Friday, 30 May 2008

Work changes and Checkmate

Well, I was busy at the weekend then went down with a cold so didn't get the chance to tell you what had been decided. My colleague who is religious appreciated our supervisor's dilemma with her daughter so has decided that she will get in for 9am, possibly 8.45am so that 2 people can be here at 9am when we open, which we have to do very soon. That was that decided and we will be having a meeting with our line manager next week to discuss all what was said between us.

Checkmate - thought I'd finished rewriting the last chapter but decided to give my hero and heroine some conflict and get them arguing right near the end of the book. Will do that today then back to rewriting Chapter 1. Should be ready to print and send off to the RNA by the end of August, the deadline. I am hoping to get it to them by the time I go to the conference or at least the week after that. Talking of the conference, I got my timetable for it on Wednesday, and ever the keen person I am I have already chosen the talks I want to attend and emailed them to the organiser Jan. All I have to do now is to book my train tickets, that I'll do at the weekend, now that I now what time it starts and what time it ends. I can't wait.

Well, must look like I'm working now. Back soon.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Changes at work

There are going to be changes at work here soon as regards to our opening hours to staff and students. At the moment, we open Monday - Thursdays from 10am to 5pm and Fridays from 10am to 4pm but now that our dept has merged with the one downstairs we have to go with their hours which is 9-5 all week. This doesn't affect me much as I try to get here for 9am as it is but it's my 2 colleagues whom it will affect the most. Both have children but one of them has religious routines to do each morning and the other has a teenage daughter who is at the vulnerable age that things can go wrong and can be wrongly influenced by her peers and she wants to be there for her going to school in the morning. We are going to have an informal meeting in 10 mins or so to discuss this and how we can accommodate these changes.

Tell you at the weekend what was suggested.

Back to work now.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Sugar or Sweeteners

Which is the worst evil, do you think? Well, I thought it was sugar, which is why I swapped eating tictacs with Smints but now I'm not too sure. I recently discovered that aspartame, which is in Smints, isn't good for people with high blood pressure (me) so I decided to swap those for another mint which has another sweetener called Sorbitol in. Ever since I started to eat those mints, they seemed to have a laxative effect on me, so I read about sorbitol in my Diet Dr's book, and what did it say were the side effects of sorbitol? Diarrhoea, flatulence and laxative. All 3 which I have been suffering from this last week or so, and especially the last few days at home. So I am now stopping eating those mints and am going back to eating tictacs, although in affect they are just lumps of sugar. I did read in the book that some sweeteners are even sweeter than sugar so people eat more of it, which is bad for them. You just can't win, can you with these things?

Must go back to work.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Composting last day

Yesterday was the last day of National Composting Week and I'm a day late. Well, here I am again. What do you need to start composting? Either a compost caddy with compostable caddy bags or if you can't afford those then maybe an empty ice cream tub with the caddy bags or even if you can't afford those bags then next best thing is normal plastic bags (although these aren't very good for the environment as they take 1000 years to rot down). And you need a compost bin or two. You can put your scraps in the caddy box/tub and once it's full then empty it into the bin in your garden. Note: don't put whole potatoes in the compost bin, cut them up then put them in as my mum did this and has found that the potato has sprouted inside the bin. Ho hum. After a while the tub will smell so you have to throw it away. The beauty of using compost caddies with their compostable bags is that you can use the bags time and again and then compost it and it doesn't make the caddy smell.

Well, that was my talk on composting for the week. I shall go back to writing about my writing and health issues.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Composting Day 4

So what else can you compost. Egg shells, which are crushed. Although mum has tried this and they don't break down that well, so she is now using them to put round plants to ward off slugs. Apparently slugs don't like/can't crawl over crunchy things, which is why shells deter them.

The other thing I found out, which is good for compost is urine. Yes, don't laugh. I saw this on a tv programme last year about a reporter and his family who were reducing their carbon footprint over a year and they were told that urine can help compost become better. The reporter actually went down to his compost at night and peed on it but afterwards we thought what he could've done was to pee in a pot then take that to the compost. Much more convenient. Not that you will get me putting my urine on the compost. Be rather smelly, although would probably save flushing water a lot of the time. The reporter and his family did manage to reduce their carbon footprint over the year a hell of a lot, mainly by giving up their car for the period, and ended up not wanting it back. They used bikes and walking for transport, which is much environmentally friendly.

Well, I shall finish these compost talks tomorrow or Sunday at home. I do hope that someone has read these and learnt something from them. Please let me know if you have.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Composting Day 3

I forgot to say that you can also compost teabags and tissues, but with tissues that mustn't be contaminated with oil or disease (eg used to blow noses). I have also read that you shouldn't compost potatoes either although my mum does, and I think she has just found out why. She has recently discovered shoots growing up in one of the compost bins and has to find out what is the cause. She thinks it could be the potatoes/peelings she's put in there.

You don't need to keep running up to your garden every time you have something for the compost, you need to have a compost caddy in your kitchen to put the scraps in every day and once it fills up then empty it to the compost bin. Sainsbury's do a compost caddy with biodegradable compost bags for this purpose, but if you can't afford to buy one of these then the cheaper version is what my mum used to use and that's an empty ice cream tub. You will need to wash it out after a while because it will smell but it is handy to use. If you can afford to buy a proper caddy and bags then it is all better for the environment.

So that is my compost talk for today. Shall try to think up something to say tomorrow and rest of the week.

Back to work now.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Composting Day 2

Here I am again. So what can you compost? Well, basically they fall into 2 categories - greens and browns. I can't remember all that you can but greens covers fruit and veg peelings, and browns covers papers, card. Somewhere in there you can put in leaves, branches etc from the garden, and you can also compost any cotton things such as cotton undies (this I found out from an interview with Bob Flowerdew in a recent New Consumer Guide). So I might try that when my next pair of undies go to the wall. You need a good mix of greens and browns to make a good compost otherwise the compost won't turn out that good. You can buy compost bins at your local garden centre. We have 2 in our garden so whilst one composts down during the colder weather we can fill the other one up and vice versa.

I shall tell you another ridiculous story I read in the paper last week. A woman had lost her allotment because she wanted to use natural compost instead of weedkiller which probably has lots of toxic chemicals in, which in turn probably would ruin the plants as well as the weeds. I ask you. The Government wants people to try to help the climate by advertising a Climate change website yet councils are urging people to do the opposite and put fruit and veg on the landfill and pollute the air with toxic chemicals. What do we do, eh?

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

National Compost Week

It's National Compost Week this week. If you have a garden and are a keen gardener, you should have a compost bin or two to put all those fruit and veg peelings you use at home. If not, don't delay and get one today. One of my passions is helping the environment and composting is basically recycling any food scraps to use in your garden.

I want to blog here each day about composting this week and today I'm starting with a ridiculous story I read in the paper last week. I can't remember which borough it what is but a grocer was doing what he thought was the right thing and was putting all his old rotten fruit and veg on his own compost bin. His council didn't like that and has told him that he has to put it in with the rest of his rubbish, which then goes onto landfill. I ask you. The government wants us to recycle and not fill up landfills so quickly, yet one person who I believe was doing the right thing, gets told the opposite. It made me wonder how on earth that council found out about what the grocer was doing in the first place. Mm....

Shall blog tomorrow about what you can and cannot compost.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Another rejection

I got a rejection from Chicken House on Wednesday. Which was strange because on Monday I emailed them to ask if they'd received my ms as it had been 3 months since I'd sent it. They had got it but due to an influx of mss they were still reading their December submissions and hadn't got round to mine yet (submitted in Jan). 2 days later I got my ms rejected. It made me wonder if the chase up email I sent prompted the rejection. Never mind. It's still with one more publisher, and I have 2 others in mind. Also I have decided that I might try to submit it to educational publishers since the book is based in school. I shall look at those in the Yearbook at the weekend.

In the meantime, I am still working hard on Checkmate and have been revising chapters 3 and 4 this week. I will type them up tomorrow and read through them later in the weekend. I am also writing/emailing letters to magazines about things that interest me in them. So far nothing published yet but I live in hope this year. I am going to draft a letter to one mag today and also start an article about my organic trials so far in diary format. Not decided which mag I might submit it to yet.

Well, must look like I am working now.

Will write here about my organic and healthy living experiences at the weekend.