During most of the month of August I was on annual leave so it was easier in some respects to live in a slow fashion. Certainly, there was less rushing around to get to and from work and fit everything in.
One of the most pleasurable aspects of August was being able to cook a wide variety of meals, at least one of which contained produce from my garden every day. I was also able to try out some new recipes and I finally bought some new equipment,too: a chiappati pan. So, my daughter and I have been having fun making chiappaties to go with recent curries and at the same time eating food which is totally fresh and free of additives.
After defrosting my freezer in July, in August I started the process of stocking it up again with homecooked meals, most of which also have ingredients I have grown myself, so I am preserving some of the garden produce.
I bought a new Friends and Family railcard so the plan is to use the train as often as is practicable. Unfortunately we did need to take the car on our holidays, otherwise we would have had much greater difficulty doing what we wanted to do. However, I made sure that we incorporated as much into a single journey as I could. Besides, even though I was driving to places, it was not in commuter traffic so it was less ecologically damaging. (NB Even though I drove several hundred miles more than I would, had I been working this month, I only used the same amount of petrol as usual.)
I was also invited to join a ‘movement’ called Zero Waste. While I would say that I am some way off being in this position, if ever, it is good to have come across a group with which to discuss ways of reducing what might go into landfill.
I think we have lived in as green a way as we ever have. As it has been summer, we haven’t needed the heating on, or as many lights. On the other hand, we have had lots of children coming round to play, who tend to flush the toilet a lot and leave lights on, even put them on when they don’t need to. However, there is a plus side to this (see below).
One very positive thing we did, though, was a carboot sale, which meant some things which might have otherwise ended up on tip have found a new home, where they might be used for another few years. And I managed to acquire a second hand toaster at the sale, so that is one fewer new machine to be made out of raw materials, then flown halfway round the world.
This month, the garden has been ticking along nicely and we’ve been enjoying quite a range of fruit, herbs and vegetables. The best has been the mangetout (which just kept producing and producing), the strawberries and blackberries. The tomatoes also started to grow some fruit as well, though we have yet to see a red one.
This is the area where my daughter always outshines me. All I can say is that I aim to find more time to sit down and do stuff with her next month.
As we were on holiday, we caught up with friends we hadn’t seen or spoken to for a long time, including one who I first met at anti-natal classes and hadn’t actually seen for nearly four years.
On top of that, my daughter played extensively with the grandchildren from nextdoor. The little boy did quite a bit of gardening with me and took some of what he dug up home to his grandparents. I also gave away some of my chard and herbs to a friend we visited.
In July, I started reading a book (Katherine by Anya Seton) which inspired me to visit Kenilworth Castle, where the main character spent much of her time. We are members of English Heritage, which runs this castle now, so it was good to be able to take advantage of the free admission and satisfy my curiosity, whilst en route from the hotel where we had been staying in Kidderminster to my sister’s in Rugby.
My daughter and I also did a couple of cookery classes, one about Indian cuisine and the other about Thai cuisine. They were quite basic, but I don’t really know much about the latter and I still learned some techniques and picked up ideas from the former. Besides this, my daughter actually tried some food she would probably have turned her nose up at when at home.
We have certainly enjoyed this month and it is in fact rather sad that the month has come to an end. However, September promises to be a good month, starting with ‘Recycle one more thing’ through Zero Waste in the first week.