Spotty died last night. He was a beautiful Faverolle cock. He looked quiet last night when I put him to bed. This morning he was still slightly warm and supple, but otherwise lifeless. There were no signs of injury or sickness and he’s less than a couple of years old. Very sad. We’ll miss him.
The Australian government has launched an anti-whaling video aimed at Japanese children. The video, which carries Japanese subtitles, urges all countries to stop catching and killing whales. (Japan opposes the international prohibition of commercial whaling. Every year it hunts hundreds of whales in Antarctica under what it describes as a scientific research programme. This year, it will hunt 50 humpback whales – an endangered species – as well as more than 900 minke whales, a move criticised by anti-whaling nations.)
I finally got some overdue chores completed in the garden.
The tomato harvest is in full swing and they need to be harvested at this time of year or they can deteriorate quickly. Although the greenhouse is warm enough for them to grow, the low temperatures overnight combined with seasonal humidity result in high condensation on the fruit which accelerates disease and rotting. Once they’re harvested they can be removed to a cool, dry area and last longer. We also make jars of pasta sauce and freeze bags of cherry tomatoes which can be used for culinary delights later in the year.
It is also a good time to control weeds which are growing in uncultivated space. Ideally proper weeding would be done, however, that is not really possible for me because of the large area cultivated and the limited time I have. Even if I had time, it would be uneconomical. (That is why Africa can import fresh veg to Europe – the wages are very low and allow for the air freight cost. A friend with 10,000 hectares under cultivation in Africa reckons the that for every Euro of European local labour, Africa substitutes 20c of African labour and 80c of air-freight!) So today I tilled 3 of six plots and the expansion plot – that’s about 700 sm with a 2-wheel tractor.
In September I took over most of the parenting chores to allow Pam to study for exams at the end of the month. This involved a minimum of 3 hours driving for the school run alone. Plus the usual grocery shopping, cooking and laundry. And of course giving the children something to do other than make a noise around the office! It left about 5 hours a day for other things, which meant lots of postponement. But it has been a very worthwhile project which I’ll continue in a less intense way. It really showed up the benefit of hands on attention to children that makes parenting interesting, challenging and productive. The children (4 of them aged 4-12) get the kind of guidance that is missing at school and get to develop a more friendly relationship with parents. It makes clear the undervalued trade-off that people make by handing children over to child-carers so that they can live and work without them. I really recommend a more hands on approach to all parents.
The other big change has been the reformatting of this newsletter to a blog format. That has been time consuming but adds much more value because it is easily segmented by subject, titles become summaries and entries can be more timely. However, I still have catching up to do.
On the investment management side, I did reenter the markets, largely in response to market sentiment, but with great caution for limiting downside.
And in the garden some chores have been postponed till October, while essential harvesting of tomatoes, french beans and root vegetables did provide us tasty fare for the table (especially the cherry tomatoes of which we’ve already harvested about 10kg 🙂 ).
This new cartoon, produced by Friends of the Earth Europe, sums up in comic form how Exxon worked its way into government channels to further its business interests at the expense of the planet. It could be funny, if it wasn’t so sad. Millions paid to “think tanks” to deny pollution.
Be The Change 2007 will take place in November. Supported by The Independent newspaper, The Sky’s The Limit is a collaboration between Be The Change, the World Future Council, The Converging World, the new economics foundation and Rights and Humanity. In three days of presentations, panels, world cafés – and with film and music – participants seek to generate new, solution-oriented responses.
Participants include Prof. C.S. Kiang (China), Vandana Shiva (India), Maude Barlow (Canada); Hermann Scheer (Germany), Frances Moore Lappé and Drew Dellinger (USA) – and from the UK, Bianca Jagger, Jonathon Porritt, Nicki Gavron, Richard Reed, Rob Hopkins and many more: entrepreneurs, activists, scientists, film-makers, poets and musicians.
November 15 – 17 at the magnificent Central Hall, Westminster, where the UN General Assembly first met in 1946.
BeTheChange.org.uk for bookings
Pratchett’s latest novel is on the stands. In today’s volatile world of money its bound to be revealing. We’ll review it in due course, but Pratchett is always brilliant.
A comprehensive review of the characteristics of the world’s main financial centres by The Economist (EIU): Magnets for money. While the impact of technology on transformations of financial centres in recent decades is analysed, there could have been a more critical review of the outlook for the decentralisation of financial services through ICT.
This five part YouTube series with now deceased TV newscaster Peter Jennings explores how the food industry spends billions of dollars to sabotage your health. Jennings also takes a critical look at the US government’s agricultural subsidy programmes, and the consequences of misguided government policies on diet and health. For example, sugar and fat receive 20 times more government farming subsidies than fruits and vegetables. The food industry spends $34 billion per year marketing their products, $12 billion of which is spent marketing unhealthy foods to children. Learn how misleading advertising, food additives, and a corrupt subsidy system have undermined public health.