Compost Awareness Week

Another random one, for which I apologise, but this sort of thing is considered important to many people within our little community, and their views are always worth assigning space to, so that’s the apology over.

This week is International Compost Awareness Week, an initiative from Canada.

Composting is a relatively easy way of reducing the amount of household waste that would needlessly be put into a rubbish bin by approximately a third.

Those tea bags, egg boxes, vegetable peelings and little cardboard tubes that make your toilet paper roll create the harmful greenhouse gas, methane, when sent to landfill. This is because, when waste is sent to landfill, air cannot reach it. When composted above ground instead, oxygen helps the waste to decompose aerobically, which means that less methane is produced. Methane is 24 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide, and aren’t we all getting our knickers in a twist over the effects of carbon dioxide on, and in, our atmosphere?

The added bonus being, of course, free fertiliser in a few months’ time, which will not only increase the health of your soil, improving the quality of your plants and vegetables, but will reduce the need for you to condition your soil with harsh chemicals. Additionally, because compost will reduce the evaporation from your garden, it therefore also reduces the amount of water that you need to use on it (by an average of 30 per cent). The finished product acts as an able substitute for peat-based products (peat being a limited resource which takes a lifetime to form; UK extraction alone produces just under half a million tonnes of C02).

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the assumed ‘waste’ from gardens and kitchens accounts for nearly a quarter of the USA’s waste stream. Annually, leaves and trimmings amount to a (granted, still huge) smidgen over 56 million tonnes of waste. Disappointingly, only 64 per cent of garden waste and a dismal 2.6 per cent of wasted food was composted in 2007, although the figures are rising. (Have a look at these if you need encouragement.)

Worldwide, the statistics are similarly depressing: compostable material in landfill sites causes over three per cent of Australia’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions, for example. Every home in Ireland produces over a tonne of waste each year. Of this, 32 per cent could be composted.

The benefits of composting are obvious: perfectly recyclable, organic material would be diverted from the waste stream, reducing collection and disposal costs (think of those big, noisy vehicles that pick it all up – encased in plastic bags – and the toxins they emit on their routine travels), and valuable landfill space would be conserved. Plus, you turn your waste into something useful from which more plants, trees and vegetables can grow. It’s the ultimate means of recycling.

Just think of all those nut shells, the pet hair, finger- and toe-nail clippings… If it was once a living ‘thing’, it can most likely be composted. You don’t even have to do anything other than throw it all in a heap; ‘lazy’ (anaerobic) composting may well produce the slowest turnaround of fertiliser, but, I’m led to believe, it will be all the richer for your non-interference.

If you ensure that you throw in a good mixture of greens and browns (greens being grass cuttings, kitchen scraps, and the like; browns being twigs, leaves, saw dust, newspaper, etc.), add water occasionally to keep the mix damp, and turn it every once in a while to let the air in, the process quickens considerably.

If you’d like to win a top-of-the-range Aerobin composter, assuming you’re a UK resident and over 18, click here before midnight tonight (Wednesday 5 May).

So, blogging as someone still relatively new to composting but very pleased with the results attained from minimal effort, I’d be keen to hear if you compost already, what you put in, if you’ll start… and, for the sake of frivolity, songs that (loosely) contain in their title something that you can put in a composter.

Here are five to start you off:

– Bob Dylan, ‘Buckets of Rain’
– Coldplay, ‘Strawberry Swing’
– Eagles, ‘Waiting in the Weeds’
– Kings of Leon, ‘Dusty’
– Nirvana, ‘Territorial Pissings’

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

73 thoughts on “Compost Awareness Week”

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  2. We don’t compost here. I don’t know why. My father and his wife always composted and used the resulting fertilizer in their garden. They had a house just outside of NY. But I grew up right in the heart of The Big Apple, where we had no space for gardens and no need for composting. It is a habit that my wife and I have never gotten into. We really should do so.

  3. I might be the bad pupil in “our little community”, ‘le vilain petit canard’, as we say here (that is someone in a community that makes the community feel ashamed of them), for I don’t compost – at least in my main residence, we do it actually somewhere else, but only for grass cuttings, leaves, hedge trimmings…

    Why? A garden that is not big enough? The fear that the compost could stink? The fear that it could attract flies? Attract all the (evil) cats of my neighbours? The lack of time? Hmm… Actually, no. In all honesty, it’s just the lack of motivation, or laziness. 😐

    But as always this post made me think and do some research. Here, some advice for beginners (like me, one day, maybe…).

    I learnt that there are things you cannot compost:

    – Diseased plants
    – Pernicious weeds
    – Citrus peels
    – Walnut leaves
    – needles from conifers
    – Pet wastes/dog and (evil) cat feces
    – Ashes (from coal)
    – Sawdust from chemically-treated wood products
    – Of course, meat, bones, fish, fat, oil…


    – ‘Ashes To Ashes’ (wood), David Bowie
    – ‘One More Cup Of Coffee’ (coffee grounds), Bob Dylan
    – ‘Green Grass’, Tom Waits
    – ‘The Banana Boat Song’, Harry Belafonte :))

    Anti-songs: 😉

    – ‘Ashes To Ashes’ (coal), David Bowie
    – ‘Lemon Tree’, Fools Garden
    – ‘Fat Old Sun’, Pink Floyd

  4. fed,

    i don’t compost presently but will think about it. you’ve convinced me to at least think about it!

    my reasons for not composting in my garden already:

    1. my local council collects my kitchen and garden waste along with the other things for recycling.

    2. i hate creepy crawlies!

    but i would like free fertiliser. buying compost this year has really set me back.

    love the video!


  5. I realize that I live in a (over)regulated, organized part of the world. We presently have three different waste containers: One for waste, that can’t be used anywhere else – this is collected and burned = creates energy for heating. Then we have a container for paper, and one with two rooms: one for plastic, and one for tin cans etc. Dangerous waste (paint, batteries, electronics, etc), as well as “garden-waste” that you can’t use, are brought to large recycle stations. And then we compost “green” waste ourselves, in the garden – potato peels and so on. We produce garbage, yes, but only a very small part is placed in “deposits”/landfills.

    My conclusion must be, that a public waste-plan, that organises and recycles, reuses, and provide the citizens with easy-to-use containers etc. is essential for good waste handling.

    A compost-song… I just can’t think of any. 🙁

  6. I’ve been composting for many years now.

    My tip would be not too be too fussy about what you throw in there. The ratio between greens and browns is not so important and you soon find out if you have too much of one or the other because the compost will be too wet with too much green material and too dry with too much brown.

    I’ve never had a problem with mice or rats. In my experience, this is what puts people off.

    Everyone should compost.

  7. If being too lazy to clear the autumn leaves from under the hedge counts as composting then, yes, I compost.

    I’ve went a bit daft with vegetable seeds this year so no doubt I’ll be wishing that I had made my own compost in a few weeks time. I got those free seeds from the BBC that you mentioned a couple of Blogs back. The courgettes and dwarf french beans are coming along a treat on the kitchen window sill.

    Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘Soily’
    Super Furry Animals – ‘Ice Hockey Hair’
    Troggs – ‘Night of the Long Grass’
    Traffic – ‘Paper Sun’
    Squeeze – ‘Another Nail in my Heart’

  8. Three years ago I began only to buy recyclable materials and goods, and eventually no longer needed a garbage receptacle from the city, so I decided to save even more by cancelling my garbage services. Unfortunately, they informed me that I must pay for services anyway, by law. Not cool! :/

    I’m also in the coffee industry, I found that when you roast coffee beans, a husk is removed which makes for an excellent compost, fire logs, worm farming, rearing animals and flowers love it!!! Currently, most coffee companies spend lots of money to send these skins to the landfills. I don’t get it!?! So I’ve created a cool little product out of it so to turn this garbage into profits! I call it “Silver Skin”. 😀

  9. I’ll have to admit I don’t do as much as I can. I’ll take this opportunity to try harder in the future.

    Rocky Mountain Way – Joe Walsh
    They Paved Paradise – Counting Crows
    Strawberry Fields – The Beatles

  10. Mr David Gilmour, along with health and say that is an inspiration to musicians like me and some others, I am writing to ask you one wish. Not mine, it is from a friend who always dreamed of seeing you play in Chile, in my country, from the small to want to know.

    Thanks. 🙂

  11. My family lives in a flat with no garden, so we don’t compost at home, but we throw our organic trash into the proper bin, or we give it to a friend of my father who has a piece of land outside the city and cultivates it organically.

    Due to the lack of jobs, I’m still spending half of each month at home and half with my boyfriend and his family. They live quite far from the city, so, when I’m there, I help them cultivating their piece of land and composting to produce fertilizer.

    We use many different organic materials: grass, prunings, rotten fruits, chicken dung, wood ash, that gives nitrogen to the soil, and some water from time to time, to help the fermentation process.

    It has an awful smell, but it really works. 😀

    We have been using it for months now and (at least, when we managed to protect them from parasites and slugs) our vegetables have grown fine.

    Speaking about parasites, if you’re interested in it, a couple of months ago we discovered a new organic product that seems actually more effective than everything else we tried in the past.

    In Italy it’s known as “poltiglia bordolese”, I don’t know why. The English translation could be something like “Bordelaise mush”. I searched the web to put here the link, but I couldn’t find it.

    Anyway, it should be a liquid mixture of lime and copper, so it’s a fungicide. Here it can be easily found in gardening shops.

    Its French name should be “bouillie bordelaise”, maybe Michèle has heard about it. 🙂

    1. Thanks for that, Alessandra; I had a look and found that it’s simply ‘Bordeaux mixture’ in English.

    2. It has an awful smell, but it really works. 😀

      Oh, I can imagine that smell :))

    3. In Italy it’s known as “poltiglia bordolese”, I don’t know why.

      Alessandra, it’s called ‘bouillie bordelaise’/’Bordeaux mixture’ because the ‘recipe’ has been discovered in 1880 by a chimist (Ulysse Gayon) and a botanist (Alexis Millardet), both living/working in Bordeaux (South West France) and has been first used to protect vineyards of Bordelais (the region) from mildiou in 1885.

    4. So it’s simply “Bordeaux mixture”.

      I insisted on searching the adjective, instead of the name of the city, that’s why I didn’t find it. :v

      Thanks Michèle for your explanation. If it worked on the famous Bordelais vineyards, it should work on our poor organic vegetables, too. :))

  12. Compost songs. :))

    Rotten Apple – Alice in Chains
    The Lemon Song – Led Zeppelin
    Cut My Hair – The Who
    Funky Dung (Atom Heart Mother) – Pink Floyd

  13. Very funny video FEd. I like George and his friends.

    Well, seriously I do compost and I think it’s a right thing to do. 🙂

    Maybe, everyone and in particularly, who has a garden, should try to do. I think that it helps us to change our bad habits like throw everything in waste. At least, this is a very good post to shake up our awareness.


    About songs: Now I haven’t an idea, so I’ll try to find them.

    PS: About “The Age Of Stupid”, this Friday, near my town, it will be shown and I’m going to watch it.

    In “Rock We Trust”. 8)

    Bye, Hydrea

    1. I hope you enjoy The Age of Stupid, Hydrea.

      If anyone wishes to see it, if you’re in the UK, you can watch it for free until the end of today – here.

    2. If you’re in the UK, you can watch it for free until the end of today – here.

      Just to let anyone know that the link works fine outside the UK too. (I could watch it here in France.)

    3. Thanks FEd!

      Here’s my list:

      “Orange Crush” by R.E.M.
      “Devils & Dust” by Bruce Springsteen
      “My Secret Garden” by Depeche Mode
      “Sowing The Seeds Of Love” by Tears for Fears

      Oh, I found this link.

      Enjoy. 🙂

    4. Just to let anyone know that the link works fine outside the UK too. (I could watch it here in France.)

      Good to know – thanks, Michèle.


      Compost! The (mini-)Musical is too funny. What a brilliant idea. Thank you for the link.

      This has to be the most gratifying newspaper headline I’ve seen in a while…

  14. Here is a slightly off topic question: I wonder what will happen to all the ballot papers once the counting of the election papers is complete. I bet they won’t be recycled.

    I Can Hear The Grass Grow – The Move

  15. This is funny, so I couldn’t resist.

    How about these?

    I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
    Pretty Paper – Roy Orbison
    Red, Red Wine – UB40
    Tea For Two – Ella Fitzgerald
    Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino
    Strawberry Fields – The Beatles
    Green, Green Grass of Home – Tom Jones
    I Like Dirt – Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Seaweed Song – Passion Pit
    Don’t Drink the Water – Dave Matthews Band
    Over the Eggshells – Mighty Mighty Bosstones

    We had fun in the office thinking of these. (It was a welcome break from talking about the election!) Sorry if I repeated any that were said already.

    We have a composter and a water butt at work. It’s a green office! We also collect plastic bottles, cans and paper. Every office should do likewise.

    1. Excellent effort, Stef. Add some ‘Sawdust Man’ – by Ben Kweller – and maybe some ‘Petals’ – by Hole or the Jackson Five – and I’d say you have a damn good mixture of green and browns there.

      Perhaps it could do with some scrunched up ‘Newspaper Man’ (Pete Seeger), too…

    2. Or maybe Paperback Writer by the Beatles? Or is that stretching it?



  16. I compost for more than 4 years now; it saves me a lot of money. Now it’s time to prepare the vegetable garden and I don’t have to buy compost (which is $4.00 a bag!!!), because I made it almost all year long. Only in the very cold months here in Canada, January, February and March, I don’t; I’m too lazy to go outside for some little things each time.

    So I’m proud; I do!!!

  17. We have a compost bin but to say lately, haven’t used it for a while. I thought we should compost again. Such guilt Fed!

    We also have a rain barrel which is screened to keep out debris from eavestroughs and mosquitoes from flourishing.

    In Ontario, we pay taxes for sewage water leaving the home. So, to save a bit of money, my brilliant wife uses a bucket to save water from the humidifier and use it outside as well as pure water for my humidor.

    Can’t think of a compost-ition! But I like the song someone brought up, Waiting For The Worms. Good One. 😛

  18. So how about a blog on David’s comments regarding Roger’s tour of “THE WALL”?

    I am not alone when I say: PLEASE PLAY WITH ROG, DAVE!

    1. I’m sorry to disappoint you.

      I’m sure you’re not alone, but I’m equally sure that you don’t have unanimous backing, either.

    2. I would LOVE to see David and Roger work together in some manner. The result would have to be wonderful. I don’t imagine it happening. Then again, the first time I heard about Floyd’s reunion appearance at Live 8, my response was: “Are you SURE about that? There’s so much animosity between those two.”

      Having been wrong about that, hopefully I’m wrong again.

  19. G’day FEd,

    I bought my first compost bin 15 years ago, I now have four of them. I live on 5000 sq/mt’s in the hills so I have a 11hp mulch-er as well. I don’t tip or burn anything green. I’ve also got a dog that gets all the scraps (that aren’t bad for her) and after she processes them, it goes into the doggy doo compost bit along with the bones. I don’t normally use the contents of this bin above ground, I use it first before spreading soil or mulch.

    I compost everything on your list and more. I shred anything that has mine or my family’s ID on it and compost it. Tissues and paper bags and of course all green waste go in. Every year I get 10 bags of chicken poo and about 4 of those go into the compost bins as well. I did invest in 2000 tiger worms when I moved to this site about 10 years ago and they’re still having parties in the bins.

    I process all the family’s waste on site as well with a septic tank for the toilets and a gray water tank for all other water. The septic has 3 pits where the fluid gets absorbed and the tank needs to be pumped approximately ever 10 years. The kitchen waste water has it’s own pit and I siphon this into one of the compost bins about every 6 months, this saves getting a truck traveling to get here. The gray water gets pumped out into an area where there are some rain forest figs growing, and growing very well with lots of bird life. Basically gray water to oxygen.

    One eyed song list to follow.

  20. Song, Reason

    Seamus, Read above post.
    Have a Cigar, The compost bin is the best place for one.
    Breathe, Gray water to oxygen, see above post.
    Coming Back to Life, This is what compost is for.
    Comfortably Numb, We all end up as compost one day.

    PS; all by the same band. 😉

  21. Hi,

    what a particular topic today, FEd.

    No composting in Italy, sorry, but it doesn’t exist a way to compost because we don’t have a lot of houses with a garden to fertilize and awareness of the meaning in the system.

    For just a miracle we use to separate glass from plastic and paper and NOT wherever (expecially in the South). But – in Italy – there is a rich, spread fantasy in finding unusual (not conventional!!!) places and locations for rubbish…


  22. Thinking of these helped to take my mind off the horrible election results…

    Golden Hair – Syd Barrett
    Newspaper Suit – Editors
    If Dirt Were Dollars – Don Henley
    Roots to Branches – Jethro Tull
    Slug – Ramones
    Hair of the Dog – Nazareth
    San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair) – Scott McKenzie

    1. Tell me about it, Fran. Bloody awful, isn’t it? I’ve been sending telepathic messages to Nick Clegg all day. Some of them have been quite forceful.

    2. I’ve been sending telepathic messages to Nick Clegg all day. Some of them have been quite forceful.

      You and me both, FEd.

      I am so frustrated about it too especially when some people said to me they did not vote. Grrrrr!

    3. I’ve been sending telepathic messages to Nick Clegg all day. Some of them have been quite forceful.

      I hope he listens, LOL.

      It feels like we’re Waiting For the Worms.

    4. It feels like we’re Waiting For the Worms.

      It really does.

      Someone mentioned the Dave Matthews Band earlier. How about ‘Ants Marching’ (to colonise Westminster)?

  23. Did you know there is a Compost Council of Canada…

    I do compost and have done for a number of years and we have three different garbage collections… food waste, recyclables and whatever’s left.


    2. Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast Leftovers…
    3. Apples and Oranges Skin…
    4. Brain Damaged…
    5. Candy and a Currant Bun
    6. Dogs 8|
    7. Pigs :/
    8. Cuttings from Granchester Meadows
    9. Seamus… well… shame to waste him 😕
    10. Sheep droppings…
    11. Whatever’s been Up the Khyber…
    12. Waiting for the Worms… good one!

    1. :)) Very good. I can imagine an army of small children telling their parents that, forget toys and bikes, they want composters and worms for Christmas.

  24. Tried it a couple of years ago but quickly put an end to it when rats began to appear… Bad idea if you’re not partial to rodents invading your space.

    Ben – Michael Jackson
    Love Stinks – J.Geils Band
    That Smell – Lynyrd Skynyrd

  25. My grandma composted in her little garden here in Germany, and so did my parents, and so do I. 🙂

    In Germany we have to separate our rubbish and compost organic stuff anyway (by law). We have 4 rubbish boxes: for paper, packages, compost (natural) waste and other stuff. Most is recycled. What can´t be recycled is burned in a huge refuse incineration plant, and this produces energy for electricity and heatings.

  26. Hi Ho All,

    I happily compost everything other than diseased plants (which I burn… wood heater in the house… then put the ash in either the compost or straight on the ground). Even large branches go in after I run them over with the mower… do this straight away as the green wood breaks up quite easily. What doesn’t, I burn.

    I have four bins at the moment. Two big ones that get all the usual scraps plus the occasional top up with lawn clippings and chook poo. They work six months, then stew six months, alternating between the two.

    The other two are permanent ones designed for long term composting for things such as the dog poo. They sit next to trees, breaking down directly into the soil instead of being spread on vegie patches etc. They are simple plastic bins with bottoms cut out and the bin buried a few inches down.

    To ‘hide’ them, I plant various vegies around the two big ones and painted the two small ones to make them ‘art’. This way I can move them to the where I eventually want the compost instead of having to cart the finished product.

    As a bonus, especially after adding grass clippings, I add urine (pee in a bottle and pour it on) as the urea helps the whole process so much quicker than just water and my urea is way cheaper than shop bought.

    Although we get mice, we would get them anyway (normal house block but in a farming community) so I make my yard owl friendly.

    As for music… Woody Guthrie’s “Dust Bowl Ballads”.

    Rock On

  27. Was home today flipping through the TV channels, came across a show about the restoration of the Beacon Theater in New York City. Last time I was there was in 1984 to see David, and it was really run down then. I did not know that it had been restored. Now it has been painstakingly returned to its original 1928 grandeur, a state in which neither I nor David have ever seen it. I wish that if David ever tours again, that he would consider playing there. It is a truly grand place again, for the first time in many decades. It was here that The Rolling Stones shot their concert film “Live at the Max.” The Dalai Lama has spoken here. All sorts of music artists have played here, including David himself (in 1984, as mentioned above). Wouldn’t it be great to see him here again!!

    I went to high school just a few blocks away. Today I live some 160 miles away. But I would not hesitate to make my way there for such a concert!!

    Just a thought, a dream. Wouldn’t it be nice!!

  28. Oh geez, speaking of trash…

    Roger is at it again, bashing and blaming David… whining as usual… like that David was blocking a PF reunion after 2005… snore.

    Never liked Roger, will never forgive him that he tried to destroy PF in 1984, and now his PR stunt for his Wall tour by bashing David is really disgusting.

    The next time I will tell you how I really think of Roger, LOL.

    1. Ulli, (IMHO) the one who looks ridiculous (and opportunistic) in this article is Roger, not David… 😉

      But what makes me feel sick is that he is starting his Wall Tour on September, 15. Completely tactless.

    2. But what makes me feel sick is that he is starting his Wall Tour on September, 15. Completely tactless.

      I didn’t know about that, Michèle. The year has 365 days, so it sounds tactless, really.

      It seems even impossible that he didn’t realise that many people (among his fans, too) could have our same impression.

    3. Also, what’s with all the Roger bashing? I think Roger sincerely feels regret about his behavior in the 80s. It seems like he wants to try to make amends, but David is still holding a grudge.

      As much as I love David, I think Roger values and respects his fans a bit more. David won’t sign autographs. From what I’ve read, if you send David a photo to sign, his management will keep the photo then send you a denial letter. Roger will sign and return whatever you mail to him within 3 months (assuming he isn’t on tour at the time). David barely talks to the audience when he performs. When I saw him with Pink Floyd in 1987 (on Thanksgiving Day), he asked us why we weren’t at home with our families. Roger frequently engages the audience with his shows, even having a Q&A session during the “Radio KAOS” tour.

      David and Roger are like Lennon and McCartney. They can both make great music separately, but put them together, and it’s magical. It’s just too bad we won’t get to see it again.

    4. Forgive my ignorance, but what is significant about September 15th?

      Richard Wright passed away on September 15th 2008.

    5. I would like to see the two in person for one time with instruments playing and singing.

      I plan on making the Wall tour this fall. Hopefully in KC which isn’t too far from me. I do totally understand that even the Beatles ended their gig after about 8 years. Those guys even made it known early in their career that they didn’t want to be singing some early songs when they got older. At least I think I heard them say that on a tape. At any rate, Pink Floyd made music into the 90s and are among the 3 most desired British Bands. To have been a part of Pink Floyd… or hell, just dreaming of having been a part of {to all us listeners} must be absolutely, inconceivably, utterly a dream come true.

      Paul McCartney was asked to sum up his career in 150 or so characters or less once. His answer? Jesus Christ!!! Must have been quite a ride.

  29. I have been composting my greens for years. I have a largish garden so my composter is well out of the way. I have never noticed any bad smells coming from it.

    As for my browns, I have put them in a pile behind my composter in a bid to try and encourage hedgehogs. I never knew toilet roll cardboard could composted. You learn something new every day. I normally add these to my recycling box which the Council collects fortnightly.

    However, I am not perfect. I am sure there are other things that I could put in my composter if I engaged my brain.

  30. “Underground, over ground, wombling free, the wombles of Wimbledon, coming your way, making good use of things that we find the, things that the everyday folks leave behind.”

    Not so much a compost song but more recycling. Sorry.


  31. Hi Fed, me again and very much off subject. Though I did notice your mention of Nick Clegg.

    Food for thought: Nick Clegg said he is talking to the Tories first as they had the biggest vote. BUT did you know hardly anyone in the rest of the UK voted Tory? Wales, Scotland and NI – only 3 seats won in total. How can the Tories say they have the right to govern? Very, very unfair, I would be fuming if I was Welsh, Scots, or from Northern Ireland.


    1. I could spit blood right now, Damian. Not a pretty sight. Almost as vile as the image of those rosy-cheeked rich boys congratulating themselves (for failing to win), in fact.

      God help us all.

      I suppose I can take some comfort from knowing that the Tory heartlands will be flooded first when sea levels inevitably rise. (Divine retribution?) And won’t the high ground of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland be valuable then? We should start branding anyone who voted Tory now so that we know who to turn away. That is, if there’s anything left of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland after the Tories have had their wicked way again; there are parts that haven’t recovered from their last brutal stint in office.

  32. That is, if there’s anything left of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland after the Tories have had their wicked way again; there are parts that haven’t recovered from their last brutal stint in office.

    Educate me! What was destroyed?

    As I have always been an “outsider looking in” on my own country which is due to my American upbringing, please let me know what happened to the 3 lovely countries as mentioned above under the previous Conservative rule.

    I have a desire to learn more and more about politics these days.

    Is it anything to do with Margaret Thatcher destroying the Socialist ideal of the State owning the means of production etc etc.?

    I am interested in any views in order to educate my mind again.

    1. Forgive my rant, Julie.

      I could only speak for Wales.

      The Tories decimated the coal mining and steel industries and, therefore, communities. There have been generations of people on benefits since (not all work shy), which is particularly galling knowing that the wealth produced by these industries wasn’t ploughed back into the Welsh economy but instead boosted estates in South East England. (I’m sure Scots feel the same about North Sea oil.)

      Contrary to the myth, peddled by Thatcher, that Wales and Scotland are reliant on hand-outs from England, independent reports have recently shown that Wales is actually being under-funded by at least £300m a year.

      Then there’s the Poll Tax (an experiment on the Scots first, but the Tories were too greedy to realise that it was catastrophic and so let it ruin working class areas of England and Wales, too). Selling off council houses wasn’t very clever, either. Now people can’t find affordable housing.

      Generally, the feeling by many in Wales is that the Tories lined the pockets of the rich by battering and exploiting the poor. Wales is actually poorer, per person, than many parts of Europe. The situation is not helped by the fact that Wales’ workforce is mostly public sector. Tory cuts will subsequently hit Wales hardest, as they always have done.

    2. Oh, and the Conservatives have something else lined up for Wales and Scotland, which will further marginalise the voters that historically have put up the strongest opposition (which smacks of punishment for decades of disobedience): the number of MPs for Wales and Scotland will be reduced next. In fact, the Tories carved up Welsh counties to give them a better chance of breaking Labour’s stronghold in 1996, creating smaller constituencies in the south which they thought might be easier to claim as their own. (As Damian pointed out already, it didn’t work.)

      Ignore me, I’m highly biased and incredibly bitter. 🙂

  33. Selling off council houses wasn’t very clever, either. Now people can’t find affordable housing.

    Well as far as I am aware, there are still lots and lots of council houses in Brum.

    From my past experience of working in the property department at a couple of firms of solicitors, council tenants are given the right to purchase the property that they reside in. The longer they have resided in the property, the bigger the discount they are given. There is also a clause in the conveyance that states if the purchaser (tenant) sells the property within the time frame of 5 years (used to be 3 years) then they would have to pay a percentage of the discount back.

    Now, I worked with several clients who told me that buying their council house was like a dream come true. They dreamed of owning their own home, but could never afford it and buying their council house fulfilled that dream.

    I understand that way of thinking fully as I used to dream and dream of owing my own property. Okay, I never bought a Council house, but I worked 7 days a week for 3 years to save up for a deposit and solicitors costs.

    IMHO, I think the Right to Buy scheme is an excellent way for those who would not normally get their feet on the property ladder. There is nothing quite like the feeling of owning your own home. Take it from someone who started her adult life sleeping on people’s sofas.

    1. IMHO, I think the Right to Buy scheme is an excellent way for those who would not normally get their feet on the property ladder. There is nothing quite like the feeling of owning your own home. Take it from someone who started her adult life sleeping on people’s sofas.

      That’s a perfectly fair point, but I still don’t think selling them off cheaply – with greater discounts to those who have lived there longest, as you say – is quite so fair on those who aren’t yet in a position to buy and may only just about manage to pay the rent.

  34. Bravo on the composting!

    The worms in my yard are pink and happy! I’m a bit of a pioneer in my neighborhood.

    As an environmentalist and one who once lived in and loved the MS-LA Gulf Coast (those barrier islands and the marshes of Lake Ponchartrain were something of a home to me and my husband), I’m heartsick to the core over the oil spill. We’re losing our natural and cultural heritage with every passing day. The incompetence of the cleanup effort is just astounding.

    Sharon Woods**********

  35. Compost bins is a great way of making your own compost at home. Instead of throwing away food waste, throw the waste into a compost bins instead. Also put in any garden leaves and some soil for composting. Put in some worms into the compost bins too. Red worms will also helps to break down the waste by eating them and excrete them. The organic worm compost created by these worms are great for the growth of healthy plants.

  36. I was interested to read you’d recently started composting and were pleased so far with the results. If it doesn’t smell bad and you don’t have rats, you’re doing it right!

    If no one told you or you haven’t found out by experience yet, add a variety of materials in approximate layers, put in a layer of twiggy bits every now and then for it to breathe. Don’t add all the leaves in autumn, they will go slimey, bag them up, puncture the bags and leave them in your borders or somewhere out of the way. In 12 months they will have turned to beautiful compost-and will have acted as a mulch.

    Add a layer of soil now and then, spent compost from pots or growbags will be useful. Don’t add dandelion or couch roots or any bind weed, the bits grow new plants! Paper/card can be added, crumple it to breathe and let creepy crawlies get into it. Don’t add cooked food or bread, or you’ll get rats.

    Get two (or more) bins so you have one “cooking” and one ready to use. Place in a warm spot to help heat the bins. Water now and then. Turn it over a bit. I put on gloves and get in past my elbows and dig and turn. :)) (Can use a fork, but I like it and do it when I “feed” it without having to go get the fork!)

    You’ll eventually find you can’t make enough!

    If you have a plastic bin that doesn’t have a door, I cut a chunk out of the bottom of mine and re-attached with hinges, hasp and staple.

    In a previous garden I had bins made from pallets on three sides and planks from pallets slotted into grooves on the front for access, covered with old carpet.

    I don’t think wormeries are worth the effort (especially with a dog).

    You can also add egg shells.

    If you can justify the expense, a shredder means you can add bigger woody prunings.

    Look often to enjoy the variety of wildlife you created an environment for! 😀


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