Thursday, August 22, 2013

Costing the Earth, Another Planet.

Lauren and Jason doing a great job on the weeds.
We have friends staying with us for the next week, a lovely couple who we came to know when Lauren came to us five years ago as a helpx'er, we have stayed in contact and she has come back to us several times, as a friend but always giving us a hand as well. She and her partner work as teachers of English in different countries and during the summer break teach in private academies that run summer schools for rich kids who's parents wish them to learn English. This summer they had a six week stint in London teaching teenagers from many countries, the one thing that most of these kids  had in common was a lack of values, they knew the price of everything, but the value of nothing, pocket money ranged from two hundred  to two thousand one hundred pounds a week, these kids range in age from twelve to seventeen. The object of these summer schools is for the kids to learn and use English, to learn about the British culture and heritage, and the culture of other nations.
 With the exception of the Germans and the Japanese this was not what these students wanted,  trips to shopping malls, Oxford Street and designer boutiques however was a different matter, the most important item for one sixteen year old Italian was where he could buy a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes for his girl friend, at nine hundred and fifty pounds I guess he was planning to impress her. MacDonalds also featured highly    on their agenda.  To these kids this is their normal way of life, and they took great delight in showing off their latest purchases to their teachers, expecting them to be impressed, in the case of our friends they failed.
They were however an ambitious lot, their futures already waiting, CEO's of daddies company, diplomats, daddy already was, and one is going to be an ambassador. They will be able to continue being mega consumers, this it what they have been bred to do. As long as they can continue to consume they will have a happy life. What a life, where is the value in it? What will they contribute to society? Nothing that we can see, except more pollution and more worthless personal possessions. How many worlds will they need to live their lifestyle?
Lots of recycling in this room.
We enjoy making the most of what we have and transforming things that many people would take to the tip. When we moved in to this cottage we inherited various pieces of G Plan furniture dating back to the 1960's, some of it needed a little repair, but nothing that wood glue couldn't fix, a good sand down and a coat of paint and they were transformed. Bedside shelves were made from spare skirting board, book shelves from floor boards, bed side lamps came from a charity shop, the bedhead was rescued from a friend who was going to take it to the tip,
everything was painted to match the wardrobe and chest of drawers , bits of coloured glass ware bought for a few cents from the charity shop completed the guest room. Bedspread and cushions were bought as a end of line bargain, the total expenditure on the guest room was forty euro.
Our little Muscovy ducklings are now enjoying the great out side, within a couple of minutes of being put on to grass they were eating it, in the five days that they have been outside they have doubled in size.
Beetroots are growing well, rather too well, we pulled three of them today to use on our picnic tomorrow, one of them weighed in at a pound and a half, we thought it might be hollow or even a bit woody but it is perfect.
There is now an abundance of butterflies, not the easiest things to photograph,

we  managed to capture a Peacock and a Tortoiseshell feeding on the Buddleia, we have even seen some honey bees which is nice after all the bumble bees, but I have only seen one ladybird, I wish there were more, we have plenty of greenfly for them to feed on, they seem to head for the new growth on our roses, we will have to spray again with nettle juice.
Sparky and his best friend Tommy.

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