Silly Saturday – How to Make New Friends

Lonely in Lockdown? No need to be, the new Minister for Fun, when interviewed today, said there was no need for people to be lonely in Lockdown just because they are not allowed to see real people, they can make new friends. You can make new friends out of anything and on the government website you can see some suggestions – here is a sneak preview.

Sewing
Gold Foil

Plastic
Knitting

Give your new friend a Covid Coiffure
Your old clothes
Plaster

Inflated
Deflated

Still stuck for ideas? There is always Lego.

Silly Saturday – Season of Sustainability

Are you ready to recycle Christmas? Whether you want to save money or the planet the Xmas season is to be avoided. Our consumption of pastry and plastic increases drastically at this time of year, followed after Christmas by throwing most of it away. Even that which we cannot see, gas and electricity, is used in abundance. This is partly the fault of the earth’s axis in the northern hemisphere; it is winter and the nights are long, we need heat and light, but do we need all our houses lit up like Las Vegas with generators pumping air into giant inflatable snowmen? Bring back Scrooge…  Most people complain that their councils haven’t put up enough lights, not too many. Of course it is the colourful lights that make dark winter afternoons more bearable…

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Perhaps you can still have fun with a guilt free Christmas. One of the few things Prince Charles and I have in common is that our worries about the environment were laughed at in years gone by… My favourite part of Christmas is unwrapping presents carefully and folding the paper ready for ironing and reuse next year. Now even wrapping paper is bad, shiny and plasticised, we have to use plantain leaves instead.

And what gift is wrapped inside? Our love of cute and fun presents has encouraged the passage of thousands ( I don’t claim the statistics to be accurate ) of container ships full of plastic rubbish. Let’s all make our own presents and decorations or buy them from charity shops and give aunty back the vase you gave her last year which she dumped at the Red Cross shop. Last year we did Secret Santa for the adults, this year we are doing the same except we have to get gifts from charity shops – I’ll let you know in the new year if it’s a disaster!

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Last year I crocheted an advent calendar for a little person; I don’t claim to have designed it, I do claim it does not look quite like the picture in the Christmas crochet book I bought at the knitting shop. I made another one this year for his little brother, which looks even less like the illustration. The key point; it is in line with government policy on child obesity, there are no chocolates in the pockets; I cut little pictures out of recycled Christmas cards. My next project is knitted crackers – the sort with a joke inside, not the sort you eat with cheese.

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The best decorations are those our ancestors used for Yuletide, totally organic and natural, holly and ivy. If the holly in your garden bears no berries, creep round to your neighbours after dark and surreptitiously snip off some branches. You can also pick up odd branches that have fallen off the trees in the park during windy weather and stick a few sprigs of holly in to make a table decoration.

Whether you knit grandma a scarf with huge needles and chunky wool or create exquisite treasure boxes with your wood turning skills, home made presents show you care – or that you are flat broke. If you are an author you can give friends and family autographed copies of your own books, whether they want one or not. Cyberspouse says at least it’s one way of getting rid of them.

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If you don’t fancy DIY gifts there are still environmentally friendly alternatives. Have your children got too many toys? It’s probably a bit late for this Christmas, but start next year stashing away surplus toys; by next Christmas they will have forgotten them and you can rewrap them.

One year we gave the elderly relatives (who were always saying they didn’t need anything ) gifts from World Vision, but they were a little confused. This idea can backfire if the receiver is upset they aren’t getting a real goat to keep, or insulted that you have given them a toilet.

https://www.worldvision.org.uk/ways-give/buy-gift/

For more ideas to help the environment follow Carol Taylor’s regular blog.

https://carolcooks2.com/category/environment/

What are the best or worst home made presents you have given or received? Are you making your own decorations?

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Silly Saturday on Sunday – Supermarket Slash

Do you envy your mother or grandmother who just had to plan what to have for dinner that would be nourishing for her family? In that mythical time people talk about on Facebook – ‘I’m glad I grew up in the fifties, forties, thirties, 1890s etc.’ When everybody was happy and knew what they were having for dinner; roast on Sunday and the other six days a regular weekly roster that surely included a hearty stew and bangers and mash. We still have to eat, but the happiness of our families is the least of our worries.

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Do you dare to take part in Supermarket Slash? It’s the same as Supermarket Dash only you have to put as little as possible in your trolley.

First Stop meat aisle. If you are a vegetarian go straight to the next aisle.

If you are a carnivore have you got a good reason to be one?

FOR: We know humans are omnivorous and can eat anything, that is why they live all over the world and over the millennia have tried every diet going from blood to berries.

AGAINST: In a recent documentary viewers were shocked to discover that meat actually comes from killed animals; one person’s pet is another person’s dinner.

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Still going down the meat aisle? Is that chicken free range, was that pig outdoor reared before he was chopped. You have found a nice free range chicken and some Scottish beef, but how is it wrapped? Can that packaging be recycled?

Take your empty trolley and catch up with the vegetarians on the dairy aisle. Feel smug because scientists told us we were misinformed for decades about margarine – it’s bad, natural is better. But is that milk organic, does it come in a plastic bottle? Cheese omelette for dinner, but what about the hens, were they battery operated?

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Catch up with the vegans in grains and pulses aisle. Can’t go wrong here, or can you? How much precious water does it take to grow rice? Go straight to tofu, but how many acres of lush dairy pasture or verdant forest have to be ploughed up to grow enough tofu? Jams and spreads, what could go wrong here, a peanut butter sandwich would be filling, but read the ingredients – palm oil is OUT, put the jar back and search for 100% peanuts.

How many items do you have in your trolley, don’t go to the checkout yet, have you scrutinised the ingredients on every packet and tin for hidden sugar and dodgy additives?

If you have anything left there is one more consideration. How did all the food get to the supermarket? In big diesel guzzling trucks…

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You are out of the game, go home and start all over again. Follow the recent advice from the Chief Medical Officer on combating childhood obesity; eat only that which you have killed or grown yourself; in certain circumstances it is acceptable to pick up road kill. If going out hunting is not really your scene you could rescue some chickens from a battery farm; you would still have to kill them when their laying days were over, but it will not be so hard to catch them.

Let us know how you get on.