion statement
… you know how to walk over a cattle grid
… you’ve been pony trekking
… ‘short and choppy on the North coast’ makes total sense to you
… you think nothing of grass growing in the middle of the road
… everyone you meet has been to Butlins in Minehead on holiday
… despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, you think a young farmers’disco is a wild night out
… until you went on holiday, the tallest building you had ever seen
was Debenhams in Taunton
… you’ve reversed for 3 miles when you met a stubborn tourist on a
country lane
… it takes you 4 times longer to drive anywhere between May and
September
….you pack a thermos, shovel and blanket in the car because the HTV top
story was snow forecast in Bristol
… you’re a closet fan of The Wurzels
… your second cousin is also your sister’s stepmother
… your neighbours’ average age is 76
… your best friend goes joyriding in tractors
… you can’t stand the grockles, despite living off their money
… you thought it was normal for more than 50% of your high street’s
shops to be operated by charities
….Biggest story on the local TV news is a cat locked in a shed for 2 days
in Yeovil
….Second biggest story, man fell off his bike in Glastonbury

my comment on this… as you can see, being from somerset means i can tell sheep from goats… essential for all christians… thus, all christians ought to move here, asap!