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.

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. 

A double decker doo doo of a day

Reading between the School’s lines….

Urgent email from School

Dear Parents, due to heavy traffic our visit to the London school has been delayed so, in order that the children benefit as much as possible from the experience, we will be leaving slightly later so please collect your children at xxx

The reality as observed by parent helper on trip….

Dear parents, the bus driver thought he could squeeze a double decker bus through the Blackwall tunnel, so after a detour around the 02 car park and a nearby recycling facility, we finally got on the right road. As it was close to lunch-time we had our lunch on the bus, rather than in the school hall with our partner school pupils and finally arrived at the school feidup and busting for the loo after a 3 and a half hour bus ride. We just about had time to play a quick ice-breaker game with the children, followed by a walk down a London street before saying our goodbyes and boarding the bus once again for our 2 hour ride home.

Time spent visiting partner school – 1 hour 45 minutes

Time spent on the bus – 5 hours 30 minutes

So after my initial excitement yesterday at the opportunity to visit a Temple and spend a lot of time with the children experiencing an inner city education. I found myself cursing the bus driver and his over reliance on the sat nav and getting even more annoyed by a parent helper whose only reason for attending was to ‘look out for her boys as she couldn’t understand why the school was visiting such a dodgy area’. I enjoyed watching her reaction when I told her my sister-in-law lived a mile down the road.

But I did enjoy seeing all our school kids swapping notes and chatting happily with their new found city friends.

Next time I will suggest to the Headmaster we take the train…..

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.