Friday, November 01, 2013

OT(ish) - A bit more mutual backscratching -

Sorry to be away so long and then return with an OT, but when a person helps us I like to help back.

Just tested out the free Events listings of a new local online directory.

Does what it says on the tin, & pretty well. In this case a gig for First Lady PJ, but they will do it for things like car boots, fundraisers, etc.

I like the business model & wish them well if they continue to deliver like this. Genuine community 'news' & 'What's On' without charge to attract an audience, and then paying commercial advertisers can benefit from the traffic to support the admin and editorial.

Kind of like is meant to be:)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Health Notice (Personal) - OT

Been off the radar a wee while. Sorry.

Not the best of reasons. 

I was a few weeks ago struck down with a massive (not bragging, it's a medical term) pulmonary embolism.

Good news is I survived. However things are still on road to recovery and a may need to be taken a tad more slowly in future.

At worst a few doses of listed rat poison a day. Could be a lot worse.

But I share mainly as a caution to all you keyboard warriors out there.

No spring chicken me, but I was deemed 'young' for such a thing.

And they are pondering causes. 

No obvious medical indicators... haven't flown for years, non-smoker... etc.

However, they are rather keen on the fact that I sit at a desk, looking at a screen, typing all day.

Not good.

Hard to avoid these days, but not good.

So... take it from me... frequent breaks... get up, take a stroll (or in complement such as the daft interim measure in the photo... I am wondering about designing a pedal-enabled seat that avoids DVTs whilst letting you power your PC) and... don't cross your legs! (this was impressed on me, with a slap, by any nurse walking past the end of my bed - apparently it's very bad).

As Spock would say... 'live long and prosper'!

Monday, September 16, 2013

enviROI in action - I hope, in a good way

With that most dreaded of news periods now underway, conference season, the idiocies are already gaining headlines.

First out the traps are the Lib Dems though, possibly, not in the best, or at least most coherent of ways...

This one rather highlighting another area of interest of mine, namely the pursuit of green wonderousness whilst at the same time driving population increase and economic growth via consumer consumption.

However another fresh from the oven has taken my fancy for a blog, and that regards enviROI

It's inspired by this:

Because, you see, even if the new installation had made things cooler, £4.5M may have achieved more in GHG reduction if applied elsewhere.

I had been pondering this already as I noted my trusty LPG Volvo was attracting a car tax of £180, while newer (and doubtless more fuel efficient) diesel equivalents were seeing much lower charges. Thing is, there's not just mpg and what comes out the pipe. I just wonder what it 'cost' in GHGs to make a new car vs. keeping a perfectly good one going?

Anyway, I hope what follows may prove a more positive story to conclude with.

Nearby is some social housing managed by the council. Safe to say they are 'of an era'. Well, just lately there has been a hive of activity in and around them.

It started with new roofs, but there was also a great deal of loft insulation too. I can only applaud, especially if the taxpayer is covering the utility bills too. Still great if on the tenant's tab as subsidy direction goes.

But now I am watching, as some frankly amazing retroactive wall insulation is going up too. No cavity walls here, and frankly the size means internal cover would restrict area too much.

It's not just the nature of it, but the ease and speed of putting it up. Cut with a saw like butter, and then nail through... wham bam. In the pictures you see, that wall was covered in 30 minutes.

I await to see the exterior cover (and will add a pic), which will obviously need to be impact and weather resistant.

But as an effort to add value to home and planet's future, I'd say such as this is much more worthwhile than all the stupid games the politicians (and some media) are playing with big ticket, dubious cradle to grave, low enviROI projects still, now, when money is tight.

Update Nov 1 2013

Having asked, a contractor has kindly stuck their card through the door.
They came a fair old way, suggesting such services are thin on the ground.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


Every day has its ups and downs.

So it's nice when you get an unexpected 'up' just in the course of one.

Sent my lads off back to school today.

And as a small gift, at the weekend when we were in Gloucester I had seen a pen set in the local Poundland there that I thought would be nice to give them.

And they did appreciate it (personal, parent score 1).

But just now as I was about to pop the packaging in the recycling bin I noticed a small piece of printing bottom right.

Now I won't say I have forgotten, but it was just a lovely reminder that there are folk out there who like what we're trying to do at, and have stuck with their commitment to support all along.

Thanks Poundland. And especially Neil.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

It always pays to wave a flag

A while ago I noticed one of those pieces of passing PR that are so easy to let wash over you.
(actually it was in the Telegraph, but they have a paywall limit so this'll do)

In this case I decided to pop the good Lord a missive:

"Reading your plans in yesterday's Telegraph, I can only wish you well.

There are of course many ways to encourage folk to 'save', both planet
and money, and more and more seem keen to embrace them.

What would be good is to further bridge the gap more between
manufacturers/retailers doing as little as they can in compliance,
often hiding behind the jargon of the CSR industry, and consumers who
tend to think more in terms of simplicity and end benefit."

It took a while but I am glad to say it has been replied to, in as nice a way as may be hoped:

Dear Mr Martin,

Waste reduction

Thank you for your email of 8 August to Lord de Mauley about waste reduction.  I have been asked to reply.

"As you may know, the Minister’s statement was linked to our publication on 6 August of a public consultation on our draft proposals for the Waste Prevention Programme for England ( prevention/).  The results of the consultation will inform the final Programme, which is due to be finalised in December.  We are grateful for your comments, which have been passed to the relevant policy officials and will be considered as part of the consultation exercise.
Preventing waste from being produced in the first place is not only good for the environment, but for the economy and household budgets too.  Research shows that businesses can make £17 billion in annual savings by taking simple steps to produce less waste.  Everyone has a part to play in reducing waste.  Our proposals in this programme will help individuals and organisations recognise the savings they can make by cutting waste and passing on items they no longer use.  It will explore ways to make it easier for individuals to reuse and repair items.  It also aims to ensure that products are designed to last longer, contain fewer hazardous parts and reduce the environmental impact of the waste they create."

Friday, August 30, 2013

EVENT UPDATE - Sir Grow-A-Lot Open Day - Aug 31 - HR Postcode


It was a lovely, and great day, all round. A few images:

 Cider Making Demo
 Oat Cuisine
 Entry to the fields
 The site (before folk arrived)
Phoenix J & Manu - an awesome duo


OK, it's tomorrow, and I have been garnering a bit more info to help one and all see what's going to be on offer.

We shall be there, mob-handed, supporting the event but also accompanied by Phoenix J, who has kindly agreed to perform two (possibly three as one band has unfortunately dropped out) sets from the 'stage' (undercover roof.... if maybe a stretch to call it an indoor stadium, but close..ish) throughout the day.

WHAT Sir Grow-A-Lot Open day

WHERE - at one with nature (see below)

WHEN - on Saturday 31st August 2013. Even the weather is looking good! Fingers crossed.

COST - As we always like it... FREE!

VenueModel Farm, Hildersley; within easy walking distance of Ross-on-Wye

The Venue - Note St Marys in background

Parking: Parking is available. Lots. There'll be an 'IN' and an 'OUT', with a massive field so there should be no issues getting in, or out. 
TIMING: Starts at 11.00am,  Ends at 6.00pm.  

Events/Agenda - From the PR:

The Sir Grow-a-Lot is but the latest of Ross-based EnviroAbility’s local community-based social enterprise projects. Significant lottery funding has been carefully marshaled to create a truly innovative ‘green’ oasis within walking distance of the heart of town.

And now as the seeds of its vision sprout in tangible form, with buildings and facilities in place, what better time to celebrate what’s been achieved and what all in Ross are welcome to be part of and enjoy. You can create your own micro-enterprise, sell produce or simply indulge in more modest allotment growing for personal satisfaction… or a healthier pot and wallet! Educational visits from schools are always welcome to learn all about sustainable organic growing.

Set in the bucolic, idyllic surroundings of the Model Farm, the open day programme is packed with entertainment, freebies, information and all manner of other goodies.

There’s a Mixed Meat BBQ Roast, Cake Stall, Card-making, Cookery Demos, Tombola, Tours, Horticultural & Eco Talks & Workshops taking place throughout the day, plus kids’ entertainment like ‘Splat-the-Rat & ‘Fishing for Ducks’.

There will also be day-long music performances by some real local talent, including award-winning international recording artist Phoenix J & Manu Song (Richard Berenger advised as sadly cancelled) see play list for show times).

Ross is fast acquiring an awesome, deserved reputation for summer fair, Trade fair & Fairtrade fun and frolics outings for all the family. There’s lot’s happening this last bank holiday weekend; so make sure the Sir Grow-A-Lot  Open day is down on your list to play a major part!

11am - Opens

1pm – 1st performance – Phoenix J (approx 30mins)

2pm – 2nd band performance – Manu Song or Phoenix J (to cover for missing band)

3pm – 3rd band performance –  Phoenix J or Manu Song ( to cover for missing band)

4pm – 4th & final show of the day - Phoenix J 

Local PR

Contact: 01989 763388

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

COMPETITION - Get creative with old plastic Coca-Cola bottles


PR is a funny game. Seems every day I get an invitation to try out some 5* eco resort in Peru which, while nice, may just cross a few ethical boundaries I may have on enviROI grounds.

Yet a genuine, local, consumer reuse story I have to stumble across in, of all things, a trade website!

Whatever tracky things the PR industry uses need a tweak.

WHENSix weeks, from now to Sept 30.

WHATGet creative with old plastic Coca-Cola bottles
WHAT... MORE?: The site seems a bit of a zoo, so here from the original summary:

The online initiative, in collaboration with supermarket Sainsbury’s, will “encourage consumers to use their waste packaging at home in a fun and useful way, while also pledging to recycle”.

Parents will be asked to submit recycling ‘pledges’ – such as turning used bottles into products such as bottle bird-feeders or self-watering bottle plant pots – and those taking part will receive money-off vouchers for CCE products and the chance to win a ‘glamping’ holiday in France.

“Through utilising an accessible online mechanic, the campaign helps us to reach a wide audience, allowing us to communicate to customers across the UK how easy it is for them to play their part.”

I will have to ponder that last paragraph a while to grasp what it means. Maybe I need a small child to translate.

HOW MUCH: Free! As always, just as we like it. 
COMMENTS: It will probably freak them out that to 'How often would you say you recycle in the home?' I opted for 'Never' because, of course, we don't recycle, we reuse.

And, immodestly, most ideas already on using their stuff are a whole lot better than what they are putting up in example.

Also, as a bit of geeky web input, it's rather disconcerting to fill it all out, hit 'Pledge' and get nothing other than a return to the blank form. I'm also not sure what I downloaded from the ideas button, as nothing happened bar getting an instruction PDF.

Still, for my name & email, a chance at a glamping holiday may be worth it still.

I wonder how sincere they are about reuse, though?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A New Dr. Who. Now, how about a new Tardis?

Despite being away on hols, certain things you'd need to have been in a cave to miss.

So, the mantle of Dr. passes from William Hartnell to Peter Capaldi. With, possibly, some other incarnations since I last watched. In black and white. Mainly from behind the sofa.

And while Drs. may have come and gone, or morphed, one thing has stayed ubiquitous and constant: the Tardis. His trusty base of operations, with its modest exterior belying a surprisingly vast, and fascinating, interior.

Cue a quick double take as I sidled the other day past an innocuous entrance at the lower end of Brookend St. in Ross-on-Wye.

Where once I used to take my kids to play, a whole new scene was unfolding. The Doctor meets Aladdin's Cave... caves. You name it... it's here.

Yes, the newest base of operations of the mighty EnviroAbility empire has relocated again, and is now established for at least a few years.This nationally-recognised, and lauded, social enterprise has many skilled fingers in many worthy pies, and this new location at last brings them all (well, most... some are out and about in the parks or fields around town) under one roof. Of course, high on the agenda is their commitment to as many 're's' as you can shake a sustainable stick at. first hooked up with them a long time ago when we helped with the 'RE:Box' project, now sadly no longer in place, if fondly remembered still. And since then we've been happy to help wherever we can with corporate ID & marketing concepts. Most of... well, the dafter... divisions were either names or logo-designed by us.

EnviroAbility's commitment to reducing waste and saving money from recovered materials remains as strong as ever. Room after room of furniture, fixtures and fittings (even one set ready to offer IT support to those seeking job-hunting advice) await the eager bargain hunter. Just look at all the bikes alone they have in course of being restored in the cavernous up floor  of their new premises:

Now if it all looks a bit of a dog's dinner still... it is! I was going to await things being more sorted out before running this story, but Dennis Humble, General Manager, asked me to get the word out right away, as they are looking for help to set up, on top of seeking anyone else whose values match theirs to get in touch with a view to making this a literal eco-sustainability superstore.

So, don't be shy.... get along or get in touch!

This could be you, too.

Friday, July 12, 2013

FREE - Zimmer Frames - Two careful owners (probably)

Sticking this on the Blog, too.

It can't hurt to remind ourselves that JunkkYard exists, but mainly to get this on the homepage for a while as well.

As I say in the description, what tragic back story exists to these items being so casually thrown away I don't know, or want to, but fro once my wife was approving my coming back with more from the skip than I took to it.

No takers soon, I'll drift them to a care home or hospital.

If you do take them, promise that when the time comes, you'll hand them on.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

COMPETITION - Waste•smART – creative competition


WHENThe deadline for submissions is 30 September 2013 at 12:00 Central European Time
WHATWhat does waste look like? Photo, cartoon and video competition
WHAT... MORE?: From the site:

Waste•smART is a new competition from the EEA, inviting entries in three categories – photography, cartoons and short films. The best entry in each category will win € 500, and there will be a further € 500 ‘youth prize’, given to the best entry from someone born between 1989 and 1995. The competition is open to citizens of the all EEA member and cooperating countries. All participants must be 18 or older.
Entries could touch on a variety of themes. For example, your entry could be a photograph illustrating wasted food, construction waste, landfills, and recycling. Or perhaps you have an idea for a cartoon showing how we can better reduce, re-use or recycle waste. If you are a filmmaker, you could make a video about how waste policy could be improved, or the resources and energy needed to maintain wasteful lifestyles. However, these are just a few ideas, entrants are encouraged to come up with their own angle.
HOW MUCH: Free! Just as we like it. Do check the rules
COMMENTS: Seems pretty clear cut and I'm happy to share. Mind you, as a cartoonist, photographer and even short videographer there is the temptation to enter too... and this as always rather increases the competition! 

So, if you win and beat me out... do at least doff a hat to at the awards! Good luck.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Blink and you'll miss it

Bad enough that I have left the blog a bit lonely for too long.

But it has been long enough to not notice a ton of new features have been added by Blogger to make what does go up more searchable, shareable and all round 'able'.

I had a rare idle moment and clicked a few things that offered my a raft of options which, a few clicks later, are up and running.

Check 'em out in the right hand Nav Bar. Hopefully they do what they say on the tin!

Going to try out the translate drop-down as soon as this is posted.

Boy, does this make me jealous for what could have been almost 15 years ago when I first created, with custom scripts that cost a fortune and took all sorts of savvy to use much less embed.

Now it's all instant, free and awesome.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Collective Weight

Every so often a notion occurs.

And I think I am getting to an age where it's best to pop it down somewhere as my mind these days is so filled with competing thoughts, and evidently less able to recall them, a written record seems a wise precaution.

I was clearing out some junk, as the proportion that has remained junk as opposed to getting converted into useful 'Junkk' is still, sadly, skewed towards the divorce courts.

Amongst a lot that really has to go, and doesn't look like inspiring much now if it hasn't already, is a fair old selection of cardboard, especially in the form of Pizza and Cereal boxes. Still great for filing, but... there's really only so much filing one needs now, especially as that little box just over there is storing 500GB paperlessly, with an even smaller one next to it in reassuring back-up, with the cloud as belt and braces.

The loo rolls are staying, as I have a pretty nifty scheme for these, involving an old drill stand I located (see if you can guess what may be going down there before I unveil this idea).

I think the Tetrapaks have to go, too. I may keep the spout/caps, but they are a lot of bulk with little second use so far inspired.

Which brings me to the cans. Steel ones not so many as we seem to be getting fresher and fresher in our diet, and while I can see some value in the lipped variety connecting together to form tubing, they are darn near uncrushable and hog space.

Which brings me to the aluminiums. For sure we have a lovely haul of ring pulls to conjure with, but the cans themselves? 

I had been simply crushing them to save space, but even this has mounted up.

Cue... the notion.

On our own, over time, we have created a fair old collection, and in crushed form the sacks are barely liftable. But if I simply pop them in the recycling, I am sure the bin men will grumble but their bosses will be thrilled. Pre-processed raw metal!

A while ago I did ask around at what point it all got financially viable to 'the industry' and, hence, in turn, the individual.

A few questions arose and still need clarifying...

1) What quantity makes a delivery (by me) viable?

2) What more makes a collection (by them) viable?

Simple stuff, as I am thinking of creating a master page with a chart. Something like:

RECYCLATE - Delivery/ton - Collection/ton - Value/ton - Local connection

(see how Blogger formatting messes with that between post creation and print)

This can then be simply cut and pasted as data comes in on a postcode by postcode area basis.

I see potential because, presuming any community can find its own storage area, while one person may struggle in a sensible timeframe to build up enough to make it worthwhile, many pooling resources might yet see enough to profit in the effort.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013



WHEN: Open-ended
WHAT... MORE?: From the site:

Do you have an idea for a new type of packaging with paper, pulp or cardboard as the material used? Maybe an idea on how we can be smarter at handling packaging? We want you to put your idea to the test in our Sustainable Packaging challenge, the first open innovation challenge in the Wood for Sweden arena.
Several large companies in the paper and packaging industry in Sweden are supporting the challenge and they want to hear your ideas. The best ideas are presented to a jury and will be given the opportunity to be presented to the market. If your idea wins, it will enter the development process and you might one day see it in regular use.

Although Swedish-based, we have been assured the contest is open to anyone and everyone no matter where they live, and the commitment to creating an English language version now confirms this.

HOW MUCH: Free! Just as we like it*
COMMENTS: *Note the FAQ/rules, especially bearing in mind IP issues. This will be open-source, so any patents, etc will be forfeit. There is a chance of winning an iPad, but a great idea can of course lead to a lot more than that.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Croutons and/or soup in your soup?

This article caught my eye at first for professional RE:tie reasons:

Certainly worth sharing anyway as a company looks at innovative ways to address packaging and reduce waste.

But, as you'll gather, I also got interested again in matters of 'degrading' as a mooted option, and the pros and cons of this.

The film 'Trashed' sprung to mind, which was reviewed here, and also the open-ended discussion on plastic degradation here.


Glad I got inspired and found the time to pop a new post up.

Especially as, in so doing, I happened to notice the site stats for the blog alone.... two days ago there were almost 500 visitors in none day!


If folk are liking the content I'd bet see about getting more and keeping it fresher.

Don't forget the FaceBook page is always worth a scope too.