Recycling Lives rebuilding lives while doing their bit to save the planet

Recycling share of the week , but this is more about recycling people.

Life & Soul Magazine

Recycling Lives is helping to change the world through recycling waste and so avoiding landfills, and providing vulnerable people with opportunities.

Recycling Lives uses its commercial operations, primarily in the recycling and waste management sector, to create social good by directly supporting and sustaining its own social and charitable programmes.

The award-winning recyclers aim to help vulnerable people – including the homeless and ex-offenders – to work their way back to independent living. Recycling Lives does this by offering disadvantaged people a holistic six-stage programme of accommodation, training, education and work experience opportunities, which guarantees permanent work and accommodation of their own.

These programmes work to reduce reoffending rates, homelessness and food poverty through offender rehabilitation, a residential charity and food redistribution.

Learning how to recycle metal and drive a fork-lift truck are addressed alongside basics such as literacy and numeracy, which are so vital in everyday life, and food budgeting…

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Friday Flash Fiction – Dark Dialogue

The Lodger


Jamie Ferrous: Hi Mum, this is Vlad from work, I told him he could stay for a few weeks; you said you wanted a lodger.

Mother: Oh, er um, I didn’t mean straight away, I thought we would discuss it with your sisters first… we haven’t got that basement room ready yet, it’s a bit dark.

Jamie: Yeah but that’s the point innit, Vlad works nights, he needs somewhere quiet and dark to sleep during the day.

Vlad: It’s very kind of you Mrs. Ferrous, I won’t be any trouble, I don’t play loud music and I eat on my shift at the hospital.

Mother: Is that a Polish name, you sound English.

Vlad: Mum was East European.

Mother: Put the kettle on Jamie, let’s make Vlad feel at home.

Jamie: So he can stay then?

Mother: Let’s call it a trial for two weeks, after all, it may not suit him; have you told Vlad what the girls are like?

Jamie: That’s why it will be good to have another bloke around, I’m fed up with being outnumbered.

Mother: Are you on the same ward as Jamie?

Vlad: No I’m a porter, taking bodies to the mortuary and all that.

Mother: Goodness.

Vlad: Someone has to do it and it’s only till I’ve saved enough for uni.

Mother: What are you hoping to study?

Vlad: Medicine, so I’ll be working with live bodies eventually.

Jamie: Tea or coffee Vlad?

Vlad: I’m fine thanks, I’ve got a bottle of water with me.

Mother: Are you on a health kick?

Vlad: You could say that, if you saw some of the bodies we have to heave onto the trolleys you would understand why I like to keep myself trim.

Mother (admiringly): You certainly look very athletic, a bit pale though, but we all are still at this time of year.

Jamie: Except for Aunty Vivian and Uncle Ben.

Mother (enviously): They spent most of the winter cruising.

Vlad: I prefer misty mountains, I’m a winter person.

Mother: I bet you’re from Yorkshire, with that accent.

Vlad: Yes, East coast.

Mother: Oh we had a lovely holiday in Whitby years ago, do you remember Jamie?

Jamie: Yes, it rained.

Mother: We went to that nice fish and chip shop.

Vlad: What a coincidence, that’s my home town.

Jamie: Can we show Vlad the room now, we’ve got to get off to work soon.

Mother: Yes, of course… oh that’s lucky, sounds like the girls are home, they’ve been to the cinema.

Three teenage girls in unison: Ohh… er… hello… uhm…

Jamie: Vlad, these are my idiot baby sisters. Girls, this is our new lodger.

Girls: oooh…

Vlad: You didn’t tell me how beautiful they were, very very pleased to meet you all.




Brief Appearance


Do you ever spare a thought for the fruit seller and the uniformed policeman? You know the ones, they always appear in action movies and fast moving crime series on television. There is always a fruit stall in the path of a car chase; whether the hero is chasing or escaping, he screeches round the corner straight into the hapless fruit seller. If he’s lucky he escapes death, but his stall is smashed, his fruit rolling down the street. A day’s earnings lost, perhaps his livelihood… and that is all we ever know of his life. The hero cares nothing about the man and all his dependents, he’s too busy grinning at the sight of the criminal crashing into a plate glass window. Another business ruined, the shop owner showered with splinters of glass and someone else’s blood, suffering from shock at the sight of the criminal’s head thrust through the windscreen, almost separated from his body. But the viewer has already left the scene, unaware of the shop keeper’s future struggles with post traumatic stress.




But there is more than one criminal the hero has to chase, uniformed police have now arrived, but their role will be brief. The slightest brush with the villain’s vehicle and the police patrol car rolls over, crushed, occupants killed instantly. Our hero spins round deftly to continue his pursuit.



Often our hero is a maverick secret agent, answerable to no one except perhaps M, if he is James Bond. If our hero is a plain clothes detective he may condescend to return briefly to the police station, before meeting his glamorous girlfriend. In real life he would have a mountain of paperwork and a great deal of explaining to do. But our hero does not hear other officers talking in shocked tones about the death of their colleagues. He slips in to see his boss and avoids the collection going round for the families of the dead officers. It’s just another day for him.



Kew Gardens reopens world’s largest glasshouse to visitors after 5-year restoration

My garden share of the week and this place is a lot more exciting than our tiny ‘sun lounge’. Kew Gardens are part of my early memories, as my parents were renting the top half of a house they were always taking me out for my fresh air and exercise.
The last time we went there we were in the Princess Diana glass house I believe, our youngest ( three years old ) sat on a large cactus – there was a collective gasp from a party of Japanese tourists!

Life & Soul Magazine

London’s Kew Gardens reopens its famed Temperate House – home 10,000 plants from of temperate climates around the world – today after a five-year restoration.

More than 69,000 items have been cleaned and replaced in the vast Grade I-listed building, billed as the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse and home to some of the rarest plants from the world’s temperate regions.

Wildlife champion Sir David Attenborough officially opened the Temperate House on Wednesday, ahead of today’s public opening.

Describing the Temperate House as a “breathtakingly beautiful space, Sir David Attenborough told the BBC: “Plant species can go extinct just like animal species can go extinct, [so] this is a very important institution.”

The £41million ($56 million) restoration project – with 15,000 new panes of glass put in – required 180 km (112 miles) of scaffolding, 5,280 liters of paint and more than 400 people working on it.

The glasshouse was closed for the works, with a…

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The Gallery

Just opened – no words, just pictures of all sorts to browse. 

BrizzleLass Books

Welcome back to The Bookshelf. Each week I feature an author or book blogger and talk about their bookshelf with them. It’s a light-hearted, book focused, Q&A.

I’m pleased to welcome Janet Gogerty to the blog today…

What was the first book you remember having on your bookshelf?

Probably a pony book, I read nothing but pony books for a while, but never got the pony. The earliest books I remember being read to me were Noddy and Rupert Bear.

What was the most recent book you added to the bookshelf?

Life, Death and Vanilla Slices’ by Jenny Eclair. A friend passed it on to me, it promises to be very dark and funny.

Which book have you most recently read from your bookshelf?

From my Kindle bookshelf ‘Love Set in Stone’ by Staci Trolio. A romantic, sexy fun thriller with the most unlikely hero…

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Friday Flash Fiction-A Tale of Two Towns

The couple winding their way down Glastonbury Tor were in colourful contrast to the middle aged couple, in their matching National Trust green anoraks, marching up the hill. She wore flowing skirts in every hue from lilac to violet and her Peruvian hand knitted jacket brightened the grey afternoon. He wore trousers of a rusty, rustic indeterminate material and a greengage green jacket lovingly hand woven by her.

‘I can’t believe it’s nearly Beltaine’ she said.

‘No,’ he replied ‘if this weather doesn’t warm up I can’t see new life arriving anywhere.’

She shivered. ‘I’ll be glad to get back to a nice warm cosy yurt.’

‘We’d better get a move on or the kids will be back.’

‘No they won’t Hengist,’ she smiled ‘Flint’s got maypole practice after school and Amethyst’s going round to her friend’s yurt.’

‘Well Aurelia, it should be a very cosy yurt.’P1060792

‘What’s for dinner Mum?’ yelled the children as they arrived back later.

‘Five bean stew and ground elder crumble; call your dad while I check if that wool’s finished steeping.’

Aurelia reached the reclaimed animal trough in the corner of the field as Hengist climbed carefully over the stile.

‘Only three eggs today, Hetty and Lotty could do with some sunshine as much as the rest of us.’

‘What do you think of this colour?’ she asked him, peering into the trough.

‘Looks the same shade of green as the last lot.’

‘I’m going to try making some new dyes in the summer, berries are going to be in this year.’

After dinner they settled down for a quiet family evening.

‘Has anyone seen my crystals?’ sighed Aurelia.

‘Help your mother look Flint; Amethyst, time for flute practice.’

‘Dad, will you play your lute?’



Later, as the children settled down to sleep, the parents chatted quietly.

‘Did you read that letter Flint brought back from Miss Fairweather, Hengist?’

“Yes, I think we’d  both better go and see her. The only one with a problem is her. She was glad enough when he got the boys interested in maypole dancing, just because he explained the origins of the maypole… anyway, how was your new patient?’

‘She was a funny soul… I said to her

I’m alternative and herbal, not homeopathic, I do strong doses… no there’s no need to worry about hemlock and digitalis if you know what you’re doing.’

‘Old Bob said to thank you, his arthritis has hardly bothered him this winter, he’s going to recommend you to all his friends. Maybe you can give up your Saturday job now.’

‘But I’ve got to liking it and we needed that money over the winter.’

‘Now I’m hedge laying again there’s no need’ he pleaded.

‘I do like it Hengist, getting dressed up, having a laugh with the girls and it gets me out of the yurt.’


On Saturday morning Aurelia walked down to the town with her large hand woven bag over her shoulder. As she got on the local bus there was a musical tinkling from her earrings and bangles. She greeted other locals and after driving to Street they soon arrived at their destination, Clarks Shopping Village.

She entered the ladies and went into the disabled cubicle where there was more room. Carefully she took off her jacket of undyed local wool, rolled up her burnt orange and berry red skirt and slipped off the leather sandals Hengist had made. She stepped into her uniform, squeezed her feet into court shoes, gathered up her black tresses in a neat bun at the nape of her neck and finally put on a subtle pink lipstick and a suggestion of eye shadow. Aurelia walked out ready for a busy day at Marks and Spencer shopping outlet.

‘Hello Linda’ said her supervisor. ‘Till Four today.’

On Till Three her friend greeted her, caught her up with the latest gossip from the soaps and passed on her celebrity magazines. After a busy morning they went off for lunch at the restaurant.

‘It’s only once a week’ said Aurelia, as she ordered a Megaburger with extra French fries.




A Good Day Out

Where would you like to go for a day out? A popular choice in England is to visit a National Trust House. The National Trust is a charity which is over one hundred and twenty years old and owns and cares for 59 villages, 775 miles of coastline and vast tracts of hills and fields, all free for everyone to roam. Whatever your political leanings and thoughts on charities, I’m sure many would agree that these lands are safer with the National Trust than with governments, big businesses or greedy billionaires.



Despite all their other conservation work, Big Houses are what people most often associate with the National Trust, donated by landowners come upon hard times, or just moving with the times. Whatever their ancestors would have thought, the common people are now free to roam their estates.  Not actually free; you have to pay to go in A Big House, unless you are one of the four million members; a few visits each year will make your membership worthwhile.



One thing is never guaranteed on your day out, the weather, but that would never deter the average member.


Once you have passed through the portal, you will enter a traffic free zone, except for the occasional buggy for those not up to striding round the whole estate.  Your children can run around on vast lawns, visit the adventure playground, do school holiday  activities or say hello to some pigs. Gardeners can admire walled vegetable gardens and beautiful borders, nature lovers can enjoy very old trees.







If it pours with rain go and look around the house, read about the owners, peep at family photos and ask volunteers questions. There will probably be an interesting exhibition to look at. There will certainly be sweeping staircases to ascend and descend and narrow stairs to climb as you visit downstairs where the servants worked, or upstairs where they lived.
















No visit would be complete without tea and cake or a nice lunch. This will be in the stable block, the old kitchen or the orangery, always a restaurant with character. Then you can rummage through the second hand bookshop which could be tucked away in an outbuilding. The Shop is a must; tasteful and expensive souvenirs, tea towels to bone china. Don’t miss the books, there are bound to be real life stories about the lady of the  house or the black sheep of the family.


Perhaps you have visited Durlswood, you may or may not find it in the National Trust guide book, but you can read the mysterious happenings of 2014 in the novella Durlswood, part of the Someone Somewhere collection.