Sunday, December 31, 2006

the sound of the lake district

We're off to the Lakes for a couple of days soon. I've just been trawling the net for ideas for things to do in the rain - there is plenty of it forecast!
I found this sound clip of a peaceful lakeland valley - albeit in summer, which is very calming. It's on this this page. You can listen to other wonderful sound clips. I hope you enjoy it...
The site that it's on - golakes is very helpful indeed.

Friday, December 29, 2006

3 days a week....

I'm going to be doing a job share at Staffordshire University - it's been agreed! I am still waiting for my written job offer, but the 2nd choice candidate has agreed to take the job share..... I should be able to start in February. I intend to make the most of it. Amongst my plans for what to do with my other 2 days a week are:

  • get away a lot in the campervan that we have recently acquired...
  • take a lot of photos - hopefully getting paid for some of it - with Cultural Sisters, Planet Sound and other local community arts organisations
  • take up drawing again
  • make lots of music - in particular get good at the piano accordion
  • sing a lot - with Loud Mouth Women, Kate and Greg of the Boat Band and others, especially with Tone and Cath
  • walk and swim
  • support Pan the local group that I am a member of to develop and seek funding
  • blog....

Think I might struggle to fit it all in but I'll give it a try!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

plenty more fish in the sea?

I am a new subscriber to 43 things.
I read some comments by people who like me have committed to reducing their environmental footprint. One comment referred me to this excellent article in the Guardian by Lucy Siegle

Both Tone and I have been vegetarians in the past. I don't eat any mammals anymore. I often eat vegetarian meals and try to buy organic food. I find organic food very expensive and hard to come by locally. We have been eating more fish recently - for health reasons as well as for the taste. We have found a fantastic fresh fish stall in Tunstall - the owner buys fish from Liverpool dock every morning that he opens. The provenance of all the fish is known and labelled - e.g. Iceland, Faroes etc. However I'm certain much of it is farmed although I have not asked. He does sell organic salmon. (Having said that the Soil Association have decided to label farmed fish as organic - which makes a mockery of the idea it seems to me. This could mean that the organic salmon sold by the fishman in Tunstall is farmed.)

The article has concentrated my mind on a few things. I am shocked to discover that farmed fish is often fed on wild fish - 3 tons of wild for every one ton of farmed. Farmed fish is ecologically unsound. I am concerned about over-fishing. I find it hard to conclude anything other than only buying organic wild fish, if any at all.

Lucy Siegle concludes like this -
"Although I now understand how hard it is to turn a profit from ethical fishing, the alternatives are unappealing. There's still no overall strategy to maintain and develop ocean ecosystems. Partial fishing hasn't worked, total allowable catches are set too high, prone to abuse and do not allow species to recover.
I'm not given to breaking into restaurants to rescue crustacea, but I can't get over the thought that ranching a large oceanic predator (which essentially means keeping it in a cage) is wrong. Add on the problems in the supply chain, doubtful provenance and food miles involved in shipping certified fish and I arrive at the conclusion that I no longer want to eat it. I will not, therefore, be following the FSA's guidelines on two portions of fish a week, and I no longer subscribe to the view that there are plenty more fish in the sea. There aren't."

Monday, December 25, 2006

It's Christmas day...

and I'm just settling down to check emails and the like. We've had a big dinner, and all the visiting rellies have left. All the dishes are washed/ in the dishwasher. We've just put telly on and got a cuppa.

Just thought I'd point you in the direction of our family newsletter on Tone's blog......we've had a couple sent to us this year as usual and felt compelled to follow suit!

Regarding the job - I have had it confirmed that I will be offered 3 days a week job share.... just waiting for the written offer, having returned the medical form (which asked so much medical history it was hard to believe!).

Planning a relaxed few days now - lots of DVD's to watch - the brilliant "My Name is Earl" from the wonderful Scott and Cath, and from ourselves to ourselves - Coast series 1&2 & Planet Earth - hands up who has not received that for Chrimbo?

Probably get round to posting again soon - in the meantime - enjoy the holidays!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

bellowhead on TV.....

- they were on Jools Holland on Friday night. They played 2 numbers from their album "Burlesque" - "Rigs of the Time" and "Jordan" - both upbeat (I would have preferred one to be a contrast - a ballad ("Courting Too Slow" -a personal favourite) or a dance number ("Sloe Gin" set).
But it was great to see them on the box, with the likes of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers - whose lead singer Anthony Keadis said he liked them a lot! Well done folks!!

new job

having said that RA is dominating our lives at the moment, actually my efforts to gain a new job took over from that for a few days last week - and it was worth it - I got the job I was interviewed for on Tuesday!

I have been offered the job of senior lecturer in community engagement and regeneration at Staffordshire University!!!

I am waiting for the written offer because I am still negotiating working hours - I don't want to work full time - partly because of being around for Tone, partly so that I can do other things - such as photography and music.
They have said that I can do some lecturing on the community arts course about photography.....brilliant!

Excited? Very!

RA - from my viewpoint

RA - Rheumatoid Arthritis - is somewhat dominating our life at the moment.
Tone has it. It's an auto-immune disease - the immune system attacks your joints (the fluid and membrane) as it thinks they are the enemy. This leads to joint pain, stiffness and swelling. The immune reaction creates flu-like symptoms, which are made worse becuase of the inflammation and the breakdown of proteins that occurs. So basically Tone feels ill most of the time. He is often in pain, always tired and then of course there's the effects of the drugs he's taking.
The main drug - taken to slow down his immune system - is methotrexate - mtx. It causes nausea and diarrohea amongst other things.
To find out more about his experience read his blog here.

I went through a stage of doing lots of things for him including some essential things like helping him out of the bath when he was very poorly. Now he seems a little better - certainly he is more mobile - that's less the issue. More significant now is feeling like there's not a lot I can do - sometimes giving practical help is better! I feel frustrated sometimes - mostly about the lack of physical activity - although today - astoundingly - we have cleaned the windows, sorted the bookshelves! That's a very good day!!

Ho - hum - we just have our fingers crossed that the unwanted effects get less.....and soon!

Shrewsbury Folk Festival

The line-up has been announced and tickets are now on sale for the Shrewsbury Folk Fest 07.
If the line-up is anything to go by, it promises to be an even better festival than this year's inaugural spectacular.

We took some good photos this year - despite Tone being very poorly at the time. Hopefully Tone will be fully fit by next August and we'll have a photo-fest!!! Take a look at this year's photos here. There are 3 galleries.