It all began in a Pub…..well in Britain anyway

Feeling all charged up and empowered tonight after a good meeting with the village Mums in the pub to talk about the playground facilities and what we would like to see in the village. 

This is in response to the work of a rather lacklustre working group of committee members who are making plans to simply replace like for like on the playground – and us Mums want more! Have they consulted with us? NO. Will they need us to help raise funds for the new equipment? YES!

So we hopefully have the power to influence these less than qualified decision makers (one of the working group is in her 80s…it’s been a while since she sat on a swing).

Our local pub was the venue for the discussion and it got me thinking how many important meetings take place in a pub? In fact, how many important decisions have been made in pubs over the centuries? 

I would say more than the Houses of Parliament.

I say make the HOP a super club, the party capital of Europe and devolve power to publicans…..maybe then we would have, as Carlsberg would put it….’probably the best political system in the world…’

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

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The battle of education…..and other passions

Emotions have been brewing in me all day. What is it about education that makes you want to drive your fist into a breeze block wall? I am beyond frustrated with my daughter’s school which is why my hand is sore and bruised! My husband does not want to launch into the problem when he returns from home. For me, currently at home, it is all I can think about.

Then, in the evening, a frustrating parish council meeting for all concerned raises tempers and emotions further on various issues relating to the village, both major and minor.

But if there is one thing that can be taken from stressful situations, its the reason why they are stressful in the first place, because you care. 

If care did not exist, passion would not be needed to drive through change. It is  the passion behind a cause that makes the world go round. 

This is often no consolation for those suffering the stress of an injustice, or frustration at a poor decision.

The test of an issue’s importance is to wait awhile, after tempers are subdued and if it still matters in the cold, harsh, sober light of day. Then do something about it.

In my case, I want to look at the possibility of changing schools. At least I have the luxury to do so because of our area and the schools on offer. It is about choosing a school where teachers truly believe in the phrase ‘Every Child Matters’. Is that possible under Gove’s hideous new curriculum?

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

The power of 1

My hubby and I (every time I begin a blog post in this way I feel like the Queen) were invited to our neighbour’s for a meal. This is a rare occurrence for us as we don’t consider ourselves to be the ‘dinner party type’ and tend to give off that vibe. It turned out to be really good, despite the age gap of the other neighbour’s who joined us. We got back late so hence the lack of blog post (£1 in the pot to UNICEF).

However, the conversation did stray onto politics and the older couple proudly announced they would be voting UKIP. I had my concerns when a few headlines from The Daily Mail were mentioned.

I have seen UKIP double decker buses twice in this area but nothing from The other parties. We live in a ‘blue’ area and the power of our vote is virtually useless. It is worrying that I feel like the minority wanting to shake my fist at the UKIP bus.

I said to my husband, ‘If UKIP get in we are getting out’. He asks, ‘But where would we go? I didn’t have a clue because at our age it is so difficult to move to another country. So after a while I opted for the Outer Hebrides, because at least up there Government would be diluted.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that……

This blog is for UNICEF.
Thanks for reading.

Government ‘gases’ the countryside

We have been gassed – by the approval of a biogas plant. The following list states several reasons why Biogas is harmful to the environment – would you want a factory producing this gas within a couple of miles of your house?? The Government are encouraging the development of this fuel in many rural areas across the country – yet another example of the Government throwing caution to the wind when it comes to protecting the countryside we have left in this country.

Extracts taken from contributors to imechanica.org

Although this seems to be a popular fuel particularly amongst the farming community, and because it is produced from waste products; I am nervous about the lack of regulation particularly when this fuel can produce high levels of Hydrogen Sulphide (sour gas) which is highly toxic. There are farmers that produce biofuels without really exploring the safety issues of the product and indeed the bi-products that they produce. I wonder if they know that most bio fuels in liquid form are methanol rich, and have a tendancy to damage nitrile seals. Also Sour Gas emissions into the atmosphere produce acid rain ( H2S +H2O = H2SO4 after balancing  the equation of course). There is an official site but I’m affraid to say it paints a “rosey” picture. Its populartiy is attributable to the use of waste materials however I have less positive views until I see regulations more approprite to the refining of bio fuels. Check out the website it is endorsed by DECC.

The final composition of biogas depends on the source of origin, for example household wastes give 50-60% vol of CH4 while agricultural waste and wastewater treatment plants sludge give CH4 60-75% vol. They also give unwanted compounds like CO2 in a significant amount which ranges from 19 to 38 % and a small quantity of H2O about 6% vol. Agricultural waste give the highest H2S amount that varies from 3000 to 10000 mg/m3, while wastewater treatment sludge gives 1000 to 4000 mg/m3 and household gives the lowest among them, 100 to 900 mg/m3. Household wastes give also a 0 to 5% of N2, aromatic 0 to 200 mg/m3 and organofluorinated or organochlorinated 100-800 mg/m3. Agricultural waste also gives 50 to 100 mg/m3 NH3.

Analyzing further as for the safety concerns, we may check each compound of the final biogas product individually for their potential danger. CH4 is not a toxic gas but it is higly flammable and any leak could cause an explosion, while it is also an asphyxiant gas and inhaling it in great amounts can cause even death. CO2 is also an asphyxiant gas and it can cause from intoxication and poisoning till death according to the amount inhaled, while oxygen presence does not play a role in treatment. Converting the above H2S quantities into ppm we can see that agricultural waste as source gives from 1999 to 6664 ppm, wastewater treatment sludge gives 666.4 to 2666 ppm and household gives 66.6 to 600 ppm. The permissible exposure limit of US Occupational Safety and Health Administration per 8 hours is 10ppm, while in 500ppm and over it causes neural stimulation and rapid breathing till death. It has the characteristic odor of the rotten egg so it can be traced by humans easily, except if its concentration is higher than 100ppm when it sets out of order the olfactory tissue. H2S and H2O are the number one factors of corrosion, a serious issue that cause major problems in the industry. NH3 is toxic for the fishes, while for the humans 66.7 to 133 ppm may cause eyes or lungs irritation. N2 has no significant effects or critical hazards on humans. Toxicity of aromatics varies according to the aromatic compound from not toxic to highly toxic the same as with organofluorinated and organochlorinated compounds.

This blog is for Unicef. For every missed blog post I put £1 in the pot. I missed a blog last night so ‘clink’ goes another £1.

Thanks for reading.

Something new to know

Further to yesterday’s blog, here are the answers….

Is a fish farm a farm?

Yes, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) classifies fish farms as ‘Aquaculture Production Businesses’ – all of which must be authorised in advance and licensed or, in some specific niches, registered. Further restrictions are placed on fish-farms within National Parks.

Is a bush a tree?

No, a bush is not a tree. A tree is distinguished from a shrub in the following ways: a woody perennial plant, typically having a single stem or trunk growing to a considerable height and bearing lateral branches at some distance from the ground. A tree can be subject to planning control.

However, If a hedge (made up of either a tree and/or shrubs) adversely affects the owners/occupiers of an adjoining domestic property then they may be able to take action through the High Hedges complaints system introduced by the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.

Can a telephone kiosk be a listed building?

Yes, because English Heritage have over 2000 telephone kiosks listed.

That only took me an hour to get the answers….Not good at doing homework at 35. Now I know what my 8 year old daughter feels like.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Vicar of Dibley needs new blood

I have just become involved in our local parish council and it is like Vicar of Dibley but without the fun of Dawn French.

The worst part is everyone else bringing their thoughts to the table without consulting very much at all with the rest of us. For example, a major housing development of 50 dwellings in a small village raises a couple of the councillors’ eyebrows but only in as far as asking ‘why arent there more bungalows’…the idea being that all the future widows of the village will have somewhere to live. Aside from the fact that most housing need dictated by the council is for young people and families, once I am older and if I become widowed the last place I would ‘end up’ is in a bungalow in a country which seems to get wetter and wetter year on year. You wont see me for dust in seeking the sun……and maybe a hunky local guy called Mario.

At this meeting no members of the public turned up to hear about the development, I suspect, because they did not read the agenda on the village noticeboard……the council havent quite caught on to the web and social media yet…

But Parish councils play an important part in communities yet they do mot represent the majority of the local community’s demographic. Why arent more people below 60 wanting to play a part in making important decisions about their local environment….why are they happy to leave it to people who, arguably, have quite out-dated views? Time availability is a poor excuse as councils only meet once a month and are supported by clerks employed by the council to carry out councillor decisions.

So get motivated to have a say in your community and find out about being a parish councillor for your area.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.