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The selfish, greedy and stupid West.

I have just watched a video about dumpster food and as you will see I am angry.

Dumpster Diving

Whilst the Western world dumps food there are people starving…..what sort of world do we live in and why have we become so greedy and selfish and fucking stupid.  I make no excuses for my language.   I volunteer for Les Restos du Coeur here in France, and as food is about to go out of date, our local supermarkets send it down to us. We’re not open 24/7 so I am sure some gets dumped, but at least there has been some thought about what they do with food.

This is an old Guardian article

Has best before reached it’s sell by date?

The humble sell-by date actually has a surprisingly short history. It was introduced in Marks & Spencer’s storerooms in the 1950s before making its way on to the shelves in 1970. It wasn’t even actually called a “sell-by-date” until 1973. Marks is so proud of its innovation that Twiggy trumpets it in their latest ad campaign.

One can surmise that before that we had the intelligence to make our own decisions of whether food was edible by using our sense of smell and our brains. We have been continually dumbed down by successive laws and now we don’t use our brains at all. This awful waste and greed and selfishness makes me so angry.  The problem is, I am in a minority who know and believe that we are very capable of making decisions about the freshness and edibility of food.  The generation not far behind me are so used to being told you can’t eat this now, it’s past it’s BBD (Best Before Date) or EBD (Eat by Date) that they don’t realise that have a choice.  No one has really bothered to say, “WHY?”  What’s more, tinned foods! Jarred foods!  These have been how people have PRESERVED/CONSERVED their foods for centuries.  The very process of tinning, canning etc is to conserve.  Jars, and tins can last for years in the right conditions.  I bought a tin of Mais (sweetcorn) the other day.  The date on the bottom is 31/08/17 – that’s just over 3 years and I can assure you, it would still be perfectly edible and acceptable another couple of years on.  I implore you to ignore dates on tins and jars and just use your brain.

Most people know in their heart of hearts that sell-by-dates are little more than a supermarket invention to encourage shoppers to buy more and best-before dates are generally a shield against lawsuits from the kind of people who need “warning: contents hot” labels on their takeaway coffee. But there’s something about those digits that can make even the most fearless foodie paranoid – “If I eat that past its sell-by-date yoghurt, killer bacteria is going to sweep through my guts like a pathogenic panzer division.”

This is absolute bollocks.  Yoghurt is full of bloody bacteria anyway……some of the latest one full of “good” bacteria…..and what do bacteria do?  They MULTIPLY.  So, your past it’s date yoghurt is gradually getting more and more “good for you” bacteria.  Win win.

In this later BBC item says that The UK throws away about £12bn of edible food each year and critics say confusing packaging is partly to blame.   £12,000,000,000,000 

Scrap sell by dates

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says five million tonnes of edible food is discarded by UK households annually – the equivalent of £680 for a household with children.Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said confusion over food labelling was responsible for an estimated £750m of the £12bn edible-food wastage each year.

What makes me sad now is, there are now several generations of children, young adults who’ve never seen their parents making decisions about food based on look and sense of smell, all they’ve seen is good food being thrown in the bin.  We seem to have become immune to the faces and emaciated bodies of those children in Africa (in my childhood it was Biafra).

WHO are the hungry?

An estimated 146 million children in developing countries are underweight – the result of acute or chronic hunger (Source: The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF, 2009).  All too often, child hunger is inherited: up to 17 million children are born underweight annually, the result of inadequate nutrition before and during pregnancy.


I wonder whether the tide is about the change.  We are now becoming very familiar with food banks.  Our very own people are hungrier now than they have been for many years.  Perhaps it’s time to either eat the food you have, and when you’re about to ditch something, think about donating it to a local food bank.

I think I am done for now…..this current rant is over.

It’s a lovely sunny day here, my side of the gate. I can see sun the other side too, I might even venture out into the Asylum later.

a plus.


Book give away ends in less than 8 days

One copy of Letters from Stalag VIIIb is being given away on Goodreads.

letters cover

The offer ends on 9th March 2014,  over 500 people have entered already, there is just one copy and you’ll need to be in it to win it!

Tweeting from the grave.

Here’s a thought.  With so many applications nowadays you can use to automate your social media presence,  how many tweets are we seeing from dead people?

Buffer all publish pre-set tweets, status updates etc.  Buffer needs setting every so often, and Hootsuite too (I believe) however  I know that doesn’t require me to do anything once I have provided my parameters.

“Automatically find, publish & promote engaging articles, photos and videos from across the web.”


So, I could be publishing that well after I am gone!

Okay, now that’s off my chest, please enjoy the rest of your day.




Free Wild Rose hand cream

free hand cream

When you spend over £40.

Power Berry and Jasmine products support Fair Trade fortnight.

With Mother’s Day (UK) at the end of March you can buy your Mother’s Day (or Birthday gifts) to gain your free hand cream.

Kathy’s NYR Organic shop

Love in the Language of Yarn

Back in October I decided I’d try knitting again after several thousand years of not knitting.  That’s a lie, I had been knitting a scarf for 5 years!  So, this winter I enjoyed revisiting proper knitting, spent a few evenings drooling over patterns on Ravelry, spending money on yarn, needles etc and trying to work out to keep it all tidy when I wasn’t knitting.    I started of very easily and knitted Mark and Jo some fingerless mittens, I knitted myself some and gave them to a colleague at Restos who’s need was greater than mine.  I knitted (attempted) to knit a skull cap for Mark, and ended up making several.  I have some beautiful hanks of yarn left over and have just come across a charitable project to help me use them.

Love in the language of yarn is a charity set up to attempt to help children (and adults of course ) warm in Syria.

‘Lily’ is supported by businesses and individuals in Turkey, whether it be donations of yarn, Knitting and Crocheting or transportation of completed blankets to receiving agencies.
‘Lily’ has no paid employees.  All the good work is done on a strictly volunteer basis.
‘Lily’ wishes to thank all those private individuals and businesses which support us.  Without you, there would be no ‘Lily’ - Love In the Language of Yarn.  We work hard for the day when we are no longer needed to help keep Children warm.

I have been brought to tears several times recently when seeing the terrible conditions Syrian refugees are being subjected to.  Some how it is all the more distressing knowing that they cannot escape, they cannot go and warm themselves somewhere, wander through a shopping mall for some distraction. visit a neighbour who has heat, light and food.  They are besieged, they are freezing, they are gradually starving to death.

Syria crisis: A Palestinian plea from Yarmouk refugee camp

“Please, please take us out, we are dying here,” 60-year-old Wafiqa pleads, sobbing uncontrollably as she cradles her lined face in rough gnarled hands.

She stumbles toward us in her grief, toward anyone she thinks can rescue her from the punishing eight-month siege of Yarmouk, a devastated Palestinian refugee camp south of Damascus.

Just behind her, a tide of hundreds of people presses against a security barrier. Armed men struggle to contain a crowd desperate to reach a UN food distribution point at the end of a narrow rutted road that cuts through a desolate wasteland of utter ruin.

“I’m so tired, so tired,” one woman cries out.

I’ve just watch the first video on the BBC link again, it is so distressing.

I discovered after seeing the video for the first time (and seeing that only 60 tiny food parcels had been delivered that day), that there are people doing things, desperately trying to do their bit and to help.

Trucks on there way to Syria with much needed aid.

So now I am knitting squares, and will knit squares until my yarn is gone, and then I will source more yarn.  I am collecting our hats, gloves, scarves, and will be packing up a parcel today to start helping in a very small way.  (I’ve spent rather a lot of money this month (don’t tell Mark) so cannot donate money right now, but I will do. Some of you who are keen on rainbows and what that signifies nowadays, could knit some rainbow squares :)  If you decide to knit and send parcels, please take note of this piece of info, it’s very important.

Mark the parcels – ‘Small packet, knitting for charity, No commercial value’and keep weight to 2 kg (4.4 pounds) or under. On the customs declaration please keep value to  a minimum amount.

If you read further down there is a comment from a lady who’s parcel is stuck in customs because it is too heavy.  That would be such a waste, to do all you can and not get your parcel beyond customs.


Dysosmia potentially subsiding.

For Suki and Bethany who asked me about this.

I have just in the last 2 weeks started selling Neal’s Yard Remedies, which include lots of essential oils. My moisturiser, skin care products, shower gel etc all produced organically using essential oils.

I also bought a fab diffuser for some oil blends and am happy to report that my dysosmia appears to have settled. I am very happy as you can imagine and am hoping that this will continue.


I am finding that the best oils are the predominantly citrus based. Having said that, I tried a grapefruit oil I had here already, bought from a shop in my nearest city. To be honest I couldn’t smell it. My neighbour mentioned she’d been using a Neal’s Yard essential oil in her Reiki room and that she and her family could smell it in her dining room. I wonder whether NYR oils are particularly potent.

Distortion of Olfactory Perception: Diagnosis and Treatment

I don’t like any of the suggestions in this article!  I think I’ll stick with the oils.

You can buy some oils, the diffuser and some oil blends here along with lots of lovely organic skin care and body care products.

Why I don’t read fashion magazines


Thank you Elizabeth, wise words from Rachel Cole’s, and yes sad that little has changed in 25 years. (In fact I think it has changed for the worse).

Originally posted on elizabeth milligan:

When I was around eighteen years old I stopped buying fashion magazines.  For one simple reason.  They did not make me feel good.  At the time it was difficult to put my finger on what it was exactly that made me feel bad, but without fail, I would finish a magazine feeling more insecure and more confused as to who I was or “should be”.

I could write much more about this but really this little video says it all.  What is sad is that the woman speaking sounds about my age when I decided to stop buying magazines which means that unfortunately nothing has changed in the last twenty-five years!

If you would like to watch more great and powerful spoken word poetry then Rachel Cole’s blogpost “Just say it” lists some of the best.

What do you think about this?  Do you buy fashion magazines?  How do they…

View original 3 more words


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